The Red Cross benefit at the Plaza Hotel helped raise $1.6 million for an excellent cause.


NEW YORK - When disaster strikes, the Red Cross is there.  Fires, floods, building and crane collapses, power outages; every conceivable form of crisis brings them to the site, often ahead of other responders, offering assistance, a safe place to stay, food, clothing and emotional support.  The Red Cross is a true friend in need.

On June 13, 500 friends of the Greater New York region gathered at the Plaza Hotel to celebrate a year of helping 16,000 New Yorkers through their individual crises.  We heard from Felicia Mitchell, Randall Cain, and Franklin Morose, each of whom had received help. Their gratitude was heartwarming and enduring, and they were giving back by encouraging those present to fund the Red Cross’ vital services.  Niki Taylor, the international model and lifestyle reporter, spoke of owing her very life to the Red Cross blood transfusions she received following a near-fatal automobile accident.

Red Cross' regional C.E.O Josh Lockwood enjoys the performance of Kym Johnson and Tristan McManus of Dancing with the Stars.

The program started with an explosive dance performance by Kym Johnson and Tristan McManus, professional performers from Dancing with the Stars.  They did things with their bodies that should not be attempted at home.  Inspired by this, several award recipients replaced the usual, lengthy acceptance speeches, with dance performances of their own.  Honoree Simon Ruddick, of Albourne Partners Limited, and his wife, Sue, gave us an elegant version of the Cha-Cha, a surprising and welcome addendum to his hedge fund skills.

Kym Johnson and Tristan McManus perform at the Red Cross benefit at the Plaza Hotel.

The reverse auction, clearly inspired by the gracious endorsements and spirited dancing on stage, added $240,000 to the evening’s total of  $1.6 million, ensuring that the Red Cross can be there when the next, unexpected disaster strikes.