The 26th Annual Celebrating Women Breakfast

Tina Brown

Jean Shafiroff With Karen Klopp

Jennifer Buffett With Rachel Lloyd And Taina Bien-Aime

Karen Reynolds Sharkey With Abigail Disney

Alyse Kenny

Ana L Oliveira And Clarisse Motmefotso

Jennifer Giacobbe

Dawne Marie Grannum

Lori Knight With Karen Palmer

Ana L Oliveira And Rachel Lloyd

Leymah Gbowee And Antoinette E La Belle

Sharon Richardson

The New York Women’s Foundation® (NYWF) held its 26th annual Celebrating Women® Breakfast, honoring Rachel Lloyd, Founder and CEO of GEMS (Girls Educational & Mentoring Services), Tina Brown, Founder and Editor in Chief of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, and Nobel Peace Laureate and Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, on Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 7:30 AM at the New York Marriott Marquis. NYWF honored Rachel Lloyd with the Celebrating Women® Award, which was given in recognition of her significant achievements that have made her a role model for women and girls. Tina Brown was presented with the Vision Award in recognition of her significant philanthropic contributions to women and children, and Leymah Gbowee was honored with the Century Award for her social activism which has had an extraordinary and lasting impact on the lives of many. The event’s co-chairs and Board Members were Anita Channapati, Kwanza R. Butler, and Jennifer Giacobbe.

The breakfast kicked off with a performance from Mariachi Flor de Toloache—New York City’s “only all-female mariachi band”—who roused the crowd before Diana Taylor, Chair of the NYWF Board of Directors, addressed the sold-out audience of some 2,200 attendees. Ms. Taylor was quick to thank the 90 partner organizations seated behind her onstage, before noting that the New York Women’s Foundation has grown to become one of the top three women’s funds in the world.

Jennifer Buffett, a past honoree and President of the NoVo Foundation, whose activism works to end the abuse and exploitation of women and girls, was next on stage to introduce Rachel Lloyd, the recipient of the Celebrating Women Award. Ms. Lloyd, who was instrumental in the passage of New York’s Safe Harbor Act—a law prohibiting the criminal persecution of minors who are victims of commercial sex trafficking. A former victim herself, Lloyd established GEMS, now the nation’s largest organization offering direct services to domestic victims of commercial sex trafficking. Following Ms. Lloyd was Tina Brown, the Founder & Editor In Chief of the Newsweek Daily Beast and Founder of the Women in the World Foundation, who received the Vision Award for her significant philanthropic contributions to women and children around the world.

Betty Terrell-Cruz, a NYWF Founder and Board Alumna, then introduced grantee Yenny Quispe, a young Peruvian-American with a truly inspiring backstory who at an early age became an activist for immigrants’ rights. The second grantee honored, Ruth Moore, a victim of military sexual assault, has fought to help other survivors of military sexual assault secure their veterans benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. President Barack Obama recently signed the Ruth Moore Act of 2013, pledging to continue improving health care for veterans and expanding opportunities for women in combat roles.

Ginny Day, a NYWF Founder and Board Alumna, and Yvonne Moore, NYWF Board of Directors Secretary, then took the stage to solicit donations from the audience. Ms. Moore announced that a group of current and past members of NYWF had pledged to match all donations up to $500,000.

The final honoree of the day was Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee. Ms. Gbowee was introduced by Abigail Disney, Honorary Chair of the NYWF Board of Directors. Ms. Disney recalled the history of their relationship and the close bond between the two. Leymah Gbowee began by thanking Ms. Disney, who helped produce the award winning documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell, saying “this probably never would have happened without you bringing my story to the world.” Ms. Gbowee was funny and engaging while recalling her past and what inspired her to become a peace activist, whose efforts helped end the Second Liberian Civil War. She ended the morning on a high note, dancing with Ana Oliveira to John Legend’s rendition of “Wake Up Everybody” and getting the audience to their feet dancing along.

The New York Women’s Foundation® is a cross-cultural alliance of women, serving as a voice for women and a force for change. The Foundation identifies innovative organizations that are effecting change for women in the communities they serve. NYWF strategically funds organizations and programs that move women, girls and families toward long-term economic security through individual transformation and systemic change, mobilizing leaders and community partners as philanthropists and change agents. NYWF funds programs that promote economic security and justice, anti-violence and safety, health, and sexual rights and reproductive justice for women and girls in New York City.


April Sandmeyer said…
I thought the New York Woman's Foundation Breakfast was happening next week!