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A Benefit Honoring the Bronfmans

February 12, 2001, 12:00 AM EST

92nd Street Y Premier Corporate Gala Marriott Marquis Tuesday, 01.30.01, 6:30 PM onward
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The 120-year old 92nd Street Y held a star-studded, 700-person fundraising dinner at the Marriott Marquis to present its first annual Global Citizenship award to Matthew Bronfman, Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Edgar Bronfman Sr.

With more than $2 million added to the coffers, this fund-raiser was not your typical event. Stephen Lash, chairman of Christie's North and South America, presided over an auction using blue glow sticks instead of the standard placards. Doug Morris, chairman of the Universal Music Group, bid $130,000 for a first-class, ten-day African safari for four. Len Blavatnik, president of Access Industries, shelled out $34,000 for a non-speaking walk-on part on The West Wing. Alfred F. Hurley bought a 2001 Jaguar XKS convertible (donated by Ford) for $85,000. But if you're a budding fund-raiser, be forewarned. This doesn't happen everyday.

But if you want to plan a successful benefit, you could take some tips from the Y: Get Lynn Sherr of ABC's 20/20 to be the M.C.; have Citigroup director and former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin present the award; arrange for entertainment from Smokey Robinson with a 23-person musical group; and have everyone home to bed by 10:30. That's a formula for a winning event.

It also must have spelled relief for Eileen Solomon, the Y's special events head. Talk about pressure to perform--Ian Schrager is a major benefactor, and her guests included Martha Stewart, Loews' James Tisch and Starwood's Barry Sternlicht. These folks know hospitality, and the Bronfmans know a good party when they see one--this is the family behind Seagrams, remember. (In the interest of full disclosure, we should tell you that Matthew Bronfman has invested in BiZBash.)

The hotel's Broadway Ballroom looked spectacular for the event, with spotlights shining on every feather and flower centerpiece by Avi Adler. Foremost Glatt Kosher Caterers and the Marriott's team put together great food stations with beautiful displays of liquor bottles. (Can you guess where those came from?)

--David Adler

See the giftbag from this event...

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