American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Gala


On November 14, 2015, The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) honored me(!) with the 2015 Humanitarian Award for my advocacy in promoting AFSP’s overall mission: to end the silence and reduce the stigma around mental illness and suicide.

When Garden Wellington (PR for the AFSP) approached me a few years back, asking me to get involved in the organization by photographing the Out of the Darkness Walk, I turned her down. I told her I was too busy. But the truth was that I didn’t want to face my past. She persisted, and a few months later asked me again, saying the organization could use a little HughE love on a subject, that at the time rarely was covered in the media. I told her I’d get back to her.

I realized I could help others by telling my story, when I struggled with the issue in my 20s. I then told my story on my blog and on social media. They tell me that with my help over the past three years they have double the number of people who come to their annual walk, held in October; this past year 5,000 walkers participated.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the leader in the fight against suicide. They fund research, offer educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support those affected by suicide. The 350 guests who attended enjoyed dinner, dancing and the most amazing silent auction from generous sponsors. Thanks to everyone who supported the event by attending, or making a donation. We’re saving lives.

Photos after the jump »

XIX Most Fashionable Women in Philadelphia


Last Monday night, the Sixth Annual XIX Most Fashionable Women in Philadelphia were honored at the restaurant XIX in the Hyatt at the Bellevue. Created six years ago as the signature event of the Philadelphia Collection, the annual event recognizes extraordinary women who are not only fashionable, but philanthropic.

The women (listed alphabetically):

  • Alice Bast, President & CEO, National Foundation of Celiac Awareness
  • Emily Bittenbender, Managing Partner, Bittenbender Construction, LP
  • Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, Council’s Majority Whip, Committee Chair on the Environment, Vice Chair of the Committee on Education
  • Wendy Clark, Lady B, The Voice of Hip Hop
  • Rosemary Connors, Journalist, NBC 10
  • Doreen Creede, Creator, Style Maniac, Editor-at-Large, Founder Magazine
  • Anne Ewers, President & CEO, The Kimmel Center Inc.
  • Varsovia Fernandez, President & CEO, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Valerie Gay, Executive Director, Art Sanctuary
  • Caryn Gubin, Director, Patient Care Services Medical Rehabilitation Centers of PA
  • Ursula Henwood Keating, Director, Workforce Diversity & Inclusion, Comcast
  • Stacy Holland, Executive Director, The Lenfest Foundation Doreen Holmgren, Philanthropist
  • Doreen Holmgren, Flyers Wives Charity
  • Mary Pat Kessler, Director, Member Relations Business Clubs of America
  • Karen Knudsen, Director, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Chair Department of Cancer Biology
  • Tiffany Newmuis, Director, Democratic National Convention
  • Lori Nicoletti Peruto, General Counsel, Philadelphia Suburban Development Corporation
  • Nicole Paloux, Owner, Red Balloon Public Relations, Theatre
  • Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, Council’s Majority Whip, Committee Chair on the Environment, Vice Chair of the Committee on Education
  • Cecilia Torres, Owner-Founder, Casa Papel
  • Ellen Yin, Co-Founder and Co-Owner of High Street Hospitality

They were joined by

  • Mary Dougherty, owner of Nicole Miller Philadelphia,
  • First Lady Lisa Nutter 
  • Janice Waitkus of Lagos

Photos after the jump »

Opening of Theatre Exile’s Rizzo


Last night was the long-anticipated opening of the play Rizzo from Theatre Exile [Read David Fox’s review of the play here]. The event drew lots of political powerhouses from years gone by like Frank Rizzo strategist Marty Weinberg as well as the current the Democratic contender for mayor, Jim Kenney. There were also family members in the audience, friends and people who weren’t fond of Rizzo on hand to see the show. Before the performance, there was a cocktail party down the street at the home of long-time theater supporters Pam and Gresham Riley, where author Sal Paolantonio, who wrote the book the play is based on, appeared. Also there was Joe Canuso, founding partner of Theatre Exile, and director of Rizzo.

Following the play, there was an after party held at The Plough & the Stars. Rizzo is running at Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St. through November I was glad to catch it last night; Scott Greer and the cast were amazing. Everyone I talked to really enjoyed it, and said it really captured the angry and morose Rizzo as he tried to change his personality, and run for a third term as Mayor of Philadelphia in the early ’90s before his untimely death.
Photos after the jump »

Big Brothers Big Sisters 100th Anniversary Gala


The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania held their 100th anniversary gala last night.

Guests walked the purple carpet and posed for a handful of paparazzi, then continued into the purple-themed Kimmel Center where they enjoyed several cocktail parties. Upstairs on tier two, guest performers Vanessa Williams, Macy Gray, Stephan Jenkins, Marlon Wayans and Shontelle mingled with VIPs. Meanwhile, downstairs in Commonwealth Plaza another cocktail party was going strong in the beautifully designed area decorated on a grand scale by Petah Bashano Event Décor and Design and food by Garces Catering.

Since its inception in 1915, the Big Brothers Big Sisters has offered mentoring to thousands of boys and girls by reaching out and believing positive adult role models make a difference. And they do, many of the speakers during the program said.

Several people and organizations were honored during a program in Verizon Hall, including Comcast, The Bentley Family, Dr. Wilson Goode, Fox Rothschild, and two long time volunteers, Tom McElvogue and Joan Tishgart. The goal for the evening was to raise $1 million dollars; that goal was exceeded, but there is still an opportunity to raise even more funds to help mentor a child.
Photos after the jump »

PHLDiversity Annual Luncheon


Last week PHLDiversity, a division of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, (PHLCVB) hosted its 2015 Annual Luncheon at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. Emceed by Emmy award-winning journalist Cynthia Gouw, the luncheon celebrated “The Impact of Diversity.” Celebrating Philly’s spirit of cooperation and inclusion, industry and community leaders were honored for their continued impact on the community’s diverse hospitality and tourism industry. Honors included the Community Recognition Award, given to Dr. Stephen S. Tang, president and CEO of the University City Science Center; the Industry Appreciation Award, given to Jay H. Shah, CEO of Hersha Hospitality Trust; and the Bring it Home Award given to Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Congressman Bob Brady, and Former Governor Ed Rendell for their efforts in bringing the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Philadelphia.

Photos from the PHLDiversity Luncheon after the jump »

The Continental Turns 20


Stephen Starr’s Continental celebrated it’s 20th anniversary with a party on Sunday night bringing together original servers from the week the restaurant opened, alumni servers from over the years, customers, family and friends. Guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres, a charcuterie spread and an amazing dessert buffet.

Photos after the jump »

Franklin Institute’s Vatican Splendors Opening Gala


The Franklin Institute held a gala opening for Vatican Splendors, a new exhibit to coincide with Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia. Art patrons and supporters of the science center walked the red carpet and into the museum where trumpeters guided them toward the exhibit on the upper floors where over 200 works of art and historically significant objects depicting the history of the Church and its impact on art, history and culture will be housed until February 15, 2016. Guests then dined in the Grand Hall with music by The Herreras and danced and enjoyed dessert to Blues Junior band (Mole Street Productions) in the Atrium. At 9 p.m. the museum welcomed the Franklin Institute Young Friends to the party, which continued until nearly midnight. Photos after the jump »

Moyer Foundation Champions for Children Luncheon


The Moyer Foundation’s Champions for Children Luncheon was held Tuesday at the Crystal Tea Room in Center City. The room was packed with Phillies fans, friends and supporters of former Phillies player Jamie Moyer and David Montgomery the chairman, minority-owner, and former President of the Philadelphia Phillies.

The well-liked Montgomery looked great after battling cancer in recent years; he and his wife Lyn greeted old friends and family, some who had traveled cross-country to be there with them for the event. Jamie and Karen Moyer founded the Moyer Foundation which funds Camp Erin Philadelphia, a camp serving grieving children and teens, in partnership with UPENN’s Wissahickon Hospice, and Camp Mariposa Pennsylvania, a partnership with the Penn Foundation, for kids of addicted parents.

Champions for Children Honorary Committee co-chairs were Dan Hilferty, Independence Blue Cross, Denis P. O’Brien, Exelon Utilities, Judith M. von Seldeneck, Diversified Search and Edward G. Rendell. Rendell said that he wishes there was a camp like Camp Erin when he was a young boy, as his father died when he was 14 and it was a very difficult period for his family. To have a place to go and be with other kids going through the same grieving process would have made life much easier.

Photos after the jump »

Philadelphia Montessori Charter School’s “Anything Is Possible” Garden Party


Philadelphia Montessori Charter School hosted its inaugural “Anything Is Possible” Garden Party Wednesday night to celebrate the completion of the school’s garden and playground. The playground, which is adjacent to the elementary school in Southwest Philadelphia, was a community project where students, teachers, volunteers and many partners worked on the competition including KaBoom!, the CarMax Foundation, The Philadelphia Water Department, Spor Chargers, metal sculptors Steve Webb and Alex Morgan and the Philadelphia Orchard Project. There’s a jungle gym, a garden surrounded by a mosaic wall, and a beautiful metal sculpture that lights up at night.

Photos after the jump »

Feastival Patron Party


On Monday night at Twenty Manning, a sponsor party was held to announce the details of the 2015 Audi FEASTIVAL, which will take place on September 17th, 2015. On that night, the FringeArts Headquarters on 140 N. Columbus Boulevard will host an exclusive, chic party for the hottest movers and shakers in Philadelphia’s business, culinary and arts scenes — but most importantly, a fundraiser for FringeArts, whose Philadelphia Fringe Festival runs from September 3rd through 19th. The co-chairs for FEASTIVAL this year are Jesse & Beka Rendell, David & Susan Lipson, Tony Forte and Ryan Hummel. Guests at the patron party enjoyed samples of dishes that will be served at the gala, as well as an open bar. The purpose of a patron party is to thank the sponsors for their support and to preview what they can expect at the gala on the 17th. Tickets are still available and can be bought here. Photos after the jump

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