Last year, Glasswing International’s gala raised a record-breaking $675,000 to help continue its work supporting vulnerable children in communities across Latin America, the Caribbean and New York City. But last week, to the surprise and delight of founder Celina de Sola, the charity’s fifth annual event not only sold out, but supporters helped raise an extremely generous $1.1million towards the cause.
More than 400 guests attended the event at New York City’s Tribeca Rooftop, and among those who joined founders Celina de Sola, Ken Baker and Diego de Sola with co-chairs Carmen and Jana Pasquel de Shapiro, were the United States Ambassador to El Salvador, Jean Manes; Mary-Kate Olsen and Olivier Sarkozy; Donna Karan; Pacunam President Marianne Hernandez; Nina García; Water Thru Skin’s Valeria Hinojosa; Naeem Khan; co-founder of MAISON-DE-MODE.COM Hassan Pierre; and film and television producer Fabiola Beracasa Beckman. “One of the challenges this year was how to make the event still feel personal given the number of people attending,” said Celina de Sola. “But what a great challenge!”
The event was staged this year in honor of John Moore, Morgan Stanley’s Head of Latin America and the Chairman of Global Capital Markets for the Americas. Moore is the founder of Morgan Stanley’s Latin America Philanthropy Committee, which has since become an important partner and supporter of Glasswing, and during the evening he made a very generous donation to support the charity’s programs and activities in the region. Others were moved to donate spontaneously on the night, including Naeem Khan, who pledged three personal couture experiences, and Donna Karan, who optioned her Urban Zen vacation homes in Turks & Caicos. “This was a really special moment,” said Celina.
However, undoubtedly the highlight of the evening was when 14-year-old Salvadoran student René Pineda, who is enrolled on one of Glasswing’s after-school programs, spoke about his experiences growing up. He explained how Club de Fútbol volunteer Reymundo Carballo inspired him, and the positive impact he has had on his life. "My life is a sample of what many Latin American children and young people live. We have a lot of problems, but do you know what we also have? The desire to get ahead,” he said. “I am sure that young people like me only need someone who believes in us, and gives us a second chance to show what we are capable of. That has been Glasswing for me.”
René Pineda’s story is the perfect example of how despite the extremely difficult circumstances these children find themselves in, things can change and they are changing. “Its proof that things can get better with support,” said Celina, explaining how balancing the violence, trauma and sense of urgency with hope is a constant challenge. “We want kids to have a fair shot, be safe and thrive in their communities,” she said, “That’s what we’re all here for.”
Photos: Samantha Nandez/BFA.com