RANDALL'S ISLAND PARK ALLIANCE HONORS JEFF ZUCKER, NIKE, INC., KAREN D. COHEN AT THE ANNUAL FIELDING DREAMS GALA
NEW YORK, NY (March 12, 2014) – The Randall’s Island Park Alliance (www.randallsisland.org) hosted its annual Fielding Dreams NYC Gala on Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at the American Museum of Natural History to honor two community leaders and an organization that have been instrumental in championing healthy and active lifestyles for New York City children. The evening also celebrated the continued success of Randall’s Island Park, a world-class destination for sports, recreation and environmental exploration. The event raised a record-breaking $1.4 million for Randall’s Island Park Alliance.
This year, the Alliance honored CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker, NIKE, Inc. and RIPA Founder Karen Cohen for their proven commitment to Randall’s Island Park and bettering children’s lives in New York City.
In addition to serving as President of CNN Worldwide, Jeff Zucker has balanced his professional life with dedication to his family, philanthropy and the community, serving on the Board of Directors of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Robin Hood Foundation. Chris Cuomo, anchor for CNN New Day and close friend of Zucker, presented his award.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by the Randall’s Island Park Alliance and I am thrilled that we were able to do so much good last night,” said Zucker. “My family and I have been fortunate to enjoy so much of what their facilities provide, and through the great work that they continue to do, countless children in our city are able to do the same.”
NIKE, Inc., the world’s leading athletic footwear, apparel and equipment company, also was honored for its commitment to using sports to improve children’s chances for success by strengthening teamwork, determination, self-confidence, creativity, resilience and physical and emotional health. Tennis legend John McEnroe, who created the John McEnroe Tennis Academy on Randall’s Island, presented NIKE’s award to Jorge Casimiro, VP and Chief Operating Officer for Global Community Impact.
"Nike is deeply committed to creating early, positive experiences for kids in physical activity and sports to help them reach their full potential," said Casimiro. "We know that active kids do better. Kids are designed to move and once they get moving they do better all around--in school and in all facets of their life."
The Alliance also paid special tribute to Karen Cohen, founder of RIPA, by honoring her with the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize her commitment to providing high-quality outdoor fields, play spaces, and natural areas to enhance the quality of life for all New Yorkers. Former New York City Mayor and founding Board Member of the Alliance, Michael R. Bloomberg, presented Cohen with the award.
“On behalf of Randall’s Island Park Alliance, I want to thank the amazing team of supporters, including this year’s honorees, that exemplify the very best of what our city has to offer,” said Aimee Boden, President of Randall’s Island Park Alliance. “We are proud of the work we have done together to make Randall’s Island what it is today, ensuring access for all New Yorkers.”
The evening hosted a high-profile crowd of nearly 600 philanthropists, including previous Fielding Dream Gala honorees Victor Cruz and Stacy Bash-Polley, City officials, and leaders in sports, health, and finance industries, all passionate about Randall’s Island as the key to providing New York City’s children with innovative and comprehensive opportunities for outdoor sports and recreation. The evening was co-Chaired by RIPA Trustees Michael Boxer, Mark Greene and Richard Mack.
The dinner concluded with an auction with renowned auctioneer Benjamin Doller of Sotheby’s. The most coveted items sold included VIP treatment in NIKE’s private Barclays Center box for a Brooklyn Nets game and a Giants Training Camp experience with Victor Cruz.
Founded in 1992, RIPA provides free programs to thousands of children annually, working in close partnership with more than 120 local public schools and community-based organizations in Harlem and the South Bronx – communities with some of the nation’s highest rates of obesity, asthma, and diabetes.
Renovation of Randall’s Island Park began in 2007 to address the enormous demand for outdoor athletic facilities in New York City, a need that led RIPA, in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, to reconfigure and reconstruct deteriorating ball fields. The fields were a final component of a larger island-wide plan to revitalize the park, which also has led to the construction of Icahn Stadium track & field complex in 2005, the Sportime tennis center in 2009, and wetlands restoration and miles of waterfront pathways.
About RIPA: The Randall’s Island Park Alliance, Inc. (RIPA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works with the City of New York and local communities to provide an innovative and exciting destination through a wide range of sports venues, cultural events and environmental exploration. As the dedicated steward of Randall’s Island Park, the Alliance sustains, maintains, develops and programs the Park to support the well being of all New Yorkers. For more information about the history of Randall’s Island and RIPA’s role in its dramatic transformation, please visit randallsisland.org.
Photo credit: Randall's Island Park Alliance and LUXXELIVING.
Karen Cohen and Michael R. Bloomberg
Jeff Zucker and Chris Cuomo
Fielding Dreams Gala cocktail reception held inside the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda at the American Museum of Natural History.
Fielding Dreams Gala dinner held in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History.