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Black Tie International:
New York City Mission Society
Champions for Children Gala
Photos by: Rose Billings/
Bill Thompson, 42nd New York Comptroller, ,Jean Shafiroff (Chair) and Former Governor NY David Pattersom.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/
Bill Thompson, 42nd New York Comptroller, ,Jean Shafiroff (Chair)
Former Governor NY David Pattersom


– Philanthropist Jean Shafiroff Served as 2016 Gala Chair for Second Year

Bill Ritter (Master of Ceremonies) Anchor, WABC-TV.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/
Bill Ritter (Master of Ceremonies) Anchor, WABC-TV
Jean Shafiroff (Chair) Bill Thompson 42nd New York Comptroller, Mary Sliwa and David Patterson.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/
Jean Shafiroff (Chair) Bill Thompson 42nd New York Comptroller, Mary Sliwa and
Former NY Governor David Patterson
Tanja Dreidling Wallace, Victor dE Souza, Randi Schatz and Dustin Lujan.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/
Tanja Dreidling Wallace, Victor dE Souza, Randi Schatz and Dustin Lujan
Former Governor New York David Patterson , Cole Rumbough, and Stanley HRumbough (Board of Directors secretary).  Photo by:  Rose Billings/
Former Governor New York David Patterson , Cole Rumbough,
and Stanley Rumbough
(Board of Directors Secretary)
David Paterson, Former Governor of New York and Mary Sliwa.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/
David Paterson, Former Governor of New York and Mary Sliwa
 Steve Eichner and Daniela Kirsch.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/
 Steve Eichner and Daniela Kirsch
Randi Schatz.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/
Randi Schatz
Dustin Lujan and Former Governor of NY David Patterson.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/
Dustin Lujan and Former Governor of NY David Patterson
Natasha Das and Dawne E Marie.  Photo y:  Rose Billings/
Natasha Das and Dawne E Marie


New York, N.Y. – The New York City Mission Society honored Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (ALJA) Founder and Artistic Director and multiple Grammy Award winner Arturo O’Farrill at its annual Champions for Children Gala on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

Led by Jean Shafiroff, this year’s Gala committee included:: Colbert Narcisse and Katrina and Don Peebles as Honorary Chairs; and Peggy and John Bader, Missy Kilroy and John Moorhead, Leah and Stan Rumbough, and, Yemi and Patrick Vatel (Committee Members); and,Brooke Laing (Auction Chair).

The benefit supporst the Mission Society’s programs and services that help youth and families in our city’s most underserved communities break the cycle of poverty and achieve success.

The Gala was held at the Mandarin Oriental at 80 Columbus Circle, with cocktails at 6:30 PM. WABC-TV Anchor Bill Ritter served as emcee, and the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats performed.

Arturo O’Farrill – who this February won another Grammy – will receive the two-century-old nonprofit’s Visionary Partner Award. Last year, ALJA partnered with the Mission Society to launch G.R.I.O.T. (Global Rhythms in Our Tribe), an educational program that provides free musical instruction to youth in Harlem and surrounding areas.

With a focus in academic enrichment, G.R.I.O.T. is rooted in a multi-cultural focus on global rhythms of the African Diaspora, providing approximately 60 middle and high school students with an understanding 
of foundational musical concepts, proficiency and skill on an instrument, reinforcement of critical science, technology, engineering and math skills, as well as opportunities for solo and ensemble performances.

"I am honored to again serve as Gala Chair to support the New York City Mission Society,” said Gala Chair Jean Shafiroff.  “This event will raise funds to support programs that are changing the lives of children, young adults and families.”

"Music education has been a significant part of the New York City Mission Society's history, and thanks to Arturo O’Farrill and ALJA we are able to provide our youth with new skills that they can take with them for the rest of their lives,” said Elsie McCabe Thompson, President of the New York City Mission Society. “This program weds closely to our mission to help break down barriers and lift children and families from poverty by creating new opportunities.”

A pianist and composer, O’Farrill founded ALJA in 2007, endeavoring to develop new audiences for big band Latin jazz and create a robust educational program for young performers. ALJA is dedicated to preserving the music and heritage of big band Latin jazz, supporting its performance for new audiences, and educating young people in the understanding and performance of this important cultural treasure.

With the support of a group of prominent leaders from the worlds of jazz and Latin culture, O’Farrill launched ALJA to serve as a non-profit organization that could advance both the performance and educational aspects of this uniquely Pan-American art form. ALJA’s programs serve schoolchildren throughout New York City, and since inception ALJA has presented more than 45 concerts showcasing the full range of Afro Latin jazz from all over the world.

O’Farrill was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. His debut album with the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Una Noche Inolvidable, earned a first Grammy Award nomination in 2006. His next album Song for Chico, earned a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2009.  The 2015 release of The Offense of the Drum was yet another Grammy Award winner.  Arturo was, in addition, the winner of the Latin Jazz USA Outstanding Achievement Award, and a Cubadisco Award for The Offense of the Drum in 2015. His newest album release, Cuba: The Conversation Continues (Motéma), is nominated for two Grammys this year: Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album and Best Instrumental Composition.

About 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, 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 18,000 children and families throughout New York City with our programs, supportive services, and community events. Learn more at


Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

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