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Designer b michael, Honoree Cicely Tyson, recipient, New York City Mission Society Alumnus Award; Honoree Kathryn C. Chenault, Esq., recipient, Dina Merrill Hartley Public Service Award; Kenneth Chenault, Chairman & CEO, American Express; Mark-Anthony Edwards, Co-founder, CEO and Media Relations, b michael America; and Cole Rumbough, Gala Associate Chair. (Photo by Margot Jordan)

*The New York City Mission Society (NYCMS) — an institution with a phenomenal legacy of service to the citizens of New York City — has been changing lives since 1812.

For the past two hundred years, NYCMS has helped a multitude of New Yorkers by providing community-building and prevention services, education, workforce development and other programs that make a tremendous difference in the lives of New York’s most under-served children, youth and families.  Since then NYCMS continues its vital work, which includes operating a dynamic portfolio of out of school programs to help break the cycle of poverty for thousands of children and adults and help them achieve a brighter future.

“New York City Mission Society positively changes lives because we respond to the needs at hand,” said Stephanie Palmer, Executive Director.  “Our main objective is to provide children, youth and families with the tools to succeed.  We are able to accomplish this because our supporters share our commitment to helping children and families help themselves.”

In celebration of this unparalleled institution’s bicentennial, NYCMS hosted its 200th anniversary at a celebratory black tie gala on Wednesday, December 12, 2012, at The Pierre New York, 2 East 61st Street at Fifth Avenue, New York City.  The swellegant soiree featured a cocktail reception, dinner, auction, awards program, and dancing to the sensational sounds of Ray Chew Live!

The momentous commemorative event garnered four Proclamations for an organization that has made such a remarkable impact on New York City: Proclamation from New York State Senator Bill Perkins; Proclamation from Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York; Proclamation from The Council of The City of New York; and Proclamation from Scott M. Stringer, Manhattan Borough President.

“This year New York City Mission Society enters a milestone that few other human services organization in the city can claim,” said Lloyd Brown, Chairman of the Board of Directors.  “Over the past two centuries, we have changed and adapted our services to meet the contemporary issues facing underserved children, youth and families.  It is a commitment that has never wavered through good and bad times.”

The beguiling dinner was as dreamy as the elegant evening.  In an ambiance straight from the glamorous forties guests enjoyed Smoked Salmon and Crepe Gateau with Paddlefish Roe and Cucumber Crème Fraiche; Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve Blanc; Herb Crusted Filet Mignon with Potato Leek Gratin; Baby Carrots, Asparagus Bundle with Cabernet Reduction; Warm Chocolate Soufflé Cake; Espresso Ice Cream and Fresh Berry Compote Crème Anglaise.  Throughout dinner, guests were served several fine wines: Kenwood, Yulupa Vineyard, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

During the enchanting gala, NYC Mission Society honored Kathryn C. Chenault, Esq. and Cicely Tyson.  Both ladies – stunningly gorgeous — wore dresses by their favorite designer b michael.  Attorney Chenault received the Dina Merrill Hartley Public Service Award in recognition of her inspirational volunteer efforts, philanthropic support and her long standing advocacy for children and youth.  Legendary actress Tyson received the Alumni Award in honor of Ruby Martin for her artistry and her philanthropic work.  NYCMS also honored two other New York City institutions that reached their bicentennials in 2012.  Special Co-Bicentennial Awards were presented to Citibank, N.A. (Community Development Award); and City Hall (Community Service Award).

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Lloyd W. Brown, II, Chairman, Board of Directors, New York City Mission Society; Stephanie Palmer, Executive Director, New York City Mission Society; and Bob Annibale, Global Director, Microfinance, Citigroup, and Eugene M. McQuade, Chief Executive Officer, Citibank, N.A., who jointly accepted the New York City Mission Society Community Development Award on behalf of Citibank. (Photo by Annie Watt)

For the past two hundred years, New York City Mission Society has helped a multitude of New Yorkers by providing community-building and prevention services, education, workforce development and other programs that make a tremendous difference in the lives of New York’s most under-served children, youth and families.  Since its inception NYCMS continues its mission that includes operating a dynamic portfolio of out of school programs to help break the cycle of poverty for thousands of children and adults and help them achieve a brighter future.

“New York City Mission Society positively changes lives because we respond to the needs at hand,” said Stephanie Palmer, Executive Director. “Our main objective is to provide children, youth and families with the tools to succeed. We are able to accomplish this because our supporters share our commitment to helping children and families help themselves.”

Through its alumni, New York City Mission Society has had a tremendously positive effect on society. Among the alumni of New York City Mission Society, New York City’s first African American school principal, New York City’s first African American school superintendent, New York City’s first African-American deputy police commissioner as well as Cicely Tyson, Sean Combs and Diahann Carroll and an astounding number of business leaders, public servants, teachers, and leaders of other fields.

In addition, New York has also greatly benefited from the notable and innovative nonprofit programs, which were founded because of the influence of New York City Mission Society because it inspired, nurtured, housed, or helped launch them. These include The Fresh Air Fund, The Children’s Aid Society, the Community Service Society and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.

“It is a great honor to be involved with an organization whose long history has had such a positive impact on the lives of so many New Yorkers,” said Stanley H. Rumbough, member of the Board of Directors.  “I’m the third generation of my family to have served on New York City Mission Society’s board.  It is a tradition that started with my grandmother, Elizabeth Colgate Rumbough.  It was passed on to my mother Dina Merrill Hartley, who has been involved with the organization for over 50 years, including having served as the Board Chair for many years.  It is a proud legacy within our family.”

Bill Ritter, Evening Anchor WABC-TV & 20/20 Correspondent served as Master of Ceremonies.  The evening’s Honorary Chairs were Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts III and Dina Merrill Hartley. The Gala Chairs were Lloyd W. Brown II, Alicia Bythewood, Stanley H. Rumbough and Jean Shafiroff and the Vice Chairs were The Honorable David N. Dinkins and Alexis E. Thomas. The Associate Chairs were Brie Bythewood, Benjamin Oaks, Nicole E. Rhodes and Cole Rumbough.

The A-1 guests included: Amy Fine & Brad Collins, Star Jones, George & Christine Stonbely, Stephanie & John Foster, Kara & Carl Tiedemann, Bob Annibale, Patricia & Thomas Shiah, Dr. Amelia & Bayo Oguniesi, CeCe & Louis E. Black, Jay Moorhead & Missy Kilroy, Carol Sutton Lewis, Karen & Charles Phillips, Bayard Dodge, Christopher & Sally Dodge Mole, Yolanda Ferrell-Brown & Alvin Brown, Anki Leeds, Philippe Bigar, Fleur & William Dodge Rueckert, Cornelia Bregman, b michael & Mark-Anthony Edwards, Jonelle Procope & Frank Terrell, Saundra & Don Cornwell, Sharon Bowen, Larry Morse, Hartley & Eleuthere Paul du Pont III, Emery Westfall, Boo Grace, Penny Grant, Joy Marks, Dawne Marie Grannum, Donna Williams, Nancy Silberkleit, Caroline Firestone, Dr. Holly Phillips & Jose Tavarez, Sharon Bowen, Larry Morse, Suzanne & Norman Cohn, Kenneth Teaton, Stan & Leah Rumbough, Siena & Kiera & Cole Rumbough, The Hon. David N. & Mrs. Joyce Dinkins, Stephanie & John Foster, Dr. Joel & Robin Kassimir, Karen & Peter Weidlein, Jay Moorhead, Erik Bottcher, Suzanne & Norman Cohn, Nina Whittington-Cooper, Gene McQuade, Nina Mitchell Wells and Abbe & Qwabena Abboa-Offei.

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

audrey bernard

Audrey J. Bernard