Casita Maria’s Fiesta Gala 2023: A Night of Philanthropy, Unity, and Hope

Casita Maria’s Fiesta Gala 2023: A Night of Philanthropy, Unity, and Hope

Casita Maria's annual Fiesta Gala at The Plaza Hotel was a night to remember in the heart of New York City. The Charity Gala New York was hosted by Jacqueline Weld Drake, this spectacular event brought together both familiar faces and new friends, all committed to the mission of fostering growth and prosperity.

"I'm thrilled to see so many familiar faces and the excitement of new ones, as we continue our journey of growth and prosperity," said Jackie, expressing her gratitude. She extended a heartfelt thank you to the evening's co-chairs, including HRH Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, George Corton, Darlyn Portes, Sissi Fleitas, Lydia Forbes, Thomas C. Quick, and Jean Shafiroff. Additionally, a warm salute went to Felix Urrutia Jr., the newly appointed Executive Director of Casita Maria.

The gala attendees, elegantly dressed in black-tie attire, danced the night away to the captivating music of Bob Hardwick and his orchestra. The creative minds at Full Moon transformed the venue into a tropical paradise, immersing guests in a vibrant atmosphere.

Mary Snow, a long-standing tradition bearer, played host to the largest table in the room. Surrounded by friends, including Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin, Laura and Diego Garcia, Alexandra Lind Rose, Lesley Schulhof, and Marie Louise Slocum, the evening was filled with camaraderie and goodwill.

Casita Maria's Role and the Power of Support

Adding depth and significance to the evening, Felix Urrutia Jr. spoke passionately about Casita Maria's vital role in the South Bronx community. He emphasized the organization's daily efforts to support families facing challenges and the importance of providing them with attention, affirmation, and love. With generous support from individuals like those in attendance, Casita Maria can continue to be a beacon of hope and transformation.

Honoring Heroes of Impact

The gala also served as a platform to honor remarkable individuals making a positive impact. Grammy Winning Producer Nelson J. Albareda, former U.S. They recognized Ambassador to Morocco David Fischer, philanthropist Jennifer Fischer, and SOMOS Community Care Founder Dr. Ramon Tallaj for their outstanding contributions. Jennifer Fischer shared, "David and I have dedicated our lives to shaping the future of our children. Whether it's providing jobs, boosting self-esteem, or offering a moment's respite, Casita Maria embodies this dream to the fullest. We are deeply honored." Nelson J. Albareda expressed his appreciation for an organization that empowers the Latino community.

Distinguished guests, including Board Members and Trustees such as Martha Bograd, Miguel A. Fuentes Jr., Michéle Gerber Klein, Patrick Moran, Gautam Patel, Benigno Rodriguez-Cubeñas, and many more, graced the event with their presence.

Fostering Hope and Community

Casita Maria stands as a symbol of hope and community, dedicated to enriching the lives of youth and families through cultural, artistic, and educational experiences and programs. Established in 1934 by Claire and Elizabeth Sullivan, it was the first charitable organization to serve Latinos in New York City. Today, it continues to fulfill its mission, offering support to predominantly Latino youth and families in the Bronx's Hunts Point community.

Casita Maria's Expansion in 2009

In 2009, Casita Maria achieved a significant milestone with the inauguration of a state-of-the-art facility on its Simpson Street campus, spanning 90,000 square feet across six stories. This collaboration with the Department of Education has expanded Casita Maria's capacity to excel as a center of excellence, offering performance spaces, exhibition galleries, dance and music studios, and more.

Your Role in Casita Maria's Mission

Your support and generosity enable Casita Maria to continue its vital mission, making a meaningful difference in the lives of countless individuals and families. Together, we can uplift and empower our community, providing the attention, affirmation, and love that every individual deserves. Thank you for being part of the Casita Maria family and helping us create a brighter future for all.

Photo Credits – Jared Siskin & Dave Kotinsky

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