Actress and Gala Co-Chair Kerry Washington returned to support the benefit event, hosted by Sunny Hostin.
Bronx Children’s Museum hosted its third annual benefit gala on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 in New York City at Manhattan’s Gotham Hall. The night was dedicated to the children of the Bronx – past, present, and future, exemplified by the Bronx-grown luminaries in attendance including honorees Rita Moreno and Shawn “Pecas” Costner, Gala Co-Chair Kerry Washington, The View’s Sunny Hostin, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, actress Sonia Manzano, formerly "Maria" of Sesame Street, and Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria.
The benefit was a resounding success, grossing nearly $500,000 for the organization’s outreach programming reaching over 18,000 children annually, and its new state-of-the-art facility - the borough’s first-ever children’s museum - opening in 2020.
The ceremony, hosted by Bronx native, museum board member, and host of The View, Sunny Hostin, celebrated the contributions of Bronx innovators from across generations and sectors who support the institution, and are committed to inspiring children and their families. Ground-breaking Hollywood icon and EGOT recipient, Rita Moreno, delighted guests with a personal story of her arrival in the Bronx as a young child from Puerto Rico, and encouraged those in the audience to dream big.
"It is important for all children to have a museum available to them for every reason in the world that you can think of - for creative reasons or reasons of curiosity, " said Moreno.
Attendees included Bronx-natives, Gala Co-Chair Member, Kerry Washington - returning for a third year to showcase her support for the museum’s mission - and Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. (CONTINUED. Scroll below photo gallery to continued reading.)
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“Museums were a huge part of my upbringing but I always had to go outside of my neighborhood to be enriched in this way. I am truly humbled by the possibilities of what will come out of this beautiful museum. By supporting the museum, you are not just supporting a building, you are supporting the inner self-worth of an entire borough of children,” remarked Washington.
The Borough President introduced the Bronx-born, Roc Nation Executive and Hip-hop community leader Shawn “Pecas” Costner to the stage, presenting him with one of the three 2019 Bronx Children’s Museum Imagination Awards given out that evening.
“I am so proud of the work being done by Bronx Children’s Museum. We believe in this vision because we know what happens when you give a Bronx girl or a Bronx boy an opportunity. It allows them to dream, to expand their imagination. Shawn Costner is a reminder [that] talent is abundant – but opportunities are not – yet with our Bronx DNA, they can go out there and conquer the world,” added Diaz.
Costner is an influencer of global trends and has enhanced the career trajectories of megawatt artists like Jay Z, Rihanna, DJ Khaled and athletes like Yankee pitcher, CC Sabathia.
Also in attendance were New York City Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, philanthropist Amber Sabathia, the Voice of New York, Angie Martinez, former Def Jam executive Steve Bartels and retired New York Giant, Victor Cruz.
Prolific landscape architect Jonathan Marvel, a force behind the Bronx’s Mill Pond Park and Brooklyn’s Navy Yard was the third honoree, recognized for his innovation and environmentally conscious design. His award-winning firm has steered the revival of multiple public spaces across the nation and is piloting ambitious solar energy projects in his native island of Puerto Rico in response to the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria.
A highlight of the evening was an endearing dance routine performed by four second grade children in the Museum’s Dream Big After School program - which prompted a standing ovation.
Hope Harley, President of the Board of Directors commented, “It was an exciting evening full of warmth and spontaneity. We are so grateful to all our attendees for their tremendous show of support. Through their generosity, the children of the Bronx will continue to have access to inspiring arts, culture and natural sciences programs where they can have fun learning about themselves and their surroundings."
The evening concluded with a performance by Bronx-native and Grammy-nominated Latin-Jazz musician Bobby Sanabria, which brought the enthusiastic audience to the dance floor.
The Gala was sponsored by Richard and Iris Abrons, Lostand Foundation, The Rafael Collado Trust, Lois and Arthur Stainman, Kimelman & Baird LLC, Louis and Anne Abrons Foundation, Dr. José A. Rodriguez and Dr. Ileana Vargas Rodriguez, BronxCare Health System, Bronx Pointe - Type A - L+M Development Partners, Boston Consulting Group, and Marvel Architects.
The Auction prizes were provided by: ABC/Disney, Chef Dan Barber, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Nick Bolliettieri, Amanda Collado, Rafael Collado & Kathy Diaz, Shawn Costner, Gotham Stadium Tennis, Hon. Stanley Green, Sunny Hostin, Joel Kassan, Kerry Malawista, Elena Martinez, Rita Moreno, Rao’s, CC and Amber Sabathia, Bobby Sanabria, Lise and Jeffrey Wilks.
Thanks to all who attended the event and to those who made donations in lieue of attendance. Because of you, we are all growing in the Bronx. #BronxGrown #BxCMGala2019
Watch "A Bronx-Side Story", premiered at the Gala.
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