The Leadership Council
On Thursday, May 12th, 2016, 400 members of the Graham community gathered at the Museum of Modern Art for a dinner to benefit our kids and families and to honor Pulitzer Prize-Winning author of The New York Times bestseller “Alexander Hamilton,” Ron Chernow, Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning Composer, Lyricist and Actor Lin-Manuel Miranda and Lucille Lortel Award-Winning Actor and Singer Phillipa Soo who portray Alexander and Eliza Hamilton in the smash Broadway Musical Sensation “Hamilton.”
The celebration dinner began with a reception showcasing the transformative work we are doing with members of our Graham School Bengals peer leadership group and scholars from our Graham SLAM program that helps young people successfully complete high school and post-secondary education and training, and enter a living-wage career path. Our Chairman Georgia Wall spoke about the life changing difference members of the Graham community are making in the lives of our kids and introduced this year’s student speaker Tamaine Hamilton who thanked the dedicated staff at Graham for making a difference in his life and for helping him achieve his educational and career goals: “Thank you for being here tonight to carry on Eliza’s legacy and to listen to my story. Let’s work together to help this agency continue to help many others for many years to come.”
Jess Dannhauser, our President & CEO shared his reflections on our work and our focus for the future: “We know that you don’t solve a lifetime of instability and trauma with short-term solutions that cut ties with kids and families as soon as they make progress. Instead, we — you– are investing for the long haul with the Graham SLAM program that coaches our kids all the way to the age of 25 and into living wage careers. We’re doing the same for our families. Families who graduate from our services continue to thrive with over 95% of them remaining safe and intact a year after they graduate from our programs. Our Forever Families initiative is making sure our parents have the ongoing social support all of us rely on.” Jess recognized Lin-Manuel Miranda, Phillipa Soo, and Morgan Marcell by honoring them with the Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton Legacy Award for their generosity and enduring commitment to our kids and families and for continuing the legacy of our founder Eliza Hamilton. Lin-Manuel and Phillipa were not able to accept the awards in person but recorded a video thanking those in attendance for their continued support of Graham Windham vowing to continue to tell Eliza’s story.
Jess went on to recognize Luis A. Miranda, Jr. with the Eliza Schuyler Hamilton Legacy Award for his ongoing commitment to improving the lives of our kids and families: “Luis has opened people’s hearts to support our kids. He is a Graham Angel.”
We also honored Ron Chernow, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author of “Alexander Hamilton,” the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical. During his remarks, Chernow stated: “I’m so deeply touched by this honor and so delighted to be here with you tonight to celebrate Eliza’s proudest achievement, the first private orphanage in New York City, today’s Graham Windham.”
It is with overwhelming gratitude that we thank The Leadership Council and all of the members of the Graham Windham community who joined us on this very special evening to support our efforts to effect change not just in individual lives, but in the course of family histories across our City.
Special thanks to our Honorary Chairs Georgia Wall and Don Gogel, Chairs Celia Felsher and John Cecil, CITI, Jennifer and Scott Mackesy, and Co-Chairs André and Michael Koester, Melissa McKeithen, Heather and Brian McVeigh, Carmen and Anthony Paolercio, Jennifer and Jim Russo for helping raise $2.1M for our events so far this year that support our mission to provide each child we serve with a safe, permanent, loving family and the opportunity to succeed in school and life.
About The Leadership Council
In celebration of Graham Windham’s historic Bicentennial Anniversary in 2006, the Board of Directors established The Leadership Council to further Graham Windham’s vital mission of caring for New York City’s most vulnerable children and families. The Leadership Council is comprised of distinguished leaders in the philanthropic and business worlds, who are committed to shaping and securing Graham Windham’s future for its third century of service. In return for their magnificent generosity, members of The Leadership Council receive exclusive annual benefits listed below including tickets to our annual celebration dinner.