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 »

Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show

Marta Adelson, Robert and Penny Fox with John Binswanger

Marta Adelson, Robert and Penny Fox with John Binswanger

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show kicked off its 39th year with a glitzy gala on Wednesday night. Ellen Caplan, chair of this year’s show, welcomed guests to the event before introducing Timothy Rub, the museum’s CEO. He presented the 2015 Craft Show Awards to 10 of the outstanding artists participating in the show, determined by a panel of judges. Each winner received $1,000 from the sponsor of each individual award, with the Best of Show winner — Agnieszka Winograd, a jewelry designer — receiving $1,500. Presented by The Women’s Committee and The Craft Show Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the craft show is the single largest fund-raiser for the museum. More 1,000 applicants apply to show at the annual event, but only 195 are chosen. Proceeds from the show support educational programs and exhibitions and fund purchases of art and contemporary crafts for the permanent collection. To date, the committee has raised over $10.9 million for the museum. The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show is at the Pennsylvania Convention Center through Sunday.

Photos after the jump »

2015 Marian Anderson Award

The 2015 Marian Anderson Award was held last night at the Kimmel Center. Wynton Marsalis — trumpeter, composer, teacher, music educator, and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City — was this year’s recipient. Guests were welcomed by Nina Tinari, board chair, and the event was hosted by Soledad O’Brien.

Marsalis was honored with performances by Kim Burrell, Lalah Hathaway, Misty Copland,  and Robert Garland, as well as local performers, then was joined on stage by the Wynton Marsalis Septet at the conclusion of the event. The Marian Anderson Award is given to entertainers who have contributed to society, which exemplifies what Marsalis has done in his lifetime. After Hurricane Katrina, Marsalis helped create a star-studded concert to raise much needed funds for his hometown of New Orleans and it’s residents.

The evening began with a cocktail party, and guests dined on a delicious dinner by Garces Catering in Commonwealth Plaza decorated by Evantine. The Gala Dinner Chair was Carol B. Tinari, with sponsorship from Wells Fargo, City of Philadelphia and PECO.

Photos after the jump »

Career Wardrobe’s 5th Annual Tea & Fashion Show


Career Wardrobe’s 5th Annual Tea & Fashion Show was held Sunday afternoon at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. The annual event welcomed women from across generations to support Career Wardrobe while enjoying an afternoon spent together enjoying tea, tea sandwiches, desserts and a fashion show featuring clothes from The Wardrobe Boutique (19th and Spring Garden streets) and Revivals Boutique (Narberth).

There was also bidding on fun items in the silent auction, raffles, empowering speeches and then shopping at a pop-up boutique for fabulous fashions as well as discounted designer shoes. The Career Wardrobe has outfitted nearly 70,000 women since December 1995. They provide dressing consults, resumé review and interview coaching, as well as lessons in beauty basics to women trying to get back into the workforce.

Photos after the jump »

aspireLIFE’s JAM 2015 for the American Cancer Society


On Saturday night at the Palomar Hotel, aspireLIFE’s 6th annual party, JAM 2015, took place. Nearly 300 people packed the top two floors of the Kimpton hotel where its ballrooms are, as they enjoyed light bites, specialty cocktails, bought raffle tickets by the arm length, and danced into the wee hours of the night.

Hosting the evening was George Azar, co-founder of JAM. He is a 15-year survivor of cancer who wanted to find a way to give back, and thus created this event with John Frederick and Brie and Justin Bernstein. Proceeds from the evening went to the America Cancer Society.

Photos after the jump »

Hope Gala at the Crystal Tea Room

Shawn Standen, Stephanie Lee, Thomas McCann and Megan Yarnall

Shawn Standen, Stephanie Lee, Thomas McCann and Megan Yarnall.

On Saturday, Devereux — a leading national nonprofit behavioral healthcare organization — hosted its annual Hope Gala at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia with the theme “Into the Woods,” making a mystical Halloween evening.

The event was a masquerade black tie ball, but if you didn’t have a mask you could have it painted on by Cait’s Faces, and many people did. Proceeds from the Hope Gala benefits Devereux’s programs which serve more than 3,500 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and behavioral health challenges in southeastern Pennsylvania. The black-tie event included a cocktail reception and a sit-down, buffet dinner by the Finley Catering. After dinner the young friends of Devereux enjoyed an “Enchanted Forrest” afterparty with DJ Jasmine Chess. The gala’s decorations were amazing, with trees, weeping willows and the most magnificent table decorations by Hoffman Design Group, Inc.

Photos after the jump »

Blitz, Bowties, & Bourbon

Emily Hassinger, Michelle Finley, Margo Rose, and Stacey Mullen.

Emily Hassinger, Michelle Finley, Margo Rose, and Stacey Mullen.

The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation hosted the second annual Blitz, Bowties, & Bourbon fundraiser at Union Trust last night. Guests enjoyed local cuisine from Finley Catering, Sbraga, Bank & Bourbon, Palladino’s, The Farm and The Fisherman, Le Castagne, Capital Grille, Roman Restaurant Group, and Tradestone Confections.

Money from the fundraiser goes to expanding the foundation’s youth programming in Philadelphia. Current initiatives focused on the health, safety, and well-being of the city’s young people include “Get Ready Fest: Feeding Philadelphia” and the “No PHLY Zone Challenge,” dedicated to educating youth athletes and their families on health and safety issues through the foundation’s Youth Sports Safety Initiative.

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 »

Eat, Drink, Dance and Cure Cancer

Peter Dilsheimer and Madison Alig with Jaclyn Osterstock and Derek Jameson

Peter Dilsheimer and Madison Alig, with Jaclyn Osterstock and Derek Jameson.

The Wistar Ambassadors hosted Eat, Drink, Dance and Cure Cancer last Friday night at Loews Hotel on the 33rd floor. The Wistar Ambassadors are a group of young residents of the Philadelphia region, between the ages of 25 and 40 years old, who want to learn more about the bold new advances in cancer research at The Wistar Institute — and find new ways of raising local and national awareness of these efforts.

There were several scientists on hand, easily recognized in their lab coats, to chat about the latest research Wistar. Guests enjoyed light bites, bid on silent auction items such as trips, clothing and other experiences, and danced to the tunes of Dj Adrian Hardy. This Friday, Wistar Institute honors Dr. Russel E. Kaufman for his contributions as President and CEO of The Wistar Institute for the last 12 years.

Photos after the jump »

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