Pandit, Paulson, Cohn, Soros, Schwarzman Lead Galas

Scene Last Night
Gary Cohn, president and COO of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Lisa Pevaroff-Cohn, and Keith Raskin, a hand surgeon at the Hospital for Joint Diseases. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Gary Cohn’s hand surgeon will operate for another year, Vikram Pandit will help disadvantaged children save for college and George Soros is sending aid to threatened scholars.

Financial-industry executives are set to take leading roles in New York’s nonprofit gala season.

“When people like Vikram step up and say, ‘I believe in this organization, here’s what I’ve been doing,’ that’s gold for us,” said Richard Buery, chief executive officer of the Children’s Aid Society.

Pandit, CEO of Citigroup Inc., will be honored at the society’s “Keeping the Promise” gala on Nov. 29 at 583 Park, which has a $1,000 ticket. The spotlight will be on Citigroup’s creation of a college savings program for grade-school children. Citigroup has donated $2 million to the society over two decades, Buery said.

George Soros kicks off the latest round of parties tomorrow at Cipriani Wall Street, where the Institute for International Education is honoring him as a founder of its Scholar Rescue Fund. In 10 years the fund has given $16.5 million to 465 threatened scholars in 48 countries. The gala has a $1,250 ticket.

The same night at Cipriani 42nd Street, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Vice Chairman J. Michael Evans will join model Selita Ebanks and actress Jemima Kirke of HBO’s “Girls” on behalf of New Yorkers for Children. Evans is a chairman of the event, which raises funds to support teenagers in the foster system as they make the transition to adulthood. A path of lanterns will express the “Light the Way” theme.

Gary Cohn

On Sept. 24, Goldman President and COO Gary Cohn will be the chairman for the third year in a row of the New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases and Center for Musculoskeletal Care Gala. Cohn was a patient at the hospital when he twisted his thumb while skiing. He’ll join honoree Jes Staley, chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s corporate and investment bank, under the blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History.

Responsibilities of honorees and chairmen vary. Almost always, they are expected to call on friends and customers to buy tickets. And they lend their names to invitation marquees.

“When you have the right kind of committee chairs and honorees, there’s a magnetism that attracts people,” said Timothy Seiler, director of the Fund Raising School at the Center for Philanthropy at Indiana University. “People say, I want to work with that group or socialize with that group.”

John Paulson

And so the list goes on. On Nov. 5, John Paulson will help New Yorkers connect to books and job resources as a first-time chairman of the Library Lions gala at the New York Public Library. He and other chairmen, including Blackstone Group’s Steve Schwarzman, will greet guests on a receiving line in Astor Hall.

The night after the presidential election, Apollo Global Management’s Leon Black is a chairman, KKR & Co.’s Henry Kravis a grandparent chairman, and industrialist David Koch the underwriter of the $500-a-ticket Rockefeller University Parents & Science Benefit Dinner.

The proceeds of the Nov. 7 event held on Rockefeller’s Upper East Side campus will support the development of a Center for Research on Child and Adolescent Health. An alumnus of the university, Robert Lustig, will give a lecture titled “Darwin, Diet, Disease and Dollars: How the Sugar in Processed Foods Changed Society.”

Lia Neal

Financial executives and academics aren’t the only life of the party. Olympic bronze medalist Lia Neal is the guest of honor at a reception for Asphalt Green, where she trained, on Sept. 19. On Oct. 22, Right to Play’s Red Ball Gala is expected to draw Olympic gold medalists Joey Cheek, Allyson Felix, Picabo Street as well as Goldman’s Evans, who won gold when he rowed crew for Canada.

“My wife and I got involved because the organizing premise -- that structured sport and play can be a powerful tool for individual development -- resonates with the experiences that shaped our upbringing,” said Evans, U.S. board chairman of Right to Play.

These athletes and everyone else will get healthy fare, said Liz Neumark, founder of Great Performances, which caters 150 fundraisers a year. Tomato-water shooters and farro instead of mashed potatoes can be expected, Neumark said.

For those not into a night of black tie and ballroom, the Global Poverty Project is organizing a Sept. 29 concert in Central Park featuring Neil Young, the Black Keys and K’naan, Robert Pattinson’s beloved rapper in the movie “Cosmopolis.” Tonight is the deadline to enter a lottery for almost 60,000 free tickets, which requires recording action taken to fight poverty. Ultimate Global VIP tickets are available for $689.50.

Muse highlights include Jeremy Gerard on theater, Greg Evans on television.

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