Andrew and Ann Tisch, Reginald Van Lee, honoree Lola C. West, Figure Skating in Harlem founder and executive director Sharon Cohen

*On Monday, April 4, 2011, Figure Skating in Harlem (FSH) hosted Skating with the Stars’ seventh annual benefit event at Trump Wollman Rink in Central Park and raised more than a half million dollars for FSH’s new academic center.  The critically-needed funds will help expand FSH’s innovative and empowering youth development program.

Olympic Gold Medalist Sarah Hughes, along with Macy’s chairman and CEO Terry Lundgren, his wife, author and world figure skating judge Tina Lundgren, and Lola C. West of Genesis Asset Management were the gala’s honorees.  Melania & Donald Trump and FSH chair emeriti and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’s Tamara Tunie served as this year’s honorary chairs.

Maria Cuomo Cole & Kenneth Cole, Anne & Arnold Gumowitz, Renee & Steve Levy and Ann & Andrew Tisch served as event chairs; with FSH board member Allison Schneirov Fisch, FSH board chair and chief marketing officer for Amway Candace S. Matthews and FSH board of directors vice chair Teresa A. Teague serving as co-chairs.  Also adding glamour to the ice gala were dinner chairs and fashion icons Dee & Tommy Hilfiger, Lizzy & Neil Cole and Vera Wang.

Olympic Gold Medal honoree Sarah Hughes with Figure Skaking in Harlem students

This is FSH’s signature event and always attracts the biggest names in the skate world that attend the event and skate side-by-side with proud FSH students and graceful guests.  This year’s shimmering ice show attendees included skating champs Evan Lysacek, Jeremy Abbott, Tanith Belbin, Ben Agosto, Sasha Cohen, Todd Eldredge, Timothy Goebel, Emily Hughes, Adam Rippon, Joannie Rochette, Lucinda Ruh, Fumie Suguri and Johnny Weir. A much missed Scott Hamilton sent a $100,000 gift from the Pioneer Fund presented on his behalf by FSH advisory board member Evan Lysacek.

FSH’s founder and executive director Sharon Cohen welcomed many bold named luminaries including Jake T. Austin, Federico Castelluccio, Maria Cuomo Cole, Andrew Giuliani, Gregory Generet, Donna Hanover, Reggie Van Lee, Madeleine Moore, Tom Burrell, Carolyn Hennesy, Andrea Joyce, Christopher Meloni, Deborah Norville, Ramona Singer, Harry Smith, and Ann & Andrew Tisch.

This is such a wonderful event that resonates long after the skates come off; and anyone wishing to contribute to the fundraising auction can do so online through April 20, 2011 by visiting www.charitybuzz.com to bid on sensational auction items including a trip to Shanghai, China to attend Artistry on Ice 2011 with a 5-night stay at the Portman Ritz Carlton; lunch with Real Housewives of New York star Countess LuAnn de Lesseps; floor seats to a Keith Urban concert in Dallas; and more.

In her closing remarks Cohen thanked the students and guests for making the skatetacular soiree a big success.  Cohen also thanked FSH’s corporate sponsors for their generous support including Amway, American Express, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, The Walt Disney Company, Bloomberg, BNY Mellon, UPS, Marshalls, The New York Post, United Airlines, The Nielsen Company, Sean John, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation, Con Edison, and CooperKatz & Company, Inc.

Since its establishment in 1997, Figure Skating in Harlem has transformed the lives of hundreds of under-served New York City girls, helping them to grow in confidence, leadership, and academic success.  Through its unique programming, FSH empowers young girls by combining educational, artistic, and fitness opportunities through the discipline of skating.  (Photos by Greg Partanio/Manhattan Society.com and Will Schneekloth)

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.