You still can pledge to this year’s gala by texting your donation to 646-762-0665! Thank you for your support.

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On the evening of Monday, April 8, 2019, The Child Center of NY held its Annual Gala at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers. More than 400 guests joined us as we celebrated 66 years of service to some of New York City’s most underprivileged children and families — and the success we have had in assisting those children to reach their full potential in life, regardless of the hurdles they face each day.

Thank you to all those who supported the gala this year, making it possible for us to continue bringing behavioral health, early childhood education, child abuse prevention, health homes, and youth development programs to 35,000 children and families each year in even the toughest NYC neighborhoods.

Hosted by
Lidia Bastianich
Chef, Emmy Award-winning public television host, best-selling cookbook author, and successful restaurateur

Jennifer Milacci
Managing Director and Head of Client Service at Renaissance Institutional Management


Community Partner Honoree
Michael J. Dowling
President and Chief Executive Officer, Northwell Health

Innovation Leadership Award
Omolara Thomas Uwemedimo MD, MPH
Co-Director, Community Health and Social Medicine Initiatives, Office of Academic Affairs, Northwell Health

Russell L. Carson Visionary Award
Saran Shields
Senior Program Director and AMHS Community School Director

The Russell L. Carson Visionary Award was established in 2015 to recognize employees and supporters who perform above and beyond expectations, initiate creative solutions despite limited resources, and demonstrate entrepreneurship in increasing the accessibility to services and opportunities for children and families. Past winners of this prestigious award are Kay Howard, Tanya Krien, Elisa Pimentel, and Omar Kazi. The award is named for Russell Carson, whose steadfast and generous support has played an instrumental role in advancing the Child Center mission.


Annual Gala

April 8, 2019

The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers
Pier 61
New York, NY 10011

6:30 p.m. Cocktails/7:30 p.m. Dinner
Festive Attire

About Us: Agency Video 2019



Angel Sponsor
Altman Kazickas Foundation Patricia & Richard Jay

Champion Sponsors
Amy Rappaport & Garrett D'Alessandro

Benefactor Sponsors
Greenberg Traurig, LLP Jennifer Milacci & Marc Scher

Mentor Sponsors
Benjamin & Anne Bahr Kimberly & Glen Davis Flushing Bank Jackson Lewis, P.C. Lidia Matticchio Bastianich Foundation Loeb & Loeb The Nicolosi Law Firm, P.C. David & Aliana Spungen TD Bank

Friend Sponsors
Katie & Jim Brennan Barbara Deli, M.D. & Neeraj Bewtra Farrell Fritz, P.C. HealthFirst AnneMarie & Diane Macari Barbara & Conner Mulvee Gelvina Rodriguez Stevenson Nell & Adam Schwartz Techworks Consulting Inc. Wellcare

Community Sponsors
Beacon Health Options Manju & Narindra Bewtra Cynthia & Matthew Haiken Robert Jesurum & Christine Petrucci Park Sutton Advisors, LLC Jennifer & Gregory Shufro Mel & Joan Sokotch Sterling National Bank Leo Swergold

VIP Sponsors
E&L Petracca Eric Altman Joseph McAraw Kevin McGovern Jay Nadel Jennifer & Filip Olechowski PKF O'Connor Davies, LLP David Ruttenberg The Driscoll Group Waldner's Business Environments

Sponsors as of March 8, 2019


Special Performances by

James Snyder
Broadway, Film, and TV Actor

Jessica Fontana
Broadway Actor, Singer and Writer

Child Center Youth Development Programs


Gala Committee

Jessica Fontana, Co-Chair
Pat Jay, Co-Chair
Katie Brennan
Anna Quintana
Gelvina Rodriguez Stevenson
Sher Sparano




Table Sponsorships (SOLD OUT)

Please note that ticket availability is extremely limited. To inquire about attending this year’s gala, please email

Angel Sponsor $100,000

  • Exclusive VIP seating for 20
  • Company logo prominently displayed, signage, and promotional materials, including Platinum Page virtual journal ad
  • Acknowledgement as sponsor

Champion Sponsor $50,000

  • Premium seating for 10
  • Prominent logo on signage
  • Gold page virtual journal ad
  • Acknowledgement as sponsor

Benefactor Sponsor $25,000

  • Preferred seating for 10
  • Silver page journal ad
  • Acknowledgement as sponsor

Mentor Sponsor $10,000

  • Reserved seating for 10
  • Full page virtual journal ad

Friend Sponsor $7,500

  • Reserved seating for 10
  • Listing in the virtual journal

Underwriting Opportunities

Text to Make a Difference $10,000

  • Help us make a difference in the lives of our clients by underwriting our text-based giving platform

Gala Entertainment $7,500

  • Sponsor our evening’s star entertainment

Keep Interacting $7,500

  • Help us educate our gala guests about all that Child Center does by underwriting interactive centerpieces

Rising Stars $5,000

  • Support the gala performance of a Child Center
    musical or theatrical group

Sponsor a Client at the Gala $2,500

  • Support the gala attendance of a Child Center client

Sponsor a Staff Member at the Gala $375

  • Support the gala attendance of a Child Center staff


VIP Ticket $1,000 (SOLD OUT)

  • Preferred seating
  • Listing in the virtual journal

Virtual Journal

  • Platinum Page at $5,000
  • Gold Page at $4,000
  • Silver Page at $2,500
  • Full Page at $1,000
  • Half Page at $600


I/We cannot attend, but would like to contribute.

Take a look at our list of generous
supporters who helped make the 2018 gala a success,
benefitting children and families in need.

View 2018 Supporters

Lidia Bastianich

Lidia is an Emmy award-winning public television host, a best‐selling cookbook author with a dozen books published to date, a successful restaurateur, and owner of a flourishing food and entertainment business. Most importantly, Lidia has accomplished all of this by marrying her two passions in life – her family and food, to create multiple culinary endeavors alongside her two children, Joseph and Tanya.

Lidia's cookbooks, co-authored with her daughter Tanya, include Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian, Lidia's Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine, Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking, Lidia's Favorite Recipes, Lidia's Italy in America, Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy, and Lidia's Italy—all companion books to the Emmy winning and four-time nominated television series Lidia's Kitchen, Lidia's Italy in America and Lidia's Italy. Lidia's most recent book is her memoir: My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family, and Food, which was released on April 3, 2018.

Lidia is the owner/co-owner of four acclaimed New York City restaurants ‐ Felidia, Becco, Esca and Del Posto, as well as Lidia's Pittsburgh and Lidia's Kansas City along with her daughter Tanya. She is also a partner in Eataly NYC, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Sao Paolo, Brazil. Together with Tanya and son-in-law Corrado, Lidia also has developed a line of artisanal pastas and all-natural sauces, LIDIA'S, which are sold at fine food stores nationwide.

Lidia is a member of Les Dames D'Escoffier and founding member of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, two non-profit organizations of women leaders in the food and hospitality industries. She is also a champion for the United Nations Association of the United States of America's Adopt-A-Future program, in support of refugee education.

Jennifer Milacci

Jennifer Milacci is a Managing Director and Head of Client Service at Renaissance Institutional Management. She joined Renaissance in August 2005 and prior to that worked at Banc of America Securities, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, and Putnam Investments in Boston. Ms. Milacci received her BS from Carnegie Mellon University and her MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. She is a CFA Charterholder; board member of The Child Center of New York since 2007; a member of the CFA Institute, New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA), and Financial Women's Association of New York; and a Sustaining Angel of 100 Women in Finance.

Dr. Omolara Thomas

Dr. Omolara Thomas Uwemedimo is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Occupational Medicine, Epidemiology and Prevention at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and co-director of the Community Health and Social Medicine (CHASM) Initiative at Northwell Health. She is a social justice pediatrician, advocate, professor and researcher who is passionate about health equity for children. Over the past 15 years, she has practiced clinically as a pediatrician in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean and continues to work in New York as an outpatient pediatrician for ethnically diverse children from low-income backgrounds. As a professor, she has taught over 100 medical, public health, and law students at Hofstra University in community, immigrant, and global health.

Dr. Uwemedimo has created a wide array of innovative social medicine programs, receiving almost $2 million in grant funding. In 2013, she founded GLOhBAL (Global Learning. Optimizing health. Building Alliances Locally) at Cohen Children's Medical Center of NY. Since then, the program has provided inter-professional clinical and research training in global health for over 120 medical and public health trainees, serving over 3000 children and training 150 health professionals in Kenya and India. She is also the creator of SHAPE (Social Health Alliance to Promote Equity), a clinic-based model that provides universal screening for families for unmet social needs during healthcare visits, referrals to social services and navigation, and follow-up support. Building on this work, she received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to expand SHAPE to partner with community-based organizations to target housing insecurity in Queens and Nassau counties. Most recently, she became the pediatric director of the Hofstra-Northwell Medical Legal Partnership, a program that co-locates lawyers in clinical practices to provide pro bono poverty and housing legal services. As a researcher, she evaluates how these novel community- clinic partnerships improve child health outcomes among children in the U.S. and internationally. In 2016, she was named a Health Disparities Scholar at the NIH National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities. She is a staunch advocate for child health equity and serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Immigrant Health Special Interest Group and AAP Immigration Steering Committee and has been an invited speaker by advocacy groups, including the NY Immigration Coalition and the Center for Law and Social Policy.  

As the daughter and wife of Nigerian immigrants, her work is personal and she is inspired daily by her two daughters, Idara and Tolani, who serve as the motivation for her commitment to ensuring that all children have access to comprehensive, high-quality healthcare, regardless of color, income, language, and nativity. 

Saran Shields

Saran Shields is a senior program director at The Child Center of NY and community school director at August Martin High School. She also manages our programs at Catherine and Count Basie M.S. 72 and P.S. 197. She joined The Child Center in 2010 as a youth development specialist; within two months, she became program director at Aspirations High School, which supports over-age and under-credited students.

Saran earned her undergraduate degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and her MSW from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. When not with her students, Saran enjoys spending time with her three handsome sons, helping them grow and develop strong resiliency skills, as she does for the many children she has supported over the years.

Michael J. Dowling

Michael J. Dowling is president and chief executive officer of Northwell Health, which delivers world-class clinical care throughout the New York metropolitan area, pioneering research at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and a visionary approach to medical education highlighted by the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies.

Northwell is the largest integrated health care system in New York State with a total workforce of more than 68,000 employees — the state's largest private employer. With 23 hospitals, 6,675 hospital and long-term care beds, more than 700 outpatient physician practices and a full complement of long-term care services, Northwell is one of the nation's largest health systems, with $12 billion in annual revenue.

One of health care's most recognized executives, Mr. Dowling has received numerous awards, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, an honorary degree from Queen's University Belfast, and his selection as the Grand Marshal of the 2017 St. Patrick's Day Parade. He is past chair of the Healthcare Institute and current chair of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).

Prior to joining Northwell in 1995, Mr. Dowling served in New York State government for 12 years. He was director of health, education, and human services, commissioner of social services, deputy secretary, and a chief adviser to former Governor Mario Cuomo. Earlier, Mr. Dowling was a professor of social policy and an assistant dean of the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Services. He started his career as a caseworker in the New York City schools.

James Snyder

James Snyder is currently starring as Harry Potter in Broadway's Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and has also been seen on stage in Broadway's first a capella musical In Transit, as well as If/Then (Broadway and tour. He also received a Drama League Award nomination for the titular role in Cry-Baby and recently played Billy in Goodspeed Operahouses' production of Carousel. His additional theater credits include Fanny at New York City Center, Broadway: Three Generations at The Kennedy Center, Rock of Ages (Los Angeles, Las Vegas), Oedipus the King, Mama (Troubadour Theater Co.), Happy Days, The Fantasticks (Sacramento Music Circus), Hamlet, Sneaux, Oklahoma!, and Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes.  He has also performed with the Hartford Symphony as well as the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.

TV: The Good Wife, Rizzoli and Isles, Blue Bloods, Drop Dead Diva, CSI, Without a Trace, Cold Case, Gilmore Girls, and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, among others. Film: She's The Man, The Storyteller, An American in China, Meth Head, Shuttle, Pretty Persuasion, (Sundance Film Festival). He can also be heard as Jason on the bare:a pop opera concept album.  His solo rock album L.A. Curse is available on iTunes, spotify and He has a B.F.A. in acting from the University of Southern California.

Jessica Fontana

Jessica Fontana starred on Broadway in the title role of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. New York Theatre credits include Baby It's You on Broadway, Once Upon a Mattress with the Transport Group, Pipe Dream, and Milk and Honey by Jerry Herman at the York Theatre. She has performed in world-premiere productions across the country as well as starred in revivals of The Most Happy Fella and 110 In The Shade at Palm Beach Drama Works. Recent concert appearances include the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Birdland, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Lyrics and Lyricists at the 92nd St Y. She co-wrote and performed the opening song for the film Galileo and is the co-creator/host of "Support For This Podcast," featured in New York Magazine, now in its second season. @iamjessfontana @spptforthispodcast

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