Inaugural Bronx Children’s Museum Gala Raises More Than Half A Million Dollars
Evening Honors Richard Abrons, Rafael Collado and Kerry Washington
With Unforgettable Special Performances by Dr. Valerie Capers
and Sounds by Swizz Beatz
Click on photo above to enlarge and see highlights from the entire evening.
New York, NY (May 3, 2017) “Dream Big” is the motto of a Bronx Children’s Museum program that introduces the borough’s kids to music, art and a world of possibilities. Put your mind to it and you can accomplish anything, they’re told. The Museum board dreamed big last night and presented a rollicking evening of celebrity-studded fun for 350 guests at the Tribeca Rooftop — earning more than $520,000 in the process.
BCM board member and Bronx-born Sunny Hostin, co-host of ABC’s The View, was the emcee of this first-ever gala which will help to fund access to the arts, music, dance, environmental studies, and STEAM-based exhibits and programs for the 250,000+ children of the Bronx. The historic event honored Richard Abrons and Bronx natives Kerry Washington and Rafael Collado on their outstanding generosity and commitment to the Bronx and the completion of Bronx Children’s Museum’s building and the continuation of existing programming throughout the borough.
The evening started off with an exciting surprise when Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. took to the stage to present Hope Harley, President of the Bronx Children’s Museum Board of Directors with the Museum’s first ever Imagination Award for her 11 years of vision and dedication in keeping the Museum alive and moving forward. Carla Precht, Founding Executive Director, was also singled out by the Borough President for her extraordinary leadership. On behalf of the City, Diaz announced the groundbreaking of the Museum will be in June of this year, signaling the start of construction on the Museum’s permanent facility, scheduled to open in the South Bronx. Diaz also pledged a gift of $700,000 toward completion of the renovation of the building. The remaining $1.3 million in capital funding has been requested and is awaiting a decision from the New York City Council and the Mayor’s Office. Adding even more excitement, honoree Rafael Collado also pledged a donation of $1 million dollars to the non-profit organization’s operating fund.
Guests were treated to an extraordinary performance from a trio led by renowned Bronx-born educator and jazz pianist and composer, Dr. Valerie Capers as well as one by fellow Bronx native, Sounds by Swizz Beatz.
Actor, comedian and Bronxite Tracy Morgan was a passionate auctioneer, dispensing a unique series of items which included a visit to the set of Scandal in Los Angeles that twice sold to lucky bidders for $11,000 each, a meet-and-greet at Jennifer Lopez’s “All I Have” show in Las Vegas that sold for $10,000, premium tickets for four to top-rated Broadway shows including Hamilton, Present Laughter, and Kinky Boots that sold for $4,000 and a ride in a fully-restored WWII plane owned by honoree Rafael Collado which sold for $6,500 to Swizz Beatz. Morgan was joined on stage by Board Member Richard Stein who helped raise an additional $16,000 through the Fund-A-Need auction.
“What this Museum has the possibility to do,” honoree Kerry Washington told the crowd, “is to say to our children of the Bronx, we matter, your own community matters, this place that you call home matters and because of that, possibilities are endless and you can go anywhere and be excited about who you are today and who you will be tomorrow.”
“Being from the Bronx, and being an advocate for the borough, I am excited to see the completion of what is set to be a legacy. This Museum allows the children of the Bronx to express themselves through a different medium,” said Swizz Beatz.
Also in attendance at the event were New York City Council Member Vanessa Gibson, NYC Council Member Annabel Palma, New York State Assemblyman Michael Blake, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell Silver, NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Feniosky Pena-Mora, and Bronx Parks Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa.
The Gala was sponsored by The Boston Consulting Group, Kimelman & Baird LLC, The Perry Foundation, Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation, GetMyBoat, Protocom Aviation, L.M. Newman Family Foundation, The Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Foundation, and Lois and Arthur Stainman.