Talk about inspiring...a packed house (over 2300, mostly women) at the Mariott Marquis-(May 10th, 2012)--- that one breakfast speaker...Speaker of the NY City Council, Christine Quinn joked would not past the FDNY legal occupancy limits...celebrated the 25th Anniversary of The New York Women's Foundation-a cross-cultural alliance that provides critical funds for non-profits, big and small- that make a practical difference in the lives of women---residing inside the five boroughs of the Big Apple.
Christine Quinn-image- Marion Curtis/StarPix
The list of attendees ---reads like a Who's Who of accomplished females---but the most important group, imo- were the ladies seated on the dais-all representatives of non-profits/recipients of NYWF funds this year.
Many speeches, particularly those by relatively young women who are college attendees and single moms able to support their children...emanated from the heart and captured attendees attention like no other awards ceremony we have been to---reflecting on how dollars from NYWF that went to certain NGO's---changed their lives---helping them, with one woman noting "...the step that you take after (a fallen moment in one's life)...that defines you..."
Change takes time and love makes the difference
The moment that had even the hotel staff literally stop in their tracks...was the poignant and staggeringly awesome speech by honoree, Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton...intro-ed by witty and observant remarks from documentary film maker (Praise The Devil Back To Hell), Abigail E. Disney...who quipped:
"What was so divisive about all that common sense that was coming out of her (HRC's) mouth..."
Well yes, a couple of million cracks in the ceiling later---Clinton's comments had all of us enchanted...and so appropriately, recounted her own mother's childhood ---the hardships growing up in the 1920's---and truly how important that "at critical points in my life... someone showed me kindness...someone gave me help..." being the key to more than just survival...but also exemplifying "...the best tradition of American caring."
Ana Olivera Pres. & Ceo NYWF, Al-Jen Poo-honoree, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Merble Reagon-honoree, Abigail DIsney image-marion curtis/StarPix
We loved Clinton's concluding quip too-reference the ceremonial walking stick, individually awarded to honorees all:
"...I will try to put this to good use- either leaning on it or wielding it..."
Jean Shafiroff, Philanthropist-busy working on several Hampton's based charity efforts
Earlier in the week, we had a few moments at the Cirpiani 42nd Street locale- for the 34th American Apparel and Footwear Association's Image Awards Gala-an annual event that this year, presented the Humanitarian Award to Swimmer Michael Phelps...
Michael Phelps with kids from the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club Swim sam members-image John Calabrese
We had Rangers' hockey tickets so could't stay for the festivities...but we did have a chance to chat with Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO of the AAFA about the advocacy efforts of this trade association (with over 500 company members!!!)...and also-importantly about K.I.D.S.-a non-profit that provides new apparel, footwear and accessories to children who live in poverty...that this bus man also leads.