From the opening lines of poetry to the choir performance that closed out the night, the accomplishments of children were front and center on November 11 as The East Harlem School hosted its 2013 Fall Benefit, which raised funds for the East 103rd Street space founded 20 years ago and honored philanthropists Susan and Alan Patricof at a Park Avenue dinner.
It wasn’t just the kids, though—charming as they were—that drew the likes of Robert De Niro and Grace Hightowner, Tina Brown, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, former Congressman Harold Ford and Tribeca Film Festival honcho Jane Rosenthal to the benefit. It was the Patricofs, who’ve made it their long-time mission to support the school with their time, devotion and, of course, impressive fundraising.
In fact, as one notable guest, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said, “I’ve known Alan and Susan for a long time. I’m so fortunate to call them my friends, and I’m so impressed by the breadth of their generosity and commitment.”
Before Clinton presented the Patricofs with the Exodus House Award, she went on to say, “They are such advocates and champions for people in need, and in particular their love—next to their family—has been the children of East Harlem and this community. I cannot think of two more deserving honorees than my friends, and the friends of the people of this community and all of us here tonight, Alan and Susan Patricof.”
For Mrs. Patricof, the award was an acknowledgement of work close to her heart. “I’ve always believed passionately in commitment to philanthropic activities and given my involvement with Harlem and the Northside Center for Child Development, supporting EHS is a natural extension of my work within this community,” she told DuJour. “Philanthropy for me is second nature; I don’t really think about why I do it, the right question is why not!”
And while the Patricofs’ partnership with The East Harlem School is certainly one to be lauded, Mr. Patricof pointed out that another syndicate was also worth noticing.
“I have worked in many successful business partnerships during the entirety of my career,” the private equity pioneer opined, “but no partnership has been more important than my 43-year marriage.”