Last night, ACE celebrated 20 years of empowering the homeless and improving communities with a star-studded gala at world famous auction house Sotheby’s. The evening began with a display of photographs from the collection of ACE founder Henry Buhl, which will be auctioned at Sotheby’s in December. Emcee and Good Day NY co-host Rosanna Scotto and socialite Tinsley Mortimer were among the guests who sipped cocktails and browsed through ACE’s silent auction items.
The main dining area was decorated to resemble the streets of downtown NYC – paper traffic lights hung from the ceilings, table numbers were replaced with street signs and images of gridlocked taxis were projected on the walls. Rosanna Scotto kicked off the festivities by introducing opera singer Jessye Norman, who wowed with her rendition of God Bless America, followed by a hilarious performance from comedian Stewie Stone. Awards were presented to Ms. Norman, Russell Simmons and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Retail. Additional honorees included longtime ACE supporters Tony Goldman, Denise Rich, Steven Tanger and Cynthia Wainwright.
ACE founder Henry Buhl and ACE Executive Director Jim Martin both delivered inspiring speeches highlighting the progress of the program over its 20 year history. Jim then introduced, 2010 ACE graduate Danny W. Danny spoke of his 30-year struggle with addiction and detailed how he finally bottomed out in 2007. After hitting rock bottom, he worked to overcome his drug problem, found his way to ACE in 2010 and became one of our sweetest success stories. Today Danny is clean and sober and has been gainfully employed for almost 3 years. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Danny left the stage.
Sotheby’s auctioneer Jamie Niven then took the stage for the ACE live auction, with some help from longtime ACE supporter Countess Luann de Lesseps from The Real Housewives of New York City (see photo at the right, of the Countess and ACE Founder Henry Buhl). Items included a diamond watch from Tiret, two tickets to the Owners Suite at Yankee Stadium, a weeklong stay at the luxurious Tryall Club in Jamaica and the grand prize, a 2012 Chevy Equinox SUV. The crowd generously opened their hearts and wallets, contributing more than $87,000!
ACE would like to thank all of the evening’s attendees and contributors for making our 2012 gala a night to remember. Our 20th anniversary celebration doesn’t end there – over the next few months, we will be spotlighting great moments in ACE history on our website and social media sites. Be sure to keep checking our Facebook (ACEprograms) and Twitter (@ACEnewyork) pages for more information.