Champion 2012: Review
On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, over 500 guests gathered at Cipriani Wall Street for Safe Horizon’s 17th Annual Champion Awards dinner. This year’s theme was We Are New York, a celebration to honor the network of individuals and organizations that help Safe Horizon move victims from crisis to confidence in New York City each year.
The evening began with Safe Horizon CEO Ariel Zwang and Safe Horizon Chair of the Board of Directors Steve Parrish thanking the organization’s board members, supporters, and staff for their incredible leadership and participation to help make Champion 2012 a major success. Zwang and Parrish noted a special thanks to our government partners who have all supported Safe Horizon’s efforts to provide greater services to individuals and families across New York City.
With the help of the evening’s hosts, ABC's Eyewitness news anchor and 20/20 correspondent, Bill Ritter and WCBS-TV News’ correspondent Chris Wragge, Dinner Chairs Pearl and Nathan Halegua, Robert and Cynthia Knakal, Ivanka and Jared Kushner, Seryl and Charles Kushner, our generous underwriter PVH Corp. and all of our benefactors and longstanding partners, the evening was a great success. Their unfailing support and generous contributions have helped us in our continued effort to provide hope and healing to the clients we serve, their families and communities.
Pamela Hootkin presented the first Champion Award of the evening to Safe Horizon Board Member and Philanthropist Martin D. Newman. A native New Yorker and graduate of Harvard Law School, Newman is active in political, cultural and social activities here in New York and across the country. He joined the Board of Safe Horizon in 1993, and was instrumental in the creation of a sister group known as New Destiny Housing Corp. which engages in real estate development and other real estate activities for non-profit organizations. A major supporter and donor, Newman is the principal of a number of limited partnerships or limited liability companies which own and operate in excess of 750 apartments and 70 commercial establishments in Manhattan. Mr. Newman also serves as a consultant to the Kushner Companies, a multi-state real estate organization.
Safe Horizon Board Member and Best-Selling Novelist Linda Fairstein presented the second Champion Award of the evening to Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon. Sarandon was honored for her efforts both on-and-off screen, as well as her passion for speaking out on behalf of those who urgently need a voice, especially LGBTQ young people who find themselves left homeless because of prejudice and abuse. Through her participation in the “Give a Damn” campaign, Sarandon helped bring focus on the plight of homeless youth – and on lesbian and gay homeless teens who urgently need care, services, and support.
A highlight of the evening was a moving testimonial and poetry reading by a former Streetwork client named Asia, a survivor who is now a Safe Horizon supporter. Her story of triumph with the help of Safe Horizon’s Streetwork Project, combined with her enthusiasm to help others in need, underscored both the resilience of the human spirit and the need for supportive services for those in crisis.
The evening included a silent and live auction facilitated by WCBS-TV News New York weathercaster Lonnie Quinn, which helped to raise more funds in support of Safe Horizon's programs and services for victims of violence and abuse. Champion attendees also took part in a Text to Pledge campaign for the third consecutive year. Guests were able to text or e-mail additional pledges and include their personal messages of thanks and appreciation, which were displayed on screens to share with patrons.
Other notable special guests of the evening included Law & Order: Special Victims Unit actor Dann Florek, Academy Award-winning actress Celeste Holm, Sopranos actress Kathrine Narducci, Tony Award-winning actress and singer Orfeh, Smash actress Savannah Wise, and Gossip Girl actress Zuzanna Szadowski.
Thanks to our supporters, Safe Horizon raised over $800,000 through Champion, bringing much-needed funds to the organization that will help us continue to operate services such as our 24-hour hotlines, domestic violence shelters and overnight residences for homeless youth, trauma counseling, court and community assistance, as well as legal services and advocacy for individuals and families affected by violence and abuse.
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 gift to our Champion Awards Dinner fund. With your continued support, we hope to help even more women, men and children heal and rebuild their lives.
Donate to support Safe Horizon's efforts on behalf of individuals and families affected by violence and abuse.
Visit our 2012 Champion Awards photo gallery.
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See reviews and images from past Champion Awards: