ACE Celebrates 20 Years at 2012 Gala

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.

ACE-Ing NYC’s Small Business Services Evaluation

NYC’s Department of Small Business Services issued its annual performance evaluation and well, we ACEd it.  The City’s new Vendor Information and Exchange System, which assesses local contracts, currently covers 5 main areas: human services, construction, professional services, standard services, and goods. ACE received excellent marks in all the applicable areas, so kudos to our dedicated street cleaning crews and their supervisors.

ACE Visits Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

ACE visits Ripley's Believe It or Not!

ACE’s programming department hosted a fun-filled night at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium in Times Square last week, as part of Project Stay’s aftercare curriculum.  Our group of 61 clients, staff and graduates roamed the halls of Ripley’s famous “Gallery of Bizarre, Amazing & Rare Treasures from Around the World,” including a huge collection of shrunken heads and a 3,000+ lb. meteorite.  Project Stay field trips like this one help graduates stay connected to ACE, to the community and to each other.  A good (and weird) time was had by all; thanks again to all the organizers and attendees!


This week in Project Comeback

Hello all, I’m John Ellert. I’m the Intake and Case Management Coordinator at ACE and I thought I’d take this opportunity to show you some of the blood and guts of our program’s daily operations.

Most of our clients come to us from shelters, transitional housing, and outpatient rehabilitation centers. To complete the Project Comeback application process, each incoming consumer (we use this industry term often in the place of “client” because it gives the individual the credit and agency he or she deserves for choosing to complete our challenging program) must be referred by a Case Manager and must have been clean and sober for at least 30 days.

In the last month, 58 consumers applied to Project Comeback. 24 (or 48%) of those applicants were accepted and started the program. We have a total of 50 men and women on our street sweeping crew as of July 9th.

A participant’s journey through Project Comeback begins in my office, with the intake process, and concludes when they have completed the program and found a full time job (with the assistance of our incredibly hardworking Job Developer, Harvey Semler). In the intervening four to six months, there are a series of milestones and pre-vocational tasks that must be completed.

We recently initiated a new program structure, devised to better assist these men and women to reach their ultimate goal of finding full-time employment. This structure consists of four phases, culminating in graduation. We are pleased to announce that 20 of our program participants will be graduating at our upcoming ceremony on Friday, July 16th.