Jean Shafiroff

The New York City Mission Society will hold its annual Champions for Children gala on April 1st. The benefit will support the Mission Society’s programs and services that help youth and families from in our city’s most underserved communities break the cycle of poverty and achieve success.

“Our mission is clear: keep fighting for those in need. For more than two centuries the NYC Mission Society has been on the frontlines of the war on poverty,” explains Elsie McCabe Thompson, President of the NYC Mission Society. “This year, we are holding our benefit on a day known for practical jokes so we can trumpet our message that fighting poverty is no laughing matter. Too many children and families in our city and country are in desperate need of help to overcome poverty. We at the NYC Mission Society take this need seriously, and vow to continue leading the fight to create new opportunities and improve lives.”

This year, the NYC Mission Society will honor two Champions for Children: Colbert Narcisse, Managing Director and Global Head of Alternative Investments, Morgan Stanley; and, Hollis Russell, Partner, Ackerman, Levine, Cullen, Brickman & Limmer, LLP.

"We're thrilled to be honoring these two extraordinary individuals whose philanthropic efforts have made a significant impact on the lives of so many," said Gala Chair Jean Shafiroff. "We are deeply indebted to all those who have given countless hours and endless energy to planning this gala, because in the end, we all recognize the need for more people to step forward to combat poverty.”

The gala will be held at the Mandarin Oriental in Columbus Circle, starting with cocktails at 6:00 PM followed by the awards ceremony and dinner at 7:00 PM. This year's Master of Ceremonies will be Bill Ritter, anchor at WABC-TV and 20/20 correspondent. The Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats, members of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance's pre-professional youth orchestra, will provide the entertainment.

Gala committee co-chairs include Peggy and John Bader, Carolyn and Lloyd W. Brown, II, and John U. Moorhead. Honorary gala chairs are Stanley H. Rumbough and Fiona and Stan Druckenmiller. Brooke Laing, co-founder of the NYC Mission Society's Junior Society, is this year's auction chair. Members of the benefit committee include: Flo Anthony, Sharon Bush, Suzette Charles, Penny Grant, Shannon Hales, Ambassador Mary Ourisman & Mandell Ourisman and Christine Schott & George Ledes. The corporate chair is Barclays.

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About New York City Mission Society

The NYC Mission Society has been on the frontlines of the war on poverty for more than 200 years. Today, our progressive portfolio of educational, restorative justice, cultural enrichment, and workforce development programs make a positive, long-term impact on youth in the City’s most underserved communities by promoting academic achievement, combating violence, and providing career opportunities. Each year, we serve more than 13,000 children and families throughout New York City with our programs, supportive services, and community events. Learn more at