Children's Aid Raises $1.8 Million at 6th Annual Benefit

The Children’s Aid Society hosted its sixth annual Keeping the Promise Benefit to celebrate the organization’s 163 years of service to New York City’s children and families, on Thursday, November 3, at Guastavino’s. The organization honored Wade Davis, the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Viacom, and Hugh F. Johnston, the vice chairman and chief financial officer of PepsiCo, for their corporate leadership and commitment to creating opportunities for young people. The event raised more than $1.8 million to create opportunities for achievement for New York City youth.

Throughout the evening, Children’s Aid highlighted its continuum of services that support kids and their families every step of the way through childhood. Mahil Sumbundu, 17, a senior at New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math & Science II, and Julio Reyes, 21, a business student at Binghamton University, served as the masters of ceremonies.

Photographs from the event are available immediately. Video clips of the ceremony will soon be available at

Davis will be recognized for his passion for education and firm commitment to improving diverse communities throughout New York. He has been active in the reform of public education and is co-founder of AdvancePath Academics, a firm that operates technology-based centers that recover and educate high school dropouts and America’s Choice, Inc., a school performance improvement business now owned by Pearson Plc. Additionally, Davis serves on the board of directors of Cengage Learning, one of the largest providers of higher education curriculum solutions in the world.

“College readiness has been a passion of mine for many years,” said Davis. “What has impressed me so much about Children’s Aid is the work they do upstream, addressing issues long before the kids are thinking about secondary education.”

Johnston has had an instrumental role in his company’s efforts to strengthen underserved populations through health initiatives, education, and job-readiness programs. He is affiliated with a number of corporate, nonprofit, and academic organizations. He serves on several boards including: Twitter; serves as a director for the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the leading global economic think tank; the University of Chicago’s Booth School CFO Advisory Board; and serves on Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management Advisory council. Additionally, he is a member of the CNBC Global CFO Council and The Wall Street Journal CFO Network.

“Children’s Aid has remained strong by adapting to the changing nature of poverty and continually improving its programs,” said Johnston. “This is a city of historic opportunity, and yet so many of our children face serious barriers to realizing their own promise.”

Past Keeping the Promise Gala honorees include Citi’s Gene McQuaid, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chobani’s Hamdi Ulukaya, and SAP’s Bill McDermott.

The sixth annual benefit featured a program with Phoebe Boyer, and past and current participants in Children’s Aid’s cradle-through-college programs and services. The Children’s Aid Society Chorus performed for the audience. Amy Engle Scharf served as the Benefit Chair. Sponsors of the event included Ambassadors Desmond FitzGerald and the Hope for Poor Children Foundation; Champions  Bicky and George Kellner, Morgan Stanley, Optimity Advisors, Leigh and Charlie Penner, PepsiCo, and Viacom.


The Children’s Aid Society is an independent, nonprofit organization established to serve the children of New York City.  Our mission is to help children in poverty to succeed and thrive. We do this by providing comprehensive supports to children and their families in targeted high-needs New York City neighborhoods. Founded in 1853, it is one of the nation’s largest and most innovative non-sectarian agencies, serving New York’s neediest children. Services are provided in community schools, neighborhood centers, health clinics and camps. For additional information, please call Anthony Ramos at (212) 949-4938/ (917) 204-8214, email or visit

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