The red carpet event took place at upscale sports bar Shadow Boxers NYC (215 W. 40th St.), where guests enjoyed “Hollywood Exes” star Nicole Murphy’s Destiny Moscato – a sweet, sparkling wine with citrus notes – and passed hors d’oeuvres. A silent auction featured an array of items: a Carmelo Anthony autographed basketball, luxury spa package, autographed photo of late actors Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, and other select pieces.
Event attendees were also treated to performances by the Impact Repertory Theater, a Harlem-based, youth performing arts company. The Theater provides a safe space where they can explore their full potential, and was one of the beneficiaries of the Walter Thurmond Foundation’s fundraiser.
“This is a program that has existed for the last 16 years,” Impact Repertory Theater’s Executive Artistic Director and founder, Jamal Joseph, said. “We do free, absolutely free training in leadership, activism, and the performing arts.
“They have performed around the country, and in Europe, material that relates to their lives, their struggles, and their dreams.” Footage of a portion of the Impact Repertory Theater’s performance is here.
Donations were collected throughout the event, and also benefited the United Way of New York City’s ReadNYC – an initiative that aims to double the number of children reading on grade level by third grade in 10 of NYC’s toughest neighborhoods – and Pros for Africa, a volunteer-led nonprofit that encourages professionals of all fields to provide aid to the children of Africa.
NFL running back Kahlil Bell also attended the soirée, and discussed the benefits of providing humanitarian aid nationally and internationally.
“I think we’re all connected,” he told Examiner.com. “I think the United States is the best country in the world... We have the most opportunities, the most freedom. Kids in Africa, kids in other places in the world, they don’t have what we have.
“I think it’s extremely important to reach out to them, and hopefully we can make a difference in not just our immediate community, but globally.”
Walter Thurmond discussed why he chose to establish a foundation that benefits youth in multiple service areas.
“We’re not trying to limit any demographic as far as what kids’ interests are,” he explained in an exclusive interview with Examiner.com. “Even with the arts, it’s still a broad range. We’re talking theater, dance, music, athletics... even science.”
Thurmond also revealed that he plans to expand his charitable endeavors in Africa.
“My grandmother currently lives in Sierra Leone, and they’re currently battling with the Ebola [virus] and the civil war hardships out there,” he intimated. “She went out there originally to set up a music school out there, and I want to go out there also – when things die down – to set up a Boys & Girls Club... to be able to help the situation there as well.”
Performances by Drew Vision and JackLucy wowed and inspired the crowd, and after the fundraiser, VIP attendees were transported in Mercedes Sprinters, provided by A-List Transportation, to a private yacht. Guests danced the night away and enjoyed a breathtaking view of New York City.
For more information on the Walter Thurmond Foundation for Arts and Education and its endeavors, visit their website.