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75th Anniversary Gala Raises $8.5 Million in 10 Cities in One Night — Houston Embraces the UNICEF Power

Inside a Night of Unprecedented Giving

BY // 12.21.21

It was suggested that guests attending UNICEF’s 75th anniversary gala wear blue, the international nonprofit’s signature color. While the fashion aura on this evening at the Houston Museum of Natural Science was definitely shades of blue, the success of the fundraiser had chairs Dr. Sippi and Ajay Khurana far removed from a blue mood.

As one of 10 cities across the country joining the celebration on this evening, Houston raised $649,000. Events took place simultaneously in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. The total raised nationally comes in at $8.5 million which sets the record for the most funds raised for the global organization during a gala event.

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Deanea LaFlore, Eileen Lawal, Sofia Adrogué

Each program included an appeal. In Houston, it was conducted by popular auctioneer Stephen Lewis. Across the country, 1,250 guests raised their hands to purchase one or more $40,000 emergency relief transportation vehicles which will aid in delivering COVID-19 vaccines in countries where the need is greatest and in providing water pumps that ensure safe and clean water.

The evening’s program included the premiere of Academy Award-nominated Ben Proudfoot‘s film If You Have, a stunning documentary chronicling the UNICEF story of serving children in need in the poorest of countries. (The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund was founded in 1946 in the aftermath of World War II.)

The Real Reach of UNICEF

Mayor Sylvester Turner joined the gala with a proclamation honoring UNICEF while Nelson Bowman, Southwest Regional managing director, reiterated UNICEF’s dedicated efforts around the world to ensure equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution worldwide.

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Crystal Hadnot, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Paula Harris

Following the program in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, guests moved to the museum‘s Morian Hall of Paleontology for a buffet dinner that saw guests merrily wandering through and admiring in awe the vast collection of prehistoric beasts including dinosaurs.

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Reflecting UNICEF’s international reach, those attending fully represented the city’s diversity and  Houstonians who are making a difference globally for the most vulnerable children.

PC Seen: Susan and Dan Boggio, Margaret Alkek Williams, Drs. Ishwaria and Vivek Subbiah, Brigitte Kalai, Alicia Smith, Mark Sullivan, Eileen Lawal, Sneha and Naushir Merchant, Hallie Vanderhider, Phyllis and Cornell Williams, Amber and Ryan Jay, Sofia Adrogué, Amy and Rob Pierce, and Habiba and Mohammed Dhanani.

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