North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center’s 65th Sapphire Anniversary gala raised more than $620,000 to support the Guidance Center’s mission to bring hope and healing to children and their families who are experiencing mental health and substance use challenges. The gala, which honored philanthropists Andrea and Michael Leeds and Americana Manhasset’s Champions for Charity, marked the most successful fundraising event in the Guidance Center’s history.
Much of the credit for the historic night goes to our thought-provoking speaker Linda Beigel Schulman, the mother of Scott J. Beigel, one of the teachers killed in the shootings in Parkland, Florida. Her moving speech brought everyone to their feet.
“It was my honor to be the guest speaker and share Scott’s story,” said Schulman. “Those who attended were so warm and caring; I can honestly say new friendships were made. The success of the evening speaks volumes to the importance of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center.”
Honorees Andrea and Michael Leeds and Americana Manhasset’s Champions for Charity drew an A-list of supporters from Long Island and as far away as California.
Andrea Leeds has been a board member at the Guidance Center for more than 20 years. She and her husband Michael are dedicated philanthropists, and they have supported many causes both on Long Island and across the globe. But the Guidance Center holds a special place in their hearts.
“Mike and I are delighted with the unexpected level of support that came from our friends and family,” said Andrea Leeds. “We were all moved by Linda Schulman’s heartbreaking story, and also by her continuing support and engagement with the Guidance Center. It was a wonderful event, and we’re especially proud to help the Guidance Center provide essential mental health services to those in need—particularly those who can’t afford it in this time of shrinking government support.”
“Andrea’s father was a New York City cop. She wonders where her family would have gone to get services like the Guidance Center provides,” added Mike Leeds.
The gala’s other honoree, Americana Manhasset’s Champions for Charity, hosts an annual holiday shopping event that supports more than 100 not-for-profit organizations, including the Guidance Center. The event, which this year takes place from Nov. 29 through Dec. 2, has raised nearly $12 million since its inception in 1996.
“The Sapphire Gala had an air of compassion and a ‘champion’ spirit of generosity in support of the heroic service the Guidance Center provides children and families in crisis,” said Deirdre Costa Major, president, Castagna Realty Retail Group. “When we support the Guidance Center, we help make a difference. We are proud that Champions for Charity is one way of bringing people from our community together to help make a difference.”
Every person who contributed their time and talents to the gala was exceptional. They include event co-chairs Matilde and Cliff Broder and Rosemarie and Mitchell Klipper; journal co-chairs Jo-Ellen Hazan and the recently deceased John J. Gutleber, who passed away unexpectedly in September; and auction co-chairs Deirdre Costa Major and Charles G. Chan. The Mistress of Ceremonies was News 12 Long Island’s Carol Silva, whose professionalism and generous spirit set the tone for a fantastic evening.
“Even today’s news headlines show us how some people are in such need of mental health support,” said Silva. “They think that they’re alone, but on Long island, we have North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, which has opened doors and opened arms for any child or family in need. It was one of the most beautiful events of the year for me, plus it was a whole lot of fun.”
“We are extremely grateful to our honorees, speaker, mistress of ceremonies, donors, sponsors and all who worked so hard on the gala committee,” said Guidance Center Executive Director Andrew Malekoff. “For 65 years, we have been dedicated to providing mental health services to all children and families, regardless of their ability to pay. And because of the generosity of everyone involved, we will be able to continue to provide the best in care to the community.”
All proceeds will benefit the Guidance Center. To learn more about the organization’s services, visit www.northshorechildguidance.org or call 516-626-1971.
—Submitted by North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center