The pounding rhythms of a brightly clad drum circle welcomed guests to Cipriani 42nd Street on June 20 for The Nature Conservancy’s Global Gala, setting the stage for a vibrant evening of celebration.
The summer heat was no deterrent for the more than 600 Conservancy supporters who attended the Gala. Together, they raised an impressive $2.72 million for the Conservancy’s work around the world.
The evening’s festivities began with a cocktail reception, with Cipriani’s high ceilings and historic touches providing an elegant backdrop for guests to mingle.
As dinnertime drew close, the drummers joined modern dancers inside Cipriani to beckon guests toward their tables. The acclaimed Young People’s Chorus of New York City entertained the crowd with a hopeful, uplifting performance.
Meredith Vieira, the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, welcomed guests from the stage and shared that the Conservancy’s mission was close to her heart. “Maybe it’s because I’m a mom and I look at my kids and I want them to inherit a better world and learn to appreciate the natural wonders,” she said. “And if we don’t work together that’s all going to go away.”
Mark Tercek spoke to the group about the people and work that give him hope and optimism, and challenged everyone to think about the leadership role they can play. "One reason I love working at the Conservancy is that we are an optimistic organization. We come to work every day, we roll up our sleeves, we work on our projects, and we are very good at getting things done. But the challenges we face are great; we need to take our efforts and our mission to a whole new level. To do so is going to take leadership."
After a multi-course dinner that featured sustainably raised, miso-glazed cod, Teresa Beck and Steve Denning (Co-Chairs, Board of Directors) introduced the honorees of the evening:
The Conservancy is working with Dow on a breakthrough collaboration to help Dow and the business community recognize, value and incorporate nature into business.
"Who would have thought, even ten years ago, a conservation NGO would be holding up a chemical company as an example of leadership in protecting nature,” said Dow CEO Andrew Liveris. “It goes to show just how far both of our sectors have come in understanding how much we really need each other, and what great progress we can make together.”
Wilson, the famed Wall Street investor, kept the Gala guests entertained with a candid account of how he got involved with the Conservancy, and why he decided to give away 70 percent of his net worth before he dies.
Wilson’s visionary philanthropy was instrumental to the Conservancy becoming the truly global organization it is today. The cumulative impact of his philanthropy at the Conservancy is an astounding $286 million.
"Bob is a man who stepped up, and took global conservation at the Conservancy to a whole new level," said Mark Tercek. "He made up his mind to make a difference."
The Conservancy is grateful to all of the donors who helped make the Global Gala a great success, and want to acknowledge the generous support of the Gala’s Leadership donors:
|James Attwood and Leslie William||The Dow Chemical Company|
|David Blood and Beth Bisso||Joseph and Carson Gleberman|
|Daniel C. Chung and Alexandra D. Alger |
Fred Alger Management, Inc.
|Jack Ma |
|Dona and Gordon Crawford||Craig and Susan McCaw|
|Roberta and Steve Denning||Meg Whitman|