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Harry Connick, Jr., will perform at the 25th Annual Benefit Dinner for the Inner- City Foundation for Charity & Education on November 1 at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich. The annual benefit provides critical funding for the charity’s support of programs serving the neediest adults and children in Fairfield County. This year marks the charity’s 25th annual benefit dinner.
“We are delighted and honored that Harry Connick, Jr., will perform at our benefit in November,” says Richard T. Stone, executive director of the Inner-City Foundation. “We really wanted to mark our 25th year, and honor all those who have helped us for the last quarter century, in a significant way. Harry Connick, Jr., is a world-class star, and having an intimate performance by him at our benefit is going to make it an extremely rare and special evening.”
It will be rare indeed to see Harry Connick, Jr., in such an intimate setting, since he regularly sells out much larger venues around the world. The multiple Grammy award winner has been entertaining audiences since the age of five, when he performed the music of his native New Orleans as a pianist and vocal – ist. He moved to New York at age 18, signed with Columbia Records and three years later achieved multi-platinum success. Over the past three decades, he has established himself as a legendary musician, singer, composer, live performer and best-selling artist with millions of records sold around the world. He is also an accomplished actor and television personality, and has received Emmy awards and Tony nominations for his work on the stage and screen. He joined “American Idol” as a judge in 2013 alongside Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban. His new nationally-syndicated daytime television variety show “Harry” kicked off on September 12.
Despite his busy career, Connick has always found the time to be charitable and has done some of his most important work in his efforts to help his native New Orleans rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
He now lends a hand to assist a similar population here in Fairfield County. The foundation expects that his name will render their benefit a hot ticket this fall, and that it will be a boon to their 25th year fundraising effort to raise $2.5 million this year—more than twice what they typically raise in a year.
“Need is up but funding is down,” says Stone. “State budget cuts in April have had a devastating impact on the most vulnerable members of our community.”
Founded in 1992, The Inner- City Foundation supports organizations providing food, clothing, shelter, education and counseling to at-risk and needy children and adults of Fairfield County. Organizations may apply for grants; all applications are thoughtfully considered, says Stone.
“We carefully vet all these organizations to make sure they are efficient and effective, and we look for organizations that are providing not only a safety net but also a springboard to a better future,” says Stone. “And because of our experience, minimal staff and dedicated, passionate volunteer board members, we’re highly efficient. Ninety percent, or 90 cents, of every dollar that we raise goes directly to the organizations we support.”
This year, the Inner-City Foundation for Charity & Education awarded close to $1 million in grants to 48 different organizations throughout the county. About half of the funds awarded went to education, particularly in Bridgeport, with a significant portion awarded to Fairfield County programs that provide for the disabled, the hungry, the homeless, or programs that provide help for victims of domestic violence or addiction.
“This is frontline, important support,” says Jeff Wieser, president and CEO of Homes with Hope, a grassroots organi- zation addressing homelessness in Westport. “The Inner-City Foundation has, for more than 16 years, supported the many mothers and children who find safety, comfort and life skills here. Over the past year alone their support for our organization has helped 15 families move from homeless- ness to a stable positive housing experience.”
“The need has simply never been greater,” says Stone. “If we can convince 25 corporations, as well as 25 individuals, to each donate $25,000, that will go a long way towards getting us to our goal of $2.5 million in the coming year.”
Emmy award-winning television weather and news anchor Dave Price of NBC 4 New York will be the Master of Ceremonies for the 25th Annual Benefit Dinner. Barbara and Ray Dalio, Bill Mitchell and Jack Welch are honorary chairs of the event. The Mitchell family is chairing the Benefit Committee along with co-chairs Audrey and Daniel Dornier, Helen and Dan Fitzpatrick, and Vilma and Dick Matteis. Bill Tommins of Bank of America chairs the Corporate Committee, and Joe Lane and Brian Moran co-chair the 25 for 25 Campaign, the cornerstone of the charity’s 25th year appeal.
(For tables and tickets or for more info about the Inner-City Foundation or to donate to the 25th year appeal, visit www.innercityfoundation.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (203) 416-1496.