Last night I was honored to attend the annual benefit for Women In Need at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC. After working with the charity for the past six months and growing closer to the cause, it was miraculaous to see so many people come together in support. Merdith Vieira hosted the evening, which honored Cindi Leive, Editor-in-Chief of Glamour and Brendan Hoffman, President and CEO of Lord & Taylor. Both gave powerful speeches, but the most touching talks and presentations were those that came from present and former WIN clients.
The room was decorated with huge portraits of smiling children from the shelters and the balloons you see in the photo above became decorations, but weren't there when we arrived. Each of them cost $100 - $1,000 and people generously purchased them as donations.
My favorite part of the night was when the "Peter Jennings Prize" was announced. It was an award dedicated to the children in the WIN shelters who achieved academically in essay writing. Six children stood on stage, all dressed up with hope in their eyes and success in their futures. The winner, an eleven year old boy read his essay out loud in front of over a thousand people in the ballroom. It was proof that this homeless boy was being well looked after and taken care of. I know myself from visiting the WIN shelters that this is just one example of all of the WIN children.
A single live auction was held and the prize made me want to bid, but I knew better. It was to stay at Ferragamo's mansion in Tuscany, Italy for a week, all expenses paid. Could you imagine? It went for $23K. I was so tempted to shout "$24!," but where the heck would I get the money from?
The benefit raised $1.8 million, which will be donated to all of the of the WIN shelters and help provide the homeless families of NYC with the supplies, counseling and shelter they need until they can get back on track and out on their own again.