If John Paulson and Tom Brokaw left the Pierre last night with toothpaste and a toothbrush, it wasn’t grand hotel larceny but a goody bag given at the New Visions for Public Schools benefit.
The canvas tote contained a 7.8-ounce tube of Colgate Total Clean Mint Paste and one Pro Tip SlimSoft toothbrush touting “17x slimmer tip bristles for a deep clean.”
How did gala hygiene reach such heights? When Ian Cook, chairman and chief executive of Colgate-Palmolive Co., joined the board of New Visions, its members wondered how his experience with toothpaste could help an organization devoted to improving public-school education in New York.
It turned out there were similarities, said Roger Altman, founder of Evercore Partners Inc. and New Visions board co-chairman. What makes Colgate successful -- a focus on leadership and results -- is also what makes New Visions successful, Altman said in a tribute to Cook, without mentioning the benefits of free product.
New Visions helps run public schools and operates six of its own charter schools, serving 50,000 students. To open charters, it seeks $1 million in private funding for each school over a three-year period.
Paulson is one such donor, committing “to aid in the conversion of one of the poorest-performing high schools in the Bronx into two charter schools focused on the humanities and math and science,” he said in an e-mail. “The results so far have been very strong.”
At the gala Paulson caught up with a New Visions student he met before donating, Guirny Occean, class of 2015. Occean said his school is “like a tailored suit.”
Altman said children in New Vision schools have “an 8-to-10-point higher graduation rate than the city as a whole.”
“Public education is the way to upward mobility in our society, so we have to get it right,” said Ralph Schlosstein, CEO of Evercore. Blair Effron of Centerview Partners said New Visions is “willing to experiment with anything that improves the standards of public education in New York.”
Effron also supported the East Harlem School’s 20th anniversary celebration Monday night at 583 Park Avenue, raising $1.1 million for the independent school for low-income students in grades 4-8.
School founder and head Ivan M. Hageman said athletics, small classes, daily meditation and vegetarian lunches are among the factors that help students thrive.
Students working on the benefit’s silent auction praised the macaroni and cheese, veggie pizza and French toast served at Friday brunches before posing for a photograph with Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state was on hand to introduce honorees Susan Patricof and Greycroft LLC Founder Alan Patricof.
On Tuesday, Paulson and Effron were both elected trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.