The gala honored four visionary and long-serving board members who helped build and guide the organization - Michael Levitt, Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P., Thomas Roberts, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, Charles Merinoff, Breakthru Beverage Group, and Michael Delaney, Court Square Capital Partners.
Guests enjoyed an elegant evening of cocktails, dinner, dancing, and a rousing live auction. The program included a captivating keynote address by wish alum Anderson Pleasants, which perfectly captured the transformational and long-term impact of a wish. Model and social media star Afiya Bennett hosted the red carpet and notable guests included renowned fashion photographer, Nigel Barker and his wife, model Cristen Barker, celebrity chef, Todd English, NBA star Kenyon Martin, and nationally syndicated radio host, Angela Yee.
“We are so grateful for the generosity of all who supported the gala. Raising $1.8 million brings us closer to our vision of being able to reach every eligible child in our communities. Wishes are essential because research shows that children who have a wish granted build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight a critical illness which can lead to better health outcomes,” said Phil Lussier, President and CEO, Make-A-Wish Metro New York and Western New York. “We’re deeply grateful to our host, the incomparable Tina Fey, for generously sharing her time, heart and wit to bring attention to the power and importance of wishes and to our honorees, whose steady leadership throughout the years has shaped the course of this organization. We thank our very generous sponsors and donors for helping to make the impossible possible for so many area children.”
Funds for Make-A-Wish were raised, in part, through generous gala sponsors: Michael and Susan Delaney; BNY Mellon; Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; Zurich Insurance Group; CBRE; Kirkland & Ellis; Lisa and Michael Senter, ABCO HVACR Supply + Solutions and Luxaire Heating & Air Conditioning; American Airlines; Barclays; Breakthru Beverage Group; Goldman Sachs; The Leas Family; Structure Tone; Susan and Stephen Scherr; Anne and Alan Schnitzer; Theradynamics Rehab Mgmt., LLC; and Travelers.