December 12, 2012 marked the Human Services Council’s (HSC’s) 17th annual Leadership Awards Reception at 320 Park Avenue. The beautiful space was graciously provided by Mutual of America, who was also one of our honorees. Close to 250 close friends of HSC attended, helping us meet our goal to support HSC’s advocacy efforts to improve human services for New York City.
The evening began with Michael Stoller, our Executive Director, and Joel Copperman, HSC Board Chair, welcoming the attendees. The first of the awards, Friend of the Human Services Community, was to Mutual of America and accepted by Tyrone Golatt, Senior Field Vice President. After a lovely thank you speech from Tyrone, Michael led the room in a moment of silence in memory of Jon Kest, New York Communities for Change Executive Director, who recently passed away and whose loss resonated soundly within the sector.
On a happier note, Alan B. Siskind, HSC’s former Chair, presented the Leaders of Influence Award to Rob Carmona, Fatima Goldman, and Jane Velez. Speaking on behalf of the other Leaders as well as himself, Mr. Carmona spoke highly of those in attendance and how they had “grown up together in this business.” We thank these leaders for their dedication and tremendous contributions to the sector. Afterwards, Rob Carmona presented the Next Generation Leadership Award to Lucy Garrido-Mota and Scott Hess, who are emerging leaders in the sector. Michael then took the time to thank the HSC staff, its interns, as well as the Board, for their hard work and dedication to human services this past year.
The last, but certainly not the least, of our honorees was Ronald Soloway, who received the HSC Advocacy Champion Award. Presented by Kristin Proud, Deputy Secretary for Human Services, Technology, and Operations, she spoke of her delight in seeing such diversity among the individuals and organizations in attendance, identifying the sector as a “true partnership” with government. Upon receiving his award, Ronald Soloway thanked all in attendance, as well as those who couldn’t be there, particularly speaking of his parents. He also thanked UJA-Federation of New York’s CEO, John Ruskay and his staff, ending on a high note stating, “[I] value my relationship with every single one of you.”
Joining us for the evening were several government officials, including State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s key staff, who provided over $40,000 of checks for unclaimed funds to HSC members. Among those who received unclaimed funds were Center for Urban Community Services, Inc., Leake and Watts Services, Phipps Community Development Corporation, Steinway Child and Family Services, The After-School Corporation, and Women in Need, Inc.
Michael thanked our platinum sponsor, UJA-Federation of NY; our gold sponsors Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of NY, Catholic Charities Brooklyn & Queens, and Palladia, Inc.; our patrons Barrier Free Living, The Children’s Aid Society, Goodwill Industries of Greater NY & Northern NJ, Jewish Board of Family & Children’s Services, Project Renewal, Public Health Solutions, and the YMCA of Greater NY; and our supporters Essensa, Jewish Child Care Association, Lighthouse International, and the New York Foundling; as well as Mutual of America, who helped make the reception a success. He also spoke of Hurricane Sandy, again thanking the UJA-Federation of New York for their support to help HSC coordinate the sector in the aftermath. Michael also recognized the final donations received that night from Lighthouse International, Ellen Rautenberg, and Palladia, Inc., which closed the gap for HSC to meet its fundraising goal of $100,000 for the event.
Finally, Michael recognized the government officials in attendance, including Commissioner Ron Richter – Administration for Children’s Services, Preston Niblack – City Council Finance Division, CouncilMember Gale Brewer, Deputy Commissioner Bill Chong – Department for the Aging, Commissioner Seth Diamond – Department of Homeland Security, Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs, Melanie Hartzog, and Kristin Misner – Deputy Mayor’s Office, Kristin Proud – Deputy Secretary for Human Services, Technology and Operations, Commissioner Fatima Shama – Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, P.V. Anantharam – Office of Management and Budget, and Angela Dixon, Joe Galante, and Elliot Pagliaccio – Office of the New York State Comptroller. Their attendance demonstrated their support and gratitude for the human services sector, which was greatly appreciated.
He closed with well wishes and happy holidays to all. The reception was a fantastic way to bring closure to the year, which has been a particularly difficult one for our clients and the sector, especially following Hurricane Sandy. We want to thank everyone for their continued support. We look forward to the coming New Year with new beginnings!
Contributed by Jennifer Caesar of the Human Services Council.