Happy Hearts Gala

June 2017. New York City, One World Observatory

On a crystal clear evening in June, guests arrived at the Observatory at the top of the World Trade Center building to a stunning sunset over the New York City skyline. The tone was set for a beautiful and warm evening to celebrate and raise support for one of Empire’s most beloved long-time clients, Happy Hearts Fund.

The Happy Hearts Fund, founded by Petra Nemcova in 2006 after she survived the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, is dedicated to providing ongoing support by building schools and providing opportunities for education to children in countries effected by natural disaster, long after primary rescue efforts have left these struggling communities. Celebrating the success of these school programs, the theme of the the night was Graduation: Class of 2017!

The evening kicked off with a cocktail reception, passed canapes, and remarks by Petra, Tomas Alvarez-Bolon, also a survivor of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and Edna Candelaria, a student at one of the Happy Hearts Schools in the Philippines. Many major supporters were honored with an award and “diploma” for their tireless involvement in the cause, including motivational speaker and dedicated philanthropist Tony Robbins, long-time Happy Hearts Fund supporter Ramzi Mussalam, and founder of All Hands Volunteers David Campbell.

After this, guests took part in a live auction hosted by the ebullient auctioneer Simon de Pury and they were off to the races! In no short order over a million dollars were raised and some very pleased guests would be going home with a variety of priceless trips and experiences, fantastic jewelry and fine art by modern masters like Bosco Sodi and Helidon Xhixha. Guests also won premium tickets and backstage passes to John Legend and U2, a once-in-a-lifetime South African excursion, and more; all of which was donated from supporters from around the world.

Following the extremely successful auction, guests enjoyed a whimsical buttermilk & berry panna cotta as they enjoyed a high energy performance by Just Kool from Kool and the Gang with hits like “Fresh,” “Get Down On It,” and “Celebration”.

As dinner and the performances came to an end, guests were then invited to the next room for an after party hosted by DJ Cassidy, who had them on their feet dancing until the wee hours of the morning.

Empire is proud to continue our partnership with many purposeful and impactful non-profits like Happy Hearts Fund, and to help them successfully host these thrilling fundraising events.

To learn more about Happy Hearts Fund, please visit www.happyheartsfund.org

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