Third Annual United Negro College Fund Mayor’s Masked Ball

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On Friday night, Philadelphia hosted its 3rd Annual United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Mayor’s Masked Ball at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The UNCF provides scholarships for 60,000 students attending 900 colleges and universities. It also provides financial assistance to 38 higher-education schools in its network, all of which are historically black colleges and universities. The Masked Award (Mankind Assisting Students Kindle Educational Dreams) honorees this year were Craig L. Adams of PECO, who was the co-chair of the inaugural gala, Joseph M. Casey, SEPTA General Manager, and former school superintendent Dr. Constance Clayton. There were several notables in the audience, including legendary singer Billy Paul, Tuskegee Airman Pierce Ramsey, Reverend Dr. Alyn E. Waller, First Lady of Philadelphia Lisa Nutter, Mayor Michael Nutter, Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO, UNCF, and Stephanie Humphrey, QVC host and mistress of ceremonies for the evening’s ceremony.
Photos after the jump »

Philadelphia Flower Show Black-Tie Gala and Afterparty

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The 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show opened on Friday, February 27, 2015, with a black-tie gala. Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail party under a marquee of beautiful flowers while surrounded by Caribbean pirates, playful rats, princesses, and chickens in the barnyard. This year’s theme is “Celebrate the Movies,” and as you may have guessed, there’s a large contingent of displays inspired by Disney movies as well as Hollywood classics. After the cocktail hour, dinner took place among the floral displays. As dinner ended at 10 p.m., guests joined the afterparty where DJ Montone and DJ Jason Weiss kicked off dance party which continued well after midnight. The Flower Show runs through March 8, with a schedule full of special events, celebrity appearances, and lots and lots of beautiful flowers and shopping.

More photos from the Flower Show Gala after the jump »

Cheers for CHOP Featuring Salt-N-Pepa

Sandra "Pepa" Denton

On Saturday, February 28th, the 2nd Annual Cheers for CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) was held at the Valley Forge Casino. This year the event was moved from the dance club to the ballroom to accommodate the 700 guests on hand. Philadelphia Event Planners gave that cavernous ballroom a night club atmosphere with reserved tables for 10, high tops and a communal table that ran the length of the dance floor; lining the walls were semi-private cabanas with their own servers.

The dance floor’s LED spelled out Cheers for CHOP, and to kick off the night the 1990s rap group Salt-N-Pepa (with DJ Spinderella) got the groove going by singing some of their biggest hits. DJ Bizz kept the party going by spinning till midnight, as guests enjoyed a banquet of food and dessert as well as specialty cocktails.

This year’s event raised $675,000 for CHOP’s Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy program — one of the first programs in the country to recognize the therapeutic value of play for hospitalized children. The evening’s special guest was 19-year-old CHOP patient Tom Gillin — who became Internet-famous last year with the Jay Z-inspired “Bald So Hard,” which he performed with Mike Mahoney. Photos from Cheers for CHOP after the jump »

Young Friends of the Art Museum’s Black-Tie Winter Gala

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The Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art annual black-tie Winter Gala lived up to its name Saturday evening thanks to blanket of freshly fallen snow. Young professionals endured Uber surcharges and wait times, and slow roads in the name of charity, but were rewarded with beautiful art, music and culture in the magnificent setting of the Museum’s Great Stair Hall.

Guests were also invited to enjoy the new showing of Ink and Gold: Art of the Kano, the first exhibition in the United States to explore the artistic excellence of the Kano, one of Japan’s most influential schools of painting. The Young Friends event was co-chaired by Elizabeth Lampen Kim and Jacqueline Cassidy who took to the stage after the performance of the Japanese drum group Kyo Daiko to express their thanks to the supporters of the art museum. The mission of the Young Friends is to support Museum acquisitions and education as well as to fund educational field trips that bring more than 750 elementary school students to the Museum for literacy-based gallery lessons. Photos from the Young Friends Winter Gala after the jump »

Simon’s Soiree to Benefit Simon’s Fund

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Simon’s Fund was established in 2005 in memory of Simon Sudman, son of Phyllis and Darren Sudman, who died of a heart defect called Long QT Syndrome. Simon was one of thousands of kids — ranging from babies to high school athletes — to die of sudden cardiac arrest in 2005.

In Simon’s memory, the family started an organization that provides free heart screenings to children in the Philadelphia area, sponsors medical research projects, hosts awareness events, works with major medical institutions and promotes legislation.

Nearly 500 people turned out for the 5th Annual Simon’s Soiree at the Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel. The evening began with a cocktail party, and a silent auction. Then the guests entered the ballroom for an awards program, dinner and dancing to The Nerds.

Additional funds were raised in a live auction featuring auctioneer Josh Katz. Emcee for the evening was Michael Barkann. The 2015 Protect Your Heart Award Honorees were Frank Marchilinski MD and Allan Chaney, whose promising basketball career was ended by a heart defect. Melissa Fair, who had attended a Simon’s Fund heart screening for students where it was discovered she had a Partial Anomolous Pulmonary Venous Return and Atrial Septal Defect, was also there. She had open-heart surgery on January 24, 2008, exactly two years after Simon died. The Simon’s Fund screening saved her life. Photos from Simon’s Soiree after the jump »

Philadelphia Auto Show Black Tie Tailgate 2015

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Nearly 4,000 people came out to enjoy “A Night to Remember at the 2015 Philadelphia Auto Show’s Black Tie Tailgate” on Friday, January 31st. Guests got a first look at nearly 700 vehicles from more than 40 car manufacturers in a 700,000 square-foot space at the Pennsylvania Convention Center while dining on Garces Catering delights and desserts and dancing to the sounds of Jellyroll. Returning again this year was the very popular Camp Jeep where an indoor off-road driving test takes place in a 25,000-square foot exhibit that gives auto show attendees a chance to experience the off-road capabilities of Jeep vehicles without leaving the show floor.

The event raises money for the division of neonatology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia through the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation. Since 1986 the Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia and its Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation have donated $5.8 million to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Auto Show opened on Saturday, January 31st, and runs through Sunday, February 8th. On Saturdays and Sundays, the show opens at 9 a.m. and on weekdays, at noon. Chairs for the gala were Mr. and Mrs. Donald Franks, William W. Fox, M.D. and Laurie Kilpatrick, Ph.D.

Photos after the jump »

The 24 Top Philanthropists in Pennsylvania

Clockwise from top left: John (Jack) Drosdick, Michael and Wendy Saltzburg, Ben Roethlisberger, Henry Hillman, Brook Lenfest, Nydick, Keith and Katherine Sachs.

Clockwise from top left: John (Jack) Drosdick, Michael and Wendy Saltzburg, Ben Roethlisberger, Henry Hillman, Brook Lenfest, Robert L. Nydick, Keith and Katherine Sachs | Photo illustration: Alyse Moyer

“No one has ever become poor from giving,” wrote Anne Frank in her diary. That is certainly true of these immensely wealthy Pennsylvanians, who collectively handed out hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable donations in 2014. Here, a look at some of the biggest individual donations, the recipients of the largesse, and the people behind it all, with data provided by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Read more »

Garrett Snider Benefit for Marc Vetri Foundation’s Eatiquette

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Last week at the Rittenhouse Hotel Garrett Snider and The Garrett Getlin Snider Foundation hosted a benefit to raise awareness for The Vetri Foundation For Children’s Eatiquette program. On hand to explain how the Eatiquette program works was Marc Vetri and Jeff Benjamin, co-founders of the Vetri Foundation, who told us that the program is one of its newest methods of bringing healthy choices to the school lunchroom. It’s an effort to make kids lunches less an assembly line and more a relaxed eating atmosphere with healthy choices. The program also teaches kids healthy ways to prepare dishes from locally sourced ingredients. Guests were treated to dishes that you might find at the program, as well as specialty drinks that are not on the menu at the school.

Photos from the Garrett Snider Benefit for Marc Vetri’s Eatiquette after the jump »

2015 Academy Ball Featuring Al Pacino

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Philadelphia’s annual white-tie gala to celebrate the Academy of Music’s birthday — it’s 158th! — took place Saturday night at Academy of Music and the Hyatt at the Bellevue. Nearly 1,400 people attended the grand celebration which raises money to restore and maintain the Grand Old Lady of Locust Street.

The evening began with the chairman’s pre-concert reception held at the Academy of Music. Guests dined on Jose Garces catering of lamb chops and crab and eggplant sliders, and enjoyed an open bar. The MRB Jazz Project entertained guests as they mingled and posed for the society photographers on hand to capture society’s most celebrated and time-honored traditions, where men were dressed in white tails and women in ball gowns, white gloves and a few even wearing tiaras.

The concert began a little past 7:30 p.m., as Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Al Pacino took the stage. Pacino joked throughout his piece that he wasn’t sure what he was going to do on stage; it reflected the audience’s likely thoughts when it was first announced Pacino would be the special guest after decades of musical guests like Sting, Billy Joel, and, last year, Jill Scott.

But Pacino didn’t disappoint, as fans of his movies were excited to hear his dialogue, often punctuated by laughs from the audience. And he did entertain as he did a monologue from Shakespeare’s Richard III while the orchestra played William Walton’s Preludio dalla colonna sonora. Then Pacino recited an e.e. cummings poem as the orchestra performed Copland’s Clarinet Concerto in the background. Pacino was a unique choice for a headliner, and was a complete success, delighting the audience.

After the concert, guests took part in the annual promenade up Broad Street to the Hyatt at the Bellevue for the Ball. Along the way guests were entertained by the Delaware County Christian Academy Choir (2013 More 101 FM Choir competition winners!), The Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble on Broad Street and The Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School Choir at the Bellevue. The 158th Anniversary Concert and Ball co-chairmen were Linda Fynes Siegfried and Joseph F. Coradino. The Young Friends co-chairs were Christie Honigman and Brian Lipstein.

Photos from the Academy Ball after the jump »

Hair O’ the Dog 2015

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The 21st Annual Hair O’ the Dog gala took place Saturday night, January 17th, at the Crystal Tea Room in the John Wanamaker Building. Hair O’ the Dog was started in 1995 by friends and business partners Dan Cronin and Robert Molinaro (of Chorus Communications) as a small party of friends and has grown into a must-attend 1,000-strong charitable event.

This year, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Philadelphia chapter of UNICO, which provides clothing to the homeless. Often described as an adult prom, the glamorous event attracts guests who really dress in their gala best, from black tie to gowns, cocktail dresses to your best dark suit.

I’ve gone to about five Hair O’ the Dogs, and this was by far the best: The crowd was beautiful, the event was well-organized, and the space was perfect. I’ve never seen the Crystal Tea Room used so well.

The lounge outside of the ballroom was dubbed Ibiza, and there guests could lounge on sofas, hang at cocktail tables, be entertained by feathered dancers, and dance to the tunes of DJ Montone, all while enjoying gourmet hors d’oeuvres and a light buffet.

The main ballroom was dubbed “Sin City,” a Vegas-inspired area with reserved tables, an extensive silent auction of sports memorabilia, and rotating musical acts — The Rockets, DJ Dan Cronin, Maxim Model, DJ Paola Shea of CBS’s Big Brother and, at midnight, Natalie Guercio of VH1’s Mob Wives debuted her new song, “Throttle” — with a light buffet served all night.

The final room was the super exclusive Miami bottle service room; entertainment included DJ Bizz, Mr. Robot, lighted dancers, and the Jewelz dancers. The standout of the night was definitely the dresses. I’m running a few of my favorites, which ones do you like?

Photos from Hair O’ the Dog after the jump »

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