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NEW YORK Bailey House scored an original venue with a great view for its annual Key awards benefit. The nonprofit held its cocktail party and brief ceremony in the Gallery space in the ABC building at 77 West 66th Street. The 22nd-floor venue has a nice, airy feel, lots of light wood and a great view of Central Park, but it isn't usually available for special events. The hook for Bailey House: ABC News' vice president of media relations Jeffrey Schneider is on the board of the nonprofit, which provides housing and other services to homeless people with HIV and AIDS.
The other ABC connection was that ABC-7 weatherman Sam Champion and anchor Rob Abrams were both honored for their work as co-chairs of Bailey House's Open Your Heart benefit for the past two years. And ABC-7 anchor Bill Ritter served as M.C., joking that the space is usually used for goodbye parties, and it has seen a few lately.
Organized by Bailey House assistant director of development Mike Lynch and assistant director of special events Kara Forcey, the event was a simple, classy party with minimal fuss. Musters & Company placed some simple, pretty arrangements of tulips and roses in silver flower pots on the small tables in the room, but the focus was on the awards.
Harry Connick Jr. appeared both to present and accept an award for Stephen Cirona, the executive vice president and global creative director of Tommy Hilfiger, who was ill and didn't make it to the event. (Cirona was also a co-chair of Bailey House's last benefit.) The View's Star Jones presented an award to Malaak Compton-Rock, founder of StyleWorks, a nonprofit that gives makeovers to women reentering the work force. The other honorees were Georg Osterman, one of the Bailey House's first supporters, and South African AIDS activist Mercy Makhalemele. Alan Cumming and Compton-Rock's husband, Chris Rock, also appeared at the event.
Read about Bailey House's Open Your Heart auction benefit...