In its 20 years, the Wall Street "Taste of New York" has raised nearly $30 million to help St. Jude Children's Research Hospital continue its groundbreaking research and lifesaving care for children battling cancer and other deadly diseases.
The "Taste of New York" is the largest single fund-raising event held on behalf of St. Jude each year. The engine behind it consists of the restaurants that donate their time and food, and the Wall Street Committee that garners the support of companies and colleagues who sponsor the event and purchase tickets.
The event brings the financial community together, with committee members and co-chairs hailing from Goldman, J.P. Morgan, SAC Capital Advisors, AllianceBernstein, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Zweig-DiMenna Associates, and many more.
The money helps St. Jude continue its commitment that no child is ever turned away because of a family's inability to pay. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance.
Wall Street Benefit for St. Jude
Darrin Sokol of Lazard, a co-chair of the Wall Street "Taste of New York" event, with a St. Jude family: Jake, who received treatment for a brain tumor at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and his parents, David and Kathleen Marshall. When Jake was diagnosed, at 2 ½ years old, doctors told Kathleen the current treatments of chemotherapy and brain radiation would damage her son's brain. Kathleen reached out to Dr. Thomas Merchant at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which uses innovative treatments that are often not yet approved by insurance companies. "Dr. Merchant called me right back," Kathleen says, and now Jake has had nine more birthdays, and no brain damage. "I draw a picture for Dr. Merchant every year," says Jake, who notes that the doctor likes to give hugs and always ask to look at his report card (Jake gets A's and B's, says Mom). Sokol said helping St. Jude "makes me feel good about myself and everything I do." Added Kathleen: "St. Jude is the ultimate example of teamwork, from the doctors to the people donating."
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The 2009 edition of this event took place Nov. 12 at Pier 60, an event space overlooking the Hudson River in Manhattan. Despite the economy, more than 550 guests attended, raising more than $1.6 million, with tickets priced at $1,000 each.
A highlight was the live auction of a visit to the set of the NBC hit "The Office." Actor Andy Buckley from the show sweetened the deal by adding his tie and a Dunder Mifflin tote bag to the auction package, which went for $12,000.
"I hope and pray you are pleased with your investment," said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., the chief executive of the hospital's fund-raising organization. "In this economic times, for you all to come together like this, it's just remarkable."
One of the co-chairs, Darrin Sokol of the firm Lazard, said he was grateful for the opportunity to get involved. "You have no idea how much this means to us, helping St. Jude doesn't compare to what we do for a living."
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