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The 2014 Leadership Council Celebration Dinner

 Our Leadership Council Celebration Dinner on April 8th, 2014 raised an unprecedented $2M!

On Tuesday, April 8th, 2014, Graham Windham honored Edward Skyler, Citi’s Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs, at our annual Leadership Council Celebration Dinner at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our Chairman of the Board Georgia Wall and Board Members Fran Eigendorff, André Koester, Heather McVeigh, Jennifer Mackesy, and Jennifer Russo served as co-chairs of the event that was generously underwritten by members of The Leadership Council.

Thanks to the incredibly generous support of our wonderful donors, our Leadership Council Celebration Dinner, raised an unprecedented $2M to support our children and families!

The celebration dinner began with a reception in The Great Hall showcasing the positive work we are doing with our youth from our Harlem Beacon After-school Center and featured a demonstration by our award winning robotics club, “The Mighty Medabots.”

Our renowned Vintage Quality Dance Crew then premiered a celebratory dance piece inspired by The Temple of Dendur. Adorned in Egyptian-themed costumes, the dance crew performed a medley to a musical compilation of African drums, “The Circle of Life” from “The Lion King,” Michael Jackson’s Egyptian-themed “Remember the Time,” all culminating with the inspiring “I Believe.”

Click here to View Vintage Quality’s amazing performance!

A gala dinner and special program followed in the spectacular setting of the Temple of Dendur. Chairman Georgia Wall announced the establishment of The Andrew Francis Makk Youth Opportunity Scholarship in memory of dedicated and compassionate Board Member, Andrew Makk, and introduced the five inaugural winners.

One of the scholarship recipients, LaTanya Smitherman gave a moving speech stating, “My life’s journey has taught me that if you have a network of caring and committed adults you can overcome any obstacle. I also learned that challenges are part of life and the ones we overcome help us build character. I now know that if I had not tackled the obstacles presented to me by the foster care system, I would not be strong enough to share my story with you tonight. I am no longer afraid of failing and am determined to accomplishments great things and contribute to society. I would like to thank Gloria, Danielle, Danae and all of the difference makers at Graham Windham for their love and support. And a very special thanks to all of you in the audience for being here to share my story, and celebrate Graham Windham.”

Our President and CEO, Jess Dannhauser, stated, “Graham Windham enters the lives of the children and families it serves in their toughest hour, when all can feel hopeless. We restore hope by teaching and supporting families as they heal and grow stronger, and we change the odds by sticking with their children into adulthood, providing them the preparation and opportunities they need to reach their fullest potential. We are able do all of this because of our incredible supporters. We are especially grateful for our long-term partnership with Citi and for Ed Skyler’s incredible generosity this year, raising over $400 thousand dollars and propelling us to our $2M goal. These resources will help us bring opportunity where it is needed most and change the lives of thousands of children and their families.”

Jess Dannhauser then presented Ed Skyler with the Champion for New York City’s Children Award in recognition of his significant contributions to improving the lives of New York City’s children. Upon accepting the award, Skyler stated: “Organizations like Graham Windham provide essential support to New York City children who may not otherwise have access to the opportunities to achieve what they are capable of.” “Citi and Graham Windham share a mission and a 200-year history of strengthening communities. It’s an honor to be recognized by an organization which is so dedicated to improving the lives of New York City’s children.”

Click to read the New York Nonprofit Press and The New York Time’s Evening Hours.  

The 2013 Leadership Council Celebration Dinner

The Leadership Council Celebration Dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Tuesday, April 23rd, was an incredible success!  This special evening, benefiting the children and families we serve, was a night to celebrate all that we have achieved with the help of friends like you, and to share our vision for go even further in the years to come.  Guests enjoyed docent-led tours through the Greek and Roman galleries, cocktails in The Great Hall of the museum, dinner in the breathtaking Temple of Dendur area, and inspiring words from Anais and Brian, two of the young adults whom we have helped to succeed in life despite the obstacles they faced.  Georgia Wall, Chairman of the Board, and Jess Dannhauser, President & CEO shared their reflections on our work and Graham Windham’s focus for the future. 


We also debuted our newest video, featuring Anais, Brian, and others whose lives we have worked to change:

On behalf of Chairman Georgia Wall and Board Members Fran Eigendorff, André Koester, Heather McVeigh, Jennifer Mackesy, and Jennifer Russo, and most important of all, the more than 4,500 children and families we serve each year, we thank everyone who helped to make our Leadership Council Celebration Dinner an unforgettable evening!


The Temple of Dendur served as the backdrop for the event



College grad Anais (left) gave a wonderful speech about what she has achieved in life with the help of Graham Windham and her foster mother, Carla (right), who is now foster mother to Princeton (middle)



Brian delivers his speech, with words of advice to other youth in foster care — to never give up.



Guests enjoyed dinner in the Temple of Dendur…with cherry blossoms ablaze!



We showed our newest video, showcasing our work, on the wall of the Met. Quite a debut!



Anais captivates the audience with her story of overcoming obstacles to become a successful young woman



Thank you to everyone who made this night at the museum a night to remember!


With Special Thanks to Our Generous Corporate Sponsors 


     ADCO Electrical Corp       






Clayton Dubilier and Rice







Role Model





Each spring The Leadership Council hosts a celebration dinner to thank the many friends who make our work possible and to raise awareness and support for our innovative programs that help our families and children overcome their challenges and succeed in life. Learn more about the Leadership Council


11/2013 Aligning Federal Financing of Child Welfare to Support Better Outcomes for New York: The Urgent Need for Reform


There is an increasing disconnect between what we know works best to strengthen children and families and the programming that federal child welfare dollars support. While federal policy acknowledges that the smart investment is to intervene earlier and keep children safely with their families, the Title IV-E Foster Care Program – the largest dedicated source of federal funding for child welfare – fails to provide funding for prevention programs, services supporting family reunification, and after care services. New York is one of nearly two dozen states across the country that have received a Title IV-E Waiver, allowing states to test whether federal IV-E dollars can be used more flexibly to achieve improved outcomes. While this is an important development, waivers do not represent comprehensive finance reform of the IV-E program.  Graham Windham, Casey Family Programs, Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA), Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York and City Bar Association Council on Children recently organized a thought provoking educational forum at New York Law School’ s Diane Abbey Law Center for Children and Families for over 100 local leaders in child welfare entitled “Aligning Federal Financing of Child Welfare to Support Better Outcomes for New York: The Urgent Need for Reform.”

CLICK HERE to view more photos from the forum.




The 2012 Leadership Council Celebration Dinner

   A Tribute to Difference Makers 


On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, over 400 of Graham Windham’s friends gathered at the Museum of Modern Art for a celebration of difference makers – those who make a lasting change in the lives of others.

Co-chaired by Graham Windham’s Board Chair Georgia Wall and Board Members Jennifer Mackesy and Heather McVeigh and underwritten by The Leadership Council, the dinner raised over $1.3M to support our mission to “provide each child with a safe, permanent, loving family and the opportunity to succeed in school and life.”

Our evening’s Honoree was our very own CEO Poul Jensen in recognition of his more than 15 years of transformative leadership at the helm of Graham Windham and in the field of child welfare. After a moving tribute, our Chairman presented him the Children’s Champion award for his outstanding service to the children and families of New York City.


Poul with the event’s Honorary Co-Chairs (from left) Jennifer Mackesy, Trustee; Georgia Wall, Chairman of the Board; and Heather McVeigh, Trustee


Poul addresses the many friends of Graham Windham as he accepts the “Children’s Champion” award


We were joined by special guest speaker Wes Moore, a youth advocate, war veteran, Rhodes Scholar and White House Fellow, and author of the bestselling The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates. Wes brought the audience to its feet with his compelling and compassionately told story of another man with his name who grew up under similar circumstances, but whose life took a very different turn from that of Wes. He shared his reflections on what made a difference in his life, inspiring and empowering all of us to be difference makers in the lives of others.


Wes Moore with Thomas Haines, PhD, a renowned biochemist at Rockefeller University and an alumnus of The Graham School, and Charmane Wong, our Vice President for Early Childhood Services & Human Resources


In the Press

New York Times

New York Nonprofit Press


Thank You for Making a Difference!

This spectacular event was generously underwritten by The Leadership Council, a group of distinguished leaders in the philanthropic and business worlds committed to shaping and securing Graham Windham’s future for our third century of service.

It is with overwhelming gratitude that we thank The Leadership Council and all of the difference makers who joined us on this very special evening to pay tribute to Poul’s leadership and to support our efforts to effect change not just in individual lives, but in the course of family histories across our City.


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