*The National Urban Technology Center (Urban Tech) hosted its annual gala benefit on Monday, June 11, 2012, at Capitale, in New York City. The black tie evening raised nearly $350,000 to benefit Urban Tech’s Youth Leadership Academy (YLA). In addition, Wells Fargo Bank presented Urban Tech with a $100,000 grant to start a two-year community financial literacy training pilot program in six U.S. cities.
Themed “Transforming Lives Through the Power of Technology,” Urban Tech honored leaders who understand the importance of giving back. The humanitarian award was presented to Broadway star Blair Underwood by co-star Nicole Ari Parker; Jessica Isaacs presented the community leadership award to corporate and community leader Dr. Reatha Clark King; and Pat Bransford, founder/president, National Urban Technology Center, presented the public service award to CBS-2 News anchor Maurice DuBois.
“Urban Tech was proud to recognize these outstanding leaders who have cumulatively affected thousands, if not millions, of young lives around the world,” stated Patricia Bransford, founder and president of Urban Tech.
The highly favorable event on the social calendar featured a cocktail reception, silent and live auction, dinner and an awards program. The silent auction featured luxurious items, including Judith Ripka and Stella & Dot jewelry, sports memorabilia and Broadway experience packages. The live auction was hosted by former Fox News entertainment correspondent Bill McCuddy who auctioned off lavish destination adventures, including a trip to the Grammys.
Lori Stokes, WABC Eyewitness News This Morning and Eyewitness News at Noon anchor, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. Glorious entertainment was provided by Vy Higginsen’s Gospel for Teens Choir. During the illustrious program, guests were treated to a video edited by Chase Voorhees on Urban Tech, Past, Present and Future.
Black tie guests lavishly dined on grilled peppered shrimp salad with baby lettuces; aged ribeye steak with green peppercorn bourbon sauce, mélange of spring vegetables and baby roasted potatoes; chef’s selection of assorted mini desserts followed by a delicious dessert reception.
Guests included, Miss USA 2012, Olivia Culpo, the cast and producers of the hit Broadway show, A Streetcar Named Desire, including Daphne Rubin Vega, Wood Harris, Jacinto Taras Riddick, Nicole Ari Parker with husband and model, Boris Kudjoe, and producers Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey. Also fashion designer, b michael, who donated exclusive front row seats for his Spring/Summer 2013 Couture Fashion Show to the silent auction.
Honorable Charles E. Schumer, honorable Kirsten Gillibrand, Louis Gossett Jr., Shirley Ann Jackson, PhD, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., Bruce E. Mosler and Hugh B. Price served as honorary chairs. Gwen & Gerald Adolph, Stephen C. Byrd, Valentino D. Carlotti, Jessica & Alan Isaacs and Kathy & Jeff Zinkerman served as gala co-chairs. A who’s who of celebrated do-gooders made up the gala committee including Hazel N. Dukes, Toni G. Fay, Sanjeanetta Harris, Hon. H. Car McCall, Joyce Brown McCall, PhD, Brenda D. Neal, Denise L. Quarles, Esq., Richard Rubenstein, John Starks, and Dr. Elgin & Gena Davis Watkins.
Urban Tech would like to thank the gala benefit committee for their timeless efforts in making this event a reality and for their continued support of our organization,” stated Bransford. “It would not be possible without you!”
The gala touted Urban Tech’s accomplishments over the past 17 years in building a network of 750 computer training centers, 200 youth development programs and 150 financial literacy programs. Urban Tech’s programs have reached 15,000 students in 100 schools and over 500,000 people in 38 states.
The proceeds of the benefit support the advancement of Urban Tech’s YLA which equips students, aged 6-18, with essential skills for community leadership, on-time graduation from high school, and pursuit of college and careers in science and technology. YLA is a component of Bank Street College “21st Century Community Learning Centers” After-School programs which operates in Harlem, The Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.
The National Urban Technology Center is a not-for profit educational corporation that transforms lives through the power of technology by giving youth the capacity for positive behavior and academic success. Urban Tech achieves its mission by teaching students essential life skills, and by training and coaching parents and educators to support social and emotional learning.
Urban Tech’s flagship programs — The Youth Leadership Academy and SeedTech — are delivered online to enhance the capacity of schools and afterschool programs to reach and effectively teach all students. For more information visit www.urbantech.org. (Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan Company)
Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.