New York, N.Y.
– On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, more than 340 people attended the
New York City Mission Society’s annual Champions for Children
Gala, raising a half million dollars to help youth and families
in the city’s most underserved communities break the cycle of
poverty and achieve success.
Co-chaired by Jean Shafiroff and Katrina Peebles, the benefit
honored legendary actress and singer Diahann Carroll and
entrepreneur Don Peebles, as well as recognized lifetime members
of the Mission Society’s Board of Directors.
“This was such an unbelievable evening, our most exciting
Champions for Children event on record,” said Mission Society
President Elsie McCabe Thompson. “We were privileged to have
such distinguished and legendary honorees, all committed to
improving the lives of the children, young adults and families
who we serve.”
Gala, held at the Mandarin Oriental in Columbus Circle, featured
dinner, music, and dancing. WABC News Anchor Bill Ritter, a
longtime supporter of the Mission Society, emceed the event.
Performing were Kathy Sledge, the legendary voice of Sister
Sledge; acclaimed singer Alex Donner and his Orchestra, and
students enrolled in the Mission Society’s free afterschool
music education program, GRIOT.
Mission Society recognized the ongoing and vital support of
lifetime members of its Board of Directors: actress and
philanthropist Dina Merrill Hartley, whose family has supported
the Mission Society for four generations, and
Lloyd W. Brown, II.
Among the notable guests at the event were the legendary Cicely
Tyson, Gayle King, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins,
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and designer B Michael.
addition to Gala Co-Chairs Jean Shafiroff and Katrina Peebles,
this year’s Gala Committee includes Tommie Pegues (Gala Vice
Chair), Peggy and John Bader, and Leah and Stanley Rumbough.
Benefit Committee Members are: Alston & Bird, LLP, American
Securities Foundation, Flo Anthony, Elaine Bernanke Appelle, Kim
Bingham, Sophia Bishop, Jerry Bonura, Geoffrey Bradfield, Henry
Buhl, Victor de Souza, Lee Fryd, Penny Grant, Jo’Vion (J.D.)
Greer, Shannon Hales, Michelle Herbert, Missy Kilroy & Jay
Moorhead, Barbara and Francis Kairson, Jr., Margo Langenberg,
Brian Monroe, Riki Kane Larimer, Dustin Lujan, Lauren & James
Peterson, Kim Renk & Greg Dyer, Natalie S. Ross, Helen Shelton,
and Brooke and Derek Steinhiser.
Mission Society presented the legendary Diahann Carroll with its
Champions for Children Award. Born in Harlem, Ms. Carroll is an
award-winning and trailblazing actress, successful entrepreneur,
and devoted humanitarian. One of America’s major performing
talents, she has starred on stage, screen, and television. In
addition to winning Tony and Golden Globe awards, Ms. Carroll
has been nominated for Emmys, Grammys, and an Oscar over her
long and prestigious career. She also has devoted considerable
time to support causes that are important to her. She served as
an ambassador and national spokesperson for Lifetime
Television’s breast cancer awareness campaign, and has been
recognized for raising awareness about HIV and AIDS.
Carroll was the first black actress in television history to
star in her own series, Julia, on NBC, which soared to
the top of the Nielsen ratings and received an Emmy nomination.
Her television credits include Dynasty, A Different
World, Soul Food, Strong Medicine, and
Whoopi. Her recent appearances include White Collar
on the USA Network and a role in the film Peeples.
Equally stunning on stage, Ms. Carroll has received acclaim for
her performances in Sunset Boulevard, Bubbling Brown
Sugar, and House of Flowers, and won a Tony Award for
her performance in Richard Rodgers’ No Strings. Her film
work includes Claudine, Carmen Jones, Paris
Blues, Porgy & Bess, Hurry Sundown, I Know
Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Eve’s Bayou. In 2010,
she filmed her stage show, “The Lady-The Music-The Legend” for
PBS TV, and her one-woman show at Feinstein’s regularly sold
Recognized as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the
nation, R. Donahue (Don) Peebles is Founder, Chairman, and CEO
of The Peebles Corporation, one of the country’s few national
privately held real estate investment and development companies
with portfolio of projects in New York, Washington, D.C.,
Philadelphia, Boston, and Miami Beach. Mr. Peebles also is a
top-selling author of The Peebles Principles and The
Peebles Path to Real Estate Wealth. He a regular guest on
CNN, CNBC, and FOX, as well as a highly sought-after speaker.
Peebles is an avid supporter of mentoring to expose youth to the
value of entrepreneurship. He serves as Chairman of the Board of
the Congressional Black Caucus, is on the Board of Directors of
the YMCA of Greater New York, is a member of Miami-Dade County
Mayor Carlos A. Giménez’s Business Roundtable, was a two-time
former member of President Barack Obama’s National Finance
Committee, and former Chairman of the Greater Miami Convention
and Visitors Bureau.
About the New York City Mission Society
The New York City Mission Society has been on the
frontlines of the war on poverty for more than 200 years. Today,
our progressive portfolio of educational, workforce development,
cultural enrichment, and community-building programs make a
positive, long-term impact on the City’s most underserved
communities by promoting academic achievement, and providing
career opportunities and cultural enrichment. Each year, we
serve more than 12,000 children and families throughout New York
City with our programs, supportive services, and community
events. Learn more at