Citymeals Honors Paula Zahn and Randi & Dennis Riese at 26th Annual Power Lunch for Women
On Friday, November 16, 2012, more than 350 women – leaders of industry, media, government, and the arts – gathered at The Plaza Hotel for the Citymeals-on-Wheels 26th Annual “Power Lunch for Women.” This by-invitation-only benefit, emceed by the “Good Morning America” Lifestyle Anchor Lara Spencer, raised over $1.1 million, or enough to provide more than 177,000 meals for New York’s frail homebound aged.
Emmy Award-winning journalist Paula Zahn was honored for her commitment to the city’s homebound elderly. Randi and Dennis Riese, of The Riese Organization, were also honored for their dedication to Citymeals. Mr. Riese is a long-serving member of the Citymeals-on-Wheels Board of Directors. Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald performed “Make Someone Happy.”
Among this year’s lunching ladies were Karen Allen, Donatella Arpaia, Cindy Barshop, Betsy Bernardaud, Sharon Bush, Anne Cohen, Laura Day, Michele Oka Doner, Sharon Epperson, Dasha Epstein, Roberta Flack, Gael Greene, Jamee Gregory, Donna Hanover, Joan Helpern, Jill Herzig, Caroline Hirsch, Dana Ivey, Suri Kasirer, Rikki Klieman, Barbara Lazaroff, Alexandra Lebenthal, Sandra Lee, Margo MacNabb Nederlander, Trish McEvoy, Bette Midler, Liz Neumark, Karen Page, Betty Rollin, Silda Wall Spitzer, Emily Tisch Sussman, Marcy Syms, Diana L. Taylor, Lillian Vernon, and Patricia Wexler, among others.
A few adventurous men bought the privilege of dining with these powerful and famous women for an admission price of $10,000. This year’s “$10K Men” included Bill Bratton, Ed Brown, Millard Drexler, Bill Fischer, Michael Lynne, Craig Pfeiffer, John Shapiro, Bronson Van Wyck, John Zaccaro, and Steven B. Zavagli. Other “$10K Men” who contributed but were unable to attend included Jeffrey Bliss, Henry Buhl, Jeffrey Chodorow, Joseph M. Cohen, Peter Ekelund, Robert Grimes, Steve Hanson, John Pomerantz, and Donald Tober.
Also given special recognition at the lunch was former New York Times reporter Dorothy Gaiter. Gaiter wrote the seminal article in November 1981 about how the city’s funds to feed the homebound elderly did not cover weekends and holidays that was read by Citymeals co-founder Gael Greene and eventually led to the start of Citymeals-on-Wheels.
Gael Greene served as auctioneer for the special live auction of a seven-course dinner party in the winner’s own home from Chef Ed Brown. Roberta Flack made an on-the-spot announcement that she would serenade anyone who paid $20,000 for Chef Brown’s dinner party. The item sold twice.
This year’s Grand Host was CPS Events at The Plaza and Great Performances. The Distinguished Sponsor was Riese Restaurants. The Associate Sponsors included Amherst; Bloomberg; Paramount Group, Inc.; and Travelers. The Extraordinary Patron was Lord & Taylor/Hudson’s Bay Company. The Very Grand Patrons included Bobbi Brown; Citi; and Saks Fifth Avenue. Grand Patrons included Bernardaud; Bloomingdale’s; CEO Perspective Group; Citarella; Investigation Discovery; La Prairie; Mercedes-Benz; Van Wyck & Van Wyck; and Zabar’s. Beverage Sponsors were Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits; Josh Cellars; and Karlsson’s Gold Vodka. Official Sponsors for Citymeals-on-Wheels were American Airlines and FIJI Water.
The 27th Annual Power Lunch for Women will be held in November 2013. Stay tuned for an exact date and location.