The Grand Ballroom of The Plaza Hotel was abuzz last night for The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) 2010 Gala where achievement was celebrated and a pressing human rights issue was addressed. Shedding light on the international problem of child abuse, exploitation and neglect, the evening honored two men who have made significant contributions to raising public awareness of this important topic. Vice Chairman of Lazard, Steven J. Golub and Emmy-award winning journalist and Dateline NBC correspondent, Chris Hansen were presented with the Strength of Our Society Award by the NYSPCC. Mr. Golub was recognized for his generous philanthropic and leadership contributions to The Society and Mr. Hansen for his groundbreaking investigative reporting into on-line child predators.
Founded in 1875, the NYSPCC is the first and one of the most highly respected child protective agencies in the world. With great success, the NYSPCC helps the most vulnerable children of New York City recover from physical and emotional trauma. Most importantly, it works tirelessly to prevent child abuse through its extensive outreach efforts to parents, teachers, children and foster care agencies. As a model for child abuse prevention centers across the nation, the NYSPCC has investigated more than 650,000 cases of child abuse and neglect on the behalf of over two million children. (http://www.nyspcc.org)
Emmy-award winning journalist and Inside Edition host Deborah Norville served as the uplifting emcee for the Gala. Norville reflected the international scale of the issue of child cruelty by introducing shocking and poignant video footage to guests. Powerfully produced by Inside Edition, the footage depicted the webs of physical abuse, forced labor, prostitution and human trafficking into which many vulnerable children across the world have become ensnared. At the same time, beautiful video vignettes of children who have been helped by individuals such as Chris Hansen and organizations like the NYSPCC provided immense hope to the audience. Norville’s eloquent presentation shined light on the hard fact that ending cruelty to children is a global challenge that necessitates stronger legal protections of society’s most innocent. Inspired to facilitate change, the evening’s attendees were then led by Norville into pledging thousands of dollars to help the NYSPCC continue its noble public mission.
Grammy nominated singer Sophie B. Hawkins closed the evening with a stirring and emotional performance, singing the smash hit As I Lay Me Down as well as a song from her new album that is being released later this year. Hawkins’struggle with her own troubled childhood, which has informed her artistry, was chronicled in the provocative Sundance documentary The Cream Will Rise.
Notable supporters of the NYSPCC and attendees at last night’s Gala who enjoyed the evening’s stunning décor, dinner and dancing included, Amanda & Neil Friedman, Karl Wellner, Paul M. Meister, Jacquie & Jerry Storch, James H. Quigley, Elizabeth E. Bartlett, Amanda & Peter Espy, Ara & Rachel Hovnanian, the Honorable Joseph M. Lauria, Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr., Tatiana & Thorne Perkin, Debbie & Jeff Rothschild, Mr. & Mrs. J. Pepe Fanjul, Elissa & Frank Sommerfield, Mr. & Mrs. M David Sherrill, Mary Pulido, Linette Semino, Allison Williams, Richard Greenberg, Nicole Lapin, Judge Greg Mathis, Yildiz & Richard Blackstone and Thomas Meehan.
Matt Semino on The Huffington Post