In The Magazine

Princes and Billionaires Give Back

by R. Couri Hay Photographed by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Sunday, May 1, 2016

Koch Brothers, “Successful Philanthropy,” Schloss Blühnbach, Monaco Parfums and “Barefoot to Avalon”

The Gift of Giving

Mortimer Zuckerman was among the first to get an autographed copy of Jean Shafiroff’s new book, Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life by What You Give at the tome’s launch party. Mort knows: he gave $200 million to Columbia University. Georgina Bloomberg, whose father Michael Bloomberg’s bequests include $1.1 billion to Johns Hopkins University, wrote the book’s introduction, saying, “Don’t ever think that you can’t help make the world a better place just because you can’t write a check. If you see someone in need of something and you think you can help, go do it.” On whether Georgina was happy that her father has decided not to run for president, she told me, “As a family member, I’m relieved: campaigns are difficult, and horrible things are said about all the candidates,” adding “I haven’t decided who I’m going to vote for yet. I have been friends with Hillary and Donald for a long time and I love them both. That doesn’t mean I agree with all of their policies. I’ve learned how to separate my personal feelings from the politics.” Jean’s book is an inspirational and practical guide to giving. Representatives from the organizations Jean works with attended, including, Southampton Hospital’s Robert Chaloner and Steve Bernstein, NYC Mission Society’s Elsie McCabe Thompson and Stan Rumbough, FIT’s Valerie Steele, Couture Council’s Yaz Hernández, Margaret Thatcher Scholarship’s Scott Elkins, NY Women’s Foundation’s Ana Oliveira, the French Heritage Society’s Elizabeth Stribling and Southampton Animal Shelter’s Claire Del Villar. Others in the mix were Liliana Cavendish, Geoffrey Bradfield, Maggie Norris, Steven Vornea, Alex Donner, Carl Kempner, Zang Toi, Kipton Cronkite, Dale Noelle, Leesa Rowland and Steven Sephaugh, Richard Rubenstein, Cassandra Seidenfeld, Beth Shak, Fox News correspondent Rick Leventhal, Victor de Souza and Martin Shafiroff.

The Royal Shakespeare’s Swan Theater

Frederick Koch, the billionaire brother of Charles, William and David Koch, and his friend Margo Langenberg attended the School of American Ballet Winter Ball. The benefit was chaired by his sister-in-law, Julia Koch, in the Lincoln Center theater named after her husband, David, who gave $100 million to update it and another $150 million to Memorial Sloan Kettering, which brings his lifetime gift giving to $1.3 billion and counting. Fred, as his friends call him, attended Harvard and Yale and is the Koch brother more interested in books than politics, and he’s no slouch in the giving-back department either. He is on the boards of the Metropolitan Opera and the Film Society of Lincoln Center and is one of the world’s most important collectors of rare books. He has given major gifts to the Morgan Library, the Frick Collection and Yale. Fred told me that he and Margo, who was a vision in green and sporting huge emeralds in all the key places, have been attending this event for several years. Fred’s other “hobby” is refurbishing historic houses. Margo has been a guest at Fred’s castles and residences around the world, including his villa Torre Clementina in the south of France, his Tudor mansion in Butler, Pennsylvania, and his spectacular Schloss Bluhnbach in Austria, where they enjoy going to the nearby Salzburg Festival. This pair also attended the opening of Les Pêcheurs de Perles and Il Trovatore at the Met this season. In 1990 Koch bought Sutton Place in England, the former residence of J. Paul Getty and the castle that King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn famously used for their romantic rendezvous some time before he lopped off her head so he could marry Jane Seymour in 1536. In London, Fred secretly paid for the reconstruction of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theater, which was built in 1879. In New York, Koch bought the Donahue House, a former Woolworth mansion. Others at the SAB ball included NYC Ballet chairman Peter Martins and his wife, Darci Kistler, Fe and Alessandro Fendi, ABT board member Judith Hoffman, and Peter Walker, who choreographed the pièce d’occasion for the students. The black-tie ball was sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels and raised nearly $1.2 million.

Le Bal de la Rose

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and his sister HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover, the children of Hollywood icon Grace Kelly, presided over the Bal de la Rose in Monte Carlo. which was founded in 1954 to support the arts. Family friend Karl Lagerfeld designed the Cuban-themed ball and decked out the tables in lushly colored roses. Among those dancing to the salsa band were Caroline’s entire brood: Andrea Casiraghi and wife Tatiana Santo Domingo, Pierre Casiraghi and wife Beatrice Borromeo, Gucci model Charlotte Casiraghi, and Princess Alexandra of Hanover. Afterward everyone cut the rug at Jimmy’z and as dawn broke the junior royals followed family tradition and headed to Tip Top, the pizza joint across fromthe Hôtel de Paris. When Albert heard that someone was trying to buy this old school spot and turn it into a chic restaurant he put his foot down: His Serene Highness likes pizza. The Grimaldi princes have also raised untold millions at their annual Croix Rouge Ball, held every August since 1948. On another night, supermodel Victoria Silvstedt joined Rémy Deslandes, the president of INCC Parfums, a fragrance company based in Versailles, France, to launch Monaco, a fragrance for men and women, at the CREM Club during a reception for the Princess Grace Foundation USA. Prince Rainier III of Monaco created this foundation to honor his wife Princess Grace’s legacy. They have awarded millions in grants to more than 800 emerging artists since its inception 34 years ago. Guests included award winners Antonia Berasaluce, an ABT ballerina, and Lucien Postlewaite from Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Thibaud de Vaulchier, Sandra van Essche, Toby Boshak, Christine and George Ledes and perfumer Calice Becker of Givaudan, who created Monaco Parfums.

Hope For Depression Turns Ten

Audrey Gruss hosted the 10th Anniversary Dinner for the Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF), which she seeded with a generous gift in honor of her mother, Hope, at the Breakers in Palm Beach. The events co-chairs were William Flaherty, Susan Lloyd and interior designer Scott Snyder, who festooned the Gold Room in towering vases of forsythia. He draped the tables in yellow, the organization’s signature color, and dotted them with bowls of matching calla lilies. David Payne read from his best seller Barefoot to Avalon, a memoir about his brother’s struggle with bipolar disorder. HDRF neuroscientists and psychiatrists sat at every table to explain the foundation’s progress to the guests. Luce Churchill, Mary and Marvin Davidson, Mai Hallingby Harrison, Eleanora Kennedy, Denis and Annabelle Coleman, Jackie Drake, Robert Nederlander and Susan Keenan were among the members of the Chairman’s Council in attendance.

Photos courtesy of Patrick McMullan


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