NEW YORK (November 30, 2011) — The 2011 UNICEF Snowflake Ball, held on Tuesday, November 29 at Cipriani 42nd Street honored Prudential and the Japan Committee for UNICEF for their commitment to saving and improving children's lives. The seventh annual black-tie gala, which raised more than $2,044,000 for UNICEF's lifesaving programs, was hosted by Andy Cohen and featured a special performance by Natasha Bedingfield. Sharon C. Taylor, Senior Vice President, Prudential Financial, Inc., and Chair, the Prudential Foundation, was presented with UNICEF's Spirit of Compassion Award for Prudential’s support of quality education programs and economic and civic development opportunities for children and families around the world.
"On behalf of Prudential and its 40,000 employees worldwide, I am deeply honored to accept the UNICEF Spirit of Compassion Award," said Taylor. "The results of our five year partnership with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF have been outstanding. Whether we are collaborating to broaden access to public education in Mexico or providing disaster relief in Haiti and Pakistan, we have been delighted to observe the dramatic difference UNICEF makes in the lives of children and their families."
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF presented the 2011 Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award to the Japan Committee for UNICEF's Executive Director, Ken Hayami. Hayami accepted the award — which is named for UNICEF's legendary Goodwill Ambassador — on behalf of all the UNICEF staff members who quickly and fearlessly responded to the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan earlier this year. The Japan Committee for UNICEF worked tirelessly to help thousands of children and families whose homes, schools and communities were destroyed.
"The East Japan earthquake and tsunami was one of the most severe natural disasters that Japan has ever experienced," said Hayami. "Always it is children who are the most vulnerable in disasters, regardless of whether they live in a developing country or an industrialized country like Japan. We are truly grateful to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF for providing us with the greatest financial support during this difficult time, allowing us to continue our aid work and rebuilding efforts for children in the affected area."
"I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Prudential and my dear colleagues at the Japan Committee for UNICEF," said U.S. Fund for UNICEF President and CEO, Caryl Stern. "UNICEF's mission truly encompasses every child on this earth, regardless of politics, religion or race, and it is the dedication shown by these honorees, and the generosity of our donors, that make the work of UNICEF possible."
The 2011 Snowflake Ball featured unique décor by HGTV star, award-winning architectural and interior designer Vern Yip, including half a mile of mosquito netting donated to the event by Vestergaard-Frandsen. The UNICEF Ambassador’s design represented the impact that the simple material has in combating mosquito-borne malaria in Africa — the predominant killer of African children — and reducing the number of children who die from preventable causes every day from 21,000 to zero.
The evening’s menu was specially created by UNICEF Ambassador Marcus Samuelsson and acclaimed Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, in addition to a live auction led by Hugh Hildesley of Sotheby’s. Notable auction items included a private dinner prepared by Marcus Samuelsson, and the opportunity to participate in a UNICEF Field visit to see firsthand the efforts of the K.I.N.D. (Kids in Need of Desks) project in Malawi — where 80 percent of children attend school in a classroom without furniture. The field visit also includes a pre-trip briefing with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, who was inspired to work with UNICEF to create the K.I.N.D. project following a visit he made to Malawi.
Many UNICEF supporters attended the gala, including Natasha Bedingfield, Vera Farmiga, Angie Harmon, Kevin Jonas, Gayle King, Zoe Kravitz, Matt Lauer, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mark Ruffalo, Marcus Samuelsson, Gillian Hearst Simonds, Uma Thurman, Brian Williams, Vern Yip, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jeff and Caryn Zucker, among others.
Christine Stonbely of the Stonbely Family Foundation served as Gala Chair of the evening. Town & Country Editor–at–Large Pamela Fiori and internationally recognized interior designer Charlotte Moss co-chaired the evening, with Barbara Bush and Maggie Betts serving as Gala Junior Chairs.
The hoisting of the UNICEF Snowflake — which hangs over the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in New York City through autumn and winter — marks the beginning of the holiday giving season and serves as a reminder of UNICEF's commitment to reach a day when zero children die from preventable causes. The UNICEF Snowflake, donated by the Stonbely Family Foundation, was engineered and entirely handcrafted by designer Ingo Maurer and his team in Germany and is 23 feet in diameter, over 28 feet in height, weighs more than 3,300 pounds and uses 16,000 Baccarat crystal prisms.
For more information on the 2011 UNICEF Snowflake Ball, please visit http://snowflake.unicefusa.org/snowflake-ball/.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian aid organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health and immunizations, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency and disaster relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.
UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from 13 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. But still, 21,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood.
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