Love Heals at The Four Seasons Restaurant and beyond

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

As co-founder of Love Heals, the Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education, it was my great privilege to honor three amazing New Yorkers at our 20th anniversary gala: Julianna Margulies, Cristina Cuomo and Michael Lorber at The Four Seasons Restaurant.  The night was brilliantly emceed by InStyle’s Hal Rubenstein, whose passion for our cause is close to his heart as an HIV-infected person. Julianna, a dear friend since we met as waitresses together as college students in the Hamptons, enlisted her Good Wife crew including heart throb Josh Charles, Christine Baranaski and Michael J. Fox with Tracy Pollan.

The inimitable Scotsman Alan Cumming presented his Emmy, Golden Globe, and 8 time SAG award-winning co-star with her award. Actress Emily Mortimer lauded her friend Cristina and real estate mogul and philanthropist Eric Rudin – who loaned Love Heals $5,000 and gave us an office in 1992 – saluted Michael Lorber with the young philanthropist award.  We packed The Four Seasons Restaurant to the rafters, transforming the pool room with the help of hundreds of velvety red roses donated by Emily Pinon’s Chestnuts in the Tuileries.

Supporters such as Donny Deutsch, Kenneth Cole, Chris Cuomo and his wonderful family including mother Mathilda, Coralie and Dennis Paul, co-chair Rich Farley, Howard Lorber, Avis Richards, jeweler Jennifer Miller, Jean Shafiroff, Alain Pinon and so many more made the room a sea of friendly faces.  Not only did we raise $675,000, but hit another milestone: this year we have passed the half million mark in terms of the numbers of young people Love Heals has directly educated through our speakers bureau. Countless more have utilized our web site, our peer education programs and been touched by our advocacy work.  As Julianna said:

“The greatest testament to Love Heals¹ success, is the statistic we¹ll never know:  the number of lives it has saved.  Because it¹s certain that across New York tonight, there are mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who were one bad choice away from AIDS exposure, and who made the right decision because of what they learned from Love Heals.”

From the bottoms of Stefani, Victoria and my hearts, we are so grateful to be able to continue our vital work of an AIDS-free future for all young people.


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by Debbie BancroftPhotographed by Griffin Lipson and Hunter Abrams/