New York City Mission Society “Champions for Children” Benefit


The New York City Mission Society held another successful Champions for Children Gala on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 to support educational programs and supportive services that help youth and families in New York City’s underserved communities. The Gala, attended by more than 330 people, was held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel overlooking Central Park.

Mannie Jackson, President, Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities Foundation, Elsie McCabe Thompson, President, New York City Mission Society, LTC Francis W. Kairson, Jr., Ret., Director Emeritus, New York City Mission Society, Cathy Hughes, Founder and Chairperson, Urban One, Inc. (Photo Credit: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Attendees enjoyed wonderful music and dance performances , and WABC News Anchor Bill Ritter, a longtime supporter of the Mission Society, emceed the event. C. Hugh Hildesley, Vice Chairman of Sotheby’s, served as auctioneer. Alex Donner and his Orchestra and students from Mission’ Society’s free afterschool GRIOT music program performed.


Bill Ritter – Annie Watt Photography


“We are celebrating those who have been committed to empowering others to achieve their dreams. They embody a profound commitment to make the world a better place, one full of promise and of opportunity, particularly for our younger generations.” said Mission Society President Elsie McCabe Thompson.

Cathy Hughes, Founder and Chairperson of Urban One, Inc.  received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her myriad and accomplishments in media.

Mannie Jackson, 2017 Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer and President, Mannie Jackson for the Humanities Foundation, received the Dina Merrill Hartley Public Service Award, named after the longtime actor and philanthropist whose family has supported the Mission Society for generations.

Award was also presented to LTC Francis W. Kairson, Jr., Ret., Director Emeritus, of the Mission Society; BNY Mellon; and, International Flavors & Fragrances.


Stanley Rumbough, Jean Shafiroff, Elsie McCabe Thompson, Katrina Peebles 2018 Champions for Children Gala – NYC Mission Society Mandarin Oriental New York, New York, NY Patrick McMullan
Photo – Sylvain Gaboury/PMC


Reflecting on the Mission Society’s storied history, Ms. McCabe Thompson spoke about the organization’s increased focus on education through initiatives such as Learning to Work, the free afterschool music program GRIOT, and the summer and afterschool program, Power Academy, and its plans to provide even more opportunities in the future.

“From our earliest days, we have provided access to services. We have created programs that have benefited people who needed a chance, but who didn’t always see a light at the end of their tunnel. For 206 years we have opened doors, we have changed lived, and we have brought out the best in those we served individuals who had ability, but often came to us without the skills or self-confidence to realize their full potential.”


Gala Champions were:

International Flavors & Fragrances; Katrina & Don Peebles, Leah & Stanley Rumbough and Jean & Martin Shafiroff.

Visionaries are:

BNY Mellon; Fiona & Stanley Druckenmiller; and, Yemi & Patrick Vatel. Advocates are: Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’ MacFarlane Partners; and, Stifel Financial Corporation.

This year’s Gala Co-Chairs were:

Katrina & Don Peebles, Leah & Stanley H. Rumbough, and Jean & Martin Shafiroff.


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