Under suspended strings of glistening snowflakes, the glitterati gathered for UNICEF’s 9th annual Snowflake Ball at Gotham’s Cipriani Wall Street on Dec. 3. “Every single snowflake up there, like every child, is special and unique,” emcee Bryant Gumbel explained. “There are 18,000 snowflakes; they represent the 18,000 children who die each and every day from preventable causes. Our job is to get that number to zero.”
This year UNICEF gave special recognition to actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover with the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award, and CEO of Barneys New York Mark Lee with the Spirit of Compassion Award. Hepburn’s son and co-founder of the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund, Luca Dotti, presented Glover with the honor.
“Pictures of Audrey Hepburn were the first pictures that endeared me to the work of UNICEF. In those isolated moments you could see, emanating from her heart, her passion for the welfare of children,” Glover said. He then humbly turned the spotlight onto members of the UNICEF team, his wife Eliane, his friends, and 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East, for all contributing to his philanthropic efforts over the years.
Filled with emotion, before leaving the stage he said, “Those moments of traveling down the Amazon with my wife, visiting the Shipibo people… or in Cartagena using soccer as a way of conflict resolution… all these memories are with me wherever I have been on behalf of this great organization, which nurtures and embraces children and tells them in the most profound way, not by words, but by decent action, ‘we love you.’”
Guests dined on a menu by Marcus Samuelsson and Amanda Freitag while Sotheby’s Courtney Booth hosted a live auction featuring concert packages from Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Katy Perry. UNICEF Ambassadors Tyson Chandler, Angie Harmon, Téa Leoni, Mark Consuelos, Katie Couric, Jenna Bush Hager, and Christina Ricci were in attendance. Katy Perry concluded the evening with a three-song set, including “Unconditional” which was inspired by her UNICEF mission in Madagascar.