16th Annual Champion Awards

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champion2011_img.jpgOn Wednesday, May 11, 2011, more than 700 supporters gathered at Cipriani Wall Street for Safe Horizon’s 16th Annual Champion Awards dinner helping raise $1 million in much needed funds.  One pinnacle moment was a bidding war during our live auction over two tickets to a Victoria Secret fashion show, and in an unexpected turn of events, an extra set were donated allowing the package to sell twice! One set of tickets sold for $62,000, the highest bid of the evening. The night had many more success stories, including notable donations through our Text to Pledge campaign and silent auction.

This year’s theme was Voices of Courage and Compassion, a celebration to honor the courageous victims we serve and the many Safe Horizon supporters who are compassionate enough to show extraordinary generosity and commitment to our work.

The evening began with Safe Horizon CEO Ariel Zwang thanking board members and patrons for their incredible leadership and participation. Ariel gave a special thanks to our generous underwriter Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH), all of our benefactors and longstanding partners. In addition, Ariel acknowledged the many government partners in attendance for their ongoing vision and advocacy in support of Safe Horizon’s efforts to provide greater services to individuals and families in need, throughout New York City’s five boroughs.

The evening was a tremendous success, with the help of our host, Actress and Board of Directors Member Stephanie March, who formerly starred in NBC’s Law & Order: SVU, and Dinner Chairs, Emanuel (Manny) Chirico, Chairman and CEO, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, Jane Gol, President, Continental Ventures Realty and Bruce Teitelbaum, Partner, Metcap Securities LLC.

16th Annual Champion Awards: Child Advocacy Center Video narrated by Stephanie March

Neil Rubler, President and CEO, Vantage Properties, LLC, presented the first Champion Award of the evening to Suri Kasirer, Founder and President, Kasirer Consulting, LLC. Suri is active in political, cultural and social activities in New York and across the country. She has brought all this talent and energy to representing Safe Horizon for more than a decade, and has found creative and visionary ways of advocating for our programs, bringing awareness and critically needed services to victims of crime and abuse.

Chairman and CEO, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation Emanuel (Manny) Chirico presented the second Champion Award of the evening to his colleague Pamela Hootkin, Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Investor Relations. Pam has been instrumental in building a powerful 10 year relationship between Safe Horizon and PVH, which extends from the CEO level to associates from many of the company’s operating units.  Pam’s impact and influence extends to her presence on the Safe Horizon board of directors for the past six years and has translated an abiding interest in helping those less fortunate into a broad and deep array of support for Safe Horizon’s work.
Honoree Elie Tahari, Chairman, Elie Tahari, Ltd., accepted the third Champion Award of the evening presented by Hon. Christine C. Quinn Speaker, New York City Council. Designer Elie Tahari has excelled at creating stylish, desirable clothes for over thirty-five years, and has built one of the most successful fashion brands in the world. With his unique talent for dressing modern and sophisticated women, Elie Tahari and actress Emme Rossum, star of The Day After Tomorrow and Phantom of the Opera, collaborated on the design of the “Emme” handbag for Tahari’s spring collection, with part of the proceeds benefiting Safe Horizon.  When accepting his Champion award, Elie expressed how learning about Safe Horizon’s incredible work in the New York City community was instrumental in Tahari’s newfound commitment and dedication to the organization.

A highlight of the evening was a moving testimonial by NYPD Detective Lenny Esposito of the Manhattan Special Victims Unit Child Abuse Squad. The Manhattan Child Advocacy Center brings together the NYPD, Safe Horizon staff, prosecutors, Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) case workers and Columbia Medical Center staff, to investigate allegations of physical and sexual abuse involving victims ages 12 or younger. Esposito shared his experiences working with these children and their families to overcome trauma and find justice.  His story of triumph underscored both the resilience of the human spirit and the need for supportive services for those in crisis.

Touching the lives of more than 250,000 victims of violence each year requires substantial funding. Although our Champion Awards dinner has passed, our need for funding has not.  Please consider making a donation to Safe Horizon. With your continued support, we hope to help even more women, men and children heal and rebuild their lives.