Last month, more than 700 tuxedoed and ball-gowned revelers gathered in the Museum of Natural History’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life for the annual S.L.E. Lupus Foundation gala. As the attendees feasted on black American caviar, Margaret Dowd, the foundation’s executive director, was marveling at something else: the size of the crowd.
The foundation had not seen so many people at its annual gala since 2007. “It’s been very tough the last few years, and we had to cut expenses drastically,” she said. “In 2009, many of our donors said, ‘Our portfolios were really harmed and we have to cut our donations, but we’ll be back.’ And they did come back. This year has been much, much better.”
The benefit raised $2.5 million—a significant jump from the $2.2 million raised at last year’s. Things have not returned to the 2007 level, when the gala’s $3.2 million haul set a national record, which has yet to be topped, for lupus research funds collected at a single event, but the foundation is on track to raise 10 to 12 percent more this year than the previous one. Ms. Dowd added that the nonprofit’s spring luncheon saw such a dramatic spike in attendance this year—a 30 percent increase—that next year they plan to hold it in the Plaza.
Big Apple Idolatry
- Fresh off his Broadway run in Chicago, Usher will be kicking his feet up in one of those swivel pods on the third season of The Voice. He and Shakira will be taking over for Christina Aguilera and Cee-Lo Green, who are vacating their judges’ chairs on NBC’s hit music contest. Of coorse, Usher has an ace card up his sleeve to win over any waffling young talent. It’s two words, and rhymes with Bustin Tweezer.
When Aaron Hillis and his wife bought Cobble Hill’s Video Free Brooklyn—a well-loved but somewhat dingy relic from the age of VHS—they had rather lofty plans for the store. They would transform the outmoded space into hub of film culture that would redefine the role of the video store in the time of Netflix. It would be both a boutique offering personalized service and an event space (thanks to collapsible shelves) with screenings and discussions. But like many fledgling entrepreneurs, their plans far outpaced their pocketbooks—Mr. Hillis figured he would need about $50,000 to revamp the space.
They might have tried for a bank loan, or made do until they saved enough for the renovation, but neither option was very appealing, so the Hillises did what everyone with a creative vision and a lack of cash seems to do these days: they launched a crowdfunding campaign.
“I don’t think it’s any different or less valid than when PBS or NPR ask people to donate for a free tote bag, or the Kickstarter campaign in Detroit to build a life-size statue of RoboCop,” said Mr. Hillis, who has thus far raised about $7,000 (with two weeks to go on a $50,000 campaign) on Indiegogo. “As long as you’re transparent about where the money is going, you’re putting together something that people want to be a part of.”
Yesterday The Observer trekked down to Sarah D. Roosevelt Park to watch a little football. And we mean real football. Basketballer Steve Nash held his annual soccer match, Showdown in Chinatown, in which fellow kings of the court join forces with international soccer stars to raise money for Nash’s foundation.
The result? A hilarious mélange Read More
What a relief! Five days after Alicia Keys enlisted celebrity friends — including Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake — to swear off social networks until $1 million had been donated to the Keep a Child Alive charity, a fund that supports AIDS-afflicted housholds in Africa and India, the Twitter embargo has come to a Read More
The social networking ideas that Chris Hughes and his college roomate Mark Zuckerberg worked on at Harvard have become a revolutionary platform remaking communications and business around the globe.
Now Hughes, who is based in New York, has launched the Beta version of Jumo, a social network that hopes to connect Read More
Starting today, 7.2 million people will be deprived of something dear to their hearts: Lady Gaga’s Twitter presence. The BBC reports that the world’s biggest pop star will silence the site’s most-followed account today as part of her hiatus from social media platforms until $1 million is raised for Read More
Carlos Slim, who is by Forbes‘ reckoning the world’s richest human, doesn’t see much value in giving away his money, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Slim said that the “Santa Claus” route is not for him — a surprising analysis, given his grey beard and slightly portly silhouette. “Trillions of dollars Read More
After Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that he would donate $100 million to Newark schools, the Observer remarked on the timing of this gift. Zuckerberg will be talking about the donation on Oprah today, a few hours before the premier of The Social Network at the New York Film Festival, a film in which he is Read More
In a rant of ever-increasing craziness, Charlie Munger, the 86-year-old Berkshire Hathaway billionaire who squirms at the thought of charitable giving, says everyday Joes should be grateful for the 2008 government bank bailouts.
Bloomberg reports that Munger, speaking at the University of Michigan last week, said that people who’re suffering in the Read More