Scene Last Night: Och Challenge, Asness, Fey, LutnickAmanda Gordon
It’s hard to imagine the UJA-Federation of New York’s Wall Street Dinner without Alan “Ace” Greenberg on the dais.
To help fill the void, the Dec. 8 event will include a tribute to the former head of Bear Stearns, who died in July, and the Young Leadership award will be named after him. Brett Barth, co-founder of BBR Partners, will be its inaugural recipient.
General David Petraeus, chairman of the KKR Global Institute, will give the keynote speech at the Wall Street Dinner, according to Mark Medin, executive vice president of financial resource development for UJA. Jacques Brand, head of Deutsche Bank’s North American unit, will receive the Gustave L. Levy Award, named after a former head of Goldman Sachs.
Last year’s dinner raised $26 million to aid people in need, encourage Jewish learning and strengthen Jewish communities. This year’s total will likely be nudged upward with help from hedge-fund manager Dan Och and his wife, Jane.
The Ochs have agreed to match as much as $2 million of all gifts to the philanthropic organization through Dec. 8 in an effort to attract new donors under the age of 45 and spur donors of $100,000 to give even more.
On Dec. 8, Och will have a seat at the dais, facing a crowd of more than a thousand guests, an honor given to “influential role models in the financial sector,” said Bonnie Shevins, a vice president of UJA. “When you’re sitting up at the dais, you remember when you were at table 100 back in the corner, wondering, how do I get up there?”
Last night, Tina Fey and one of her daughters visited the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library’s “Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection.”
The show offers tableaus of antique trains chugging around quaint towns, mostly in glass cases. Kids of limited height can crawl under and pop their heads up inside one of the displays.
Fey said she comes from a long line of model-train enthusiasts, and as a kid, had a hand in completing scenery: “My job was to make trees with lichen and toothpicks.’
As for preparing for the holiday season: ‘‘At my house, even though the tree was fake, it did not go up until Christmas Eve,’’ Fey said.
‘‘That’s discipline,’’ said Diana DiMenna, a museum supporter.
‘‘Hard-core German discipline,’’ Fey said.
Asness at IRC
Actors Cynthia Nixon, David Hyde Pierce and Blythe Danner all developed discipline of their own working with Daniel Sullivan.
Specifically, they learned how to work without a lot of feedback, they said at a benefit for the Manhattan Theatre Club honoring the director.
David Hodgson, the nonprofit theater company’s chairman and a managing director at General Atlantic, sat for dinner with Tracie Thoms, who stars in Sullivan’s current production, ‘‘Lost Lake.” Next up for the company: “Constellations” with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson, star of the hot Showtime series “The Affair.”
Cliff Asness, founder of AQR Capital Management, “has more money, less hair” than when the hedge funder was a student at the University of Chicago, according to Ken French, one of his former professors.
In other words: Asness has completed the transformation necessary to join French as a co-honoree of the International Rescue Committee’s annual Freedom Award Dinner.
Journalists at Risk
The Nov. 5 event at the Waldorf Astoria raised $4.5 million for humanitarian aid to refugees, Ebola patients, and others whose lives have been torn apart by conflict and disaster.
“On so many other issues, you can have two sides of how to deal with an idea,” Asness said at the event. “The moral clarity of the IRC is very attractive to me. There can be no debate. These people were recently displaced by a war and are starving and going to die if no one helps them. So supporting IRC is an easy decision.”
The Waldorf Astoria saw the Committee to Protect Journalists hold its annual gala last night as journalists working in Russia, Burma, South Africa, Iran and Latin America were presented with awards. It raised $1.9 million for its work, which includes advocating for journalists’ rights and tracking those who are killed on the job. In 2014, 16 journalists were murdered, 16 were killed by crossfire or in combat, and 10 died on a dangerous assignment.
Honoree Jorge Ramos, co-anchor of the evening newscast for Univision News and host of its Sunday-morning public affairs show, said a journalist’s job description “is to be rebellious and irreverent.”
“The best journalism happens when we take a stand -- it is perfectly OK not to be neutral” if a journalist is transparent, he said.
Goldman Sachs had a table hosted by Jake Siewert, head of corporate communications at the firm.
“Living in the United States, we don’t realize how hard it can be to be a journalist,” Siewert said. “We support this organization because it’s very effective. They get results and we like to see that.”
Tony Bennett serenaded Iris Cantor at the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and Lupus Research Institute’s Nov. 24 fundraiser. Cantor, the widow of Bernie Cantor, founder of Cantor Fitzgerald, was honored for her philanthropy in health and art.
“My grand passion is my Rodin collection, which was left as a legacy” by her late husband, she said. “I’m the caretaker.”
Lutnick for Haverford
In health, her gifts have built women’s health centers at UCLA and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where she also created a men’s health center.
Cantor wore a vintage James Galanos gown to the event at the American Museum of Natural History, which raised $2 million to support lupus patients and fund research into the chronic autoimmune disease.
Howard Lutnick, head of Cantor Fitzgerald, gathered with fellow graduates of Haverford College earlier this month to kick off the public phase of a campaign to raise $225 million for the school.
“What do we hope to be?” Lutnick said to guests. “My favorite answer is: we want to be the best Haverford we can be. That’s a rather Haverford thing to say. We’re not trying to be better than others.”
Lutnick is chairman of Haverford, the 181-year-old college in the Pennsylvania town of the same name, from which he graduated in 1983. He gave $25 million to the campaign, mostly to renovate the library.
John Whitehead, a former co-head of Goldman and former chairman of Haverford, also attended the event.
Last week Lutnick’s wife, Allison, hosted a shopping event at their home, with a portion of sales going to the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund. Designers and boutiques set up on three stories of the house, with furs in the foyer, diamond rings and bracelets in front of the living room fireplace, et cetera.
On the cozy third floor, Jes Wade wrapped up a blouse she’d just sold and I finally located a two-digit priced item: a birch-scented candle for $28 by Thompson Ferrier. It was the only vendor donating 100 percent of its sales on the occasion, said Samantha Fraser, who works for the relief fund.