On Monday, April 24th, 850 prominent New Yorkers gathered at Cipriani Wall Street for the Night of Opportunity gala, raising $2.1 million to help students from underserved high schools on the road to top colleges and successful careers. The event honored David H. McCormick, Co- CEO of Bridgewater Associates; John F. Megrue, Jr., Chairman of Apax Partners, U.S.; and Will Packer, leading Hollywood TV and film producer.
Honorees were joined by guests including Nicky Hilton Rothschild and James Rothschild; Alan Patricof; Louise Camuto; George Hall; Thabiti Boone; Gigi Stone and Dendy Engelmann. They mingled with Opportunity Network students at the reception before moving into the dining room for the dinner and program. Daniel Craig, an Opportunity Network board member, sent a video welcoming guests.
David McCormick said, “The magic in this room is what we need for our country. We’re launching hundreds of careers marked by meaningful contribution.” McCormick’s global macro investment firm has over $160 billion in assets. His distinguished public service career includes serving as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, Deputy National Security Advisor and Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security. Renowned film and television producer Will Packer told the guests, “you are making a difference, you are bridging the gap.” Packer is one of Hollywood’s blockbuster hitmakers and one of the only African- American producers in the world to have nine films open number one at the box office. Some of his successes include Straight Outta Compton, the Ride Along franchise and Think Like a Man franchise.
John Megrue, Jr. said his philanthropic journey has been a big part of his life. In addition to longtime support for OppNet, Megrue serves as Chairman of Born Free Africa, a nonprofit working to eliminate HIV in newborn children around the world.
The Night of Opportunity Gala raises funds for programs that support high potential students from underserved schools to and through competitive colleges, career opportunities and professional networks. Funds from the gala will enable The Opportunity Network to grow and serve more students. “Right now we have a 25 percent acceptance rate in a pool of qualified candidates. We need to do better than that,” said founder and CEO Jessica Pliska. Nicky Hilton Rothschild summed up the evening in a late night tweet, “inspiring evening at @Opp_Net's gala. Truly life changing work as told by the students."
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