A Night to Remember: 2019 Inspiration Awards & Benefit Gala

Rosario Dawson and Karli (Photo by Aurora Rose/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

On Monday, October 28 Children’s Rights hosted its 14th annual Inspiration Awards & Benefit Gala at the Mandarin Oriental in New York. It was a knock-out success, raising a record $1.6 million to keep kids safe and healthy.

Surrounded by dramatic views of a glittering Manhattan skyline, over 400 people ate, drank, enjoyed each other’s company – and gained a deeper understanding of Children’s Rights. Many are already stalwart supporters of Children’s Rights, many others were being introduced to us for the first time.

The event honored three people for their significant contributions to improving the lives of children:

Vincent Mai, Founder and Chairman of The Cranemere Group, whose philanthropic activities have focused on a range of humanitarian and social justice issues, including bringing educational opportunity to at-risk, disadvantaged children in the US and around the world.

William McNabb, III, Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Vanguard, who spearheaded the creation of a program that is helping children living in poverty prepare for and succeed in school.  

Lexie Pèrez-Grüber, Health & Public Management Service Consultant at Accenture, who lived in foster care as a child, and was instrumental in the passage of the Family First Act, the most comprehensive federal child welfare reform law in decades.

The gala also had lots of added sparkle. Actor and activist Rosario Dawson spoke movingly about her decision to adopt an older child living in foster care. Jordan Roth, president of Jujamcyn Theaters, delightfully reprised his role as emcee. And a particularly adorable Muppet in foster care named Karli, from Sesame Street, made a star appearance. She was recently introduced by Sesame Workshop as part of an initiative to support foster families. Artist and former foster youth Ronald Draper presented his gorgeous limited-edition, 14-karat gold HOPE necklace, while the new Children’s Rights Swag Store offered a curated collection of snazzy Children’s Rights-branded hoodies, T-shirts, and more.

Accomplished and passionate people spoke from the heart about why they care about children and support the mission of Children’s Rights. In addition to the honorees and special guests, Children’s Rights board members, including chair Megan Shattuck, Anne Robinson and event co-chairs Chiara Trento Mai and Lewis Tepper, described the Children’s Rights approach to reform and advocacy, and how it translates into better outcomes for kids. Here is a sampling of their inspiring words:

Video! Watch Karli at our benefit here.