What: The UNICEF Gala
Where: The Post Oak Hotel
The scoop: Nearly 400 Houstonians packed The Post Oak Hotel as the Southwest Regional Office of UNICEF USA recently hosted the sixth annual UNICEF Gala Houston. The event, emceed by Great Day Houston host Deborah Duncan, celebrated UNICEF’s lifesaving work and honored Susan and Dan Boggio with the Helenka Pantaleoni Humanitarian Award and Sue Smith and Lester Smith, posthumously, with the Margaret Alkek Williams Humanitarian Award.
The fab gala raise more than $1 million — a record-breaking amount which will support UNICEF’s lifesaving work for children around the world.
Over the course of the evening, guests enjoyed remarks from Mayor Sylvester Turner and UNICEF USA CEO and President Caryl M. Stern. As the granddaughter of Helenka Pantaleoni — the founding director of UNICEF USA — actor Téa Leoni sent a gift presentation to the Boggios to celebrate their commitment to UNICEF USA’s work over the years. The gala featured a vibrant performance by The Garden State Guys performing a special tribute to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Young professionals UNICEF NextGen hosted a silent disco after party.
As part of their longstanding commitment to UNICEF, the Boggios launched The Susan and Dan Boggio Fund for UNICEF — made possible by their leadership gift — to address child protection, education, ending trafficking, violence against girls, the Rohingya refugee crisis, and expansion of UNICEF Kid Power in Houston. The Fund also includes a generous amount of unrestricted funding to offer UNICEF the flexibility that Susan and Dan value as essential in saving children’s lives.
Live auction packages included a week-long safari in Kenya, earrings from NINI Jewels and tickets to the Elton John Oscars Party. The evening featured a lively paddle raise for UNICEF Kid Power with a generous $100,000 match from The Alkek and Williams Foundation.
Who: Gala Chairs included Cheryl Byington, Mary Ann McKeithan, Beth Wolff, and Hallie Vanderhider, who also served as the Lead Benefactor of the event. Honorary Chairs included Shelly and Brian Hendry, Leela and Nat Krishnamurthy, Limor and Stuart Smith, Margaret Alkek Williams, and Randa and Charles Williams. Anika Jackson and Catherine Clarke Murphy served as the NextGen Chairs.