By Nathaniel Goehring
Alexandra Lebenthal, who was dubbed “The Queen of Wall Street” by Fortune Magazine, and her husband Jay Diamond are the honorary chairs and hosts of the Boys & Girls Club of the Bellport Area’s 12th Annual Beach Ball. The party will be held at their waterfront home in Bellport on Saturday June 20th.
The star-studded host committee includes Isabella Rossellini; fashion designer Dana Buchman; Amanda Burden, former director of the New York City Department of City Planning; Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein; Lucy Danziger, magazine editor and author; Bob Morris, writer and freelance journalist for New York Times; and Keith Pollock, Editor-in-Chief at Interview Magazine. Other supporters of the organization include Chuck Scarborough and Charlie Rose, who was 2014’s Master of Ceremonies.
This year the fete is themed “The Art of Summer,” and will kick off the season on the Great South Bay. The evening will feature both live and silent auctions, dinner, drinks, and dancing. The night will climax with a pyrotechnic show from Fireworks by Grucci, a sixth-generation Bellport family business that set the Guinness World Record for the “Largest Fireworks Display” ever recorded, when they released 479,651 fireworks on New Year’s Eve Dubai in 2013.
Auction items will include jewelry, fashion, home accessories, and artwork from an array of prestigious galleries. Past auction items have included work from photographer Harry Benson and pieces from Cheim & Read, as well as the Danziger Gallery.
“Beach Ball is a tremendous undertaking,” says Danielle Perillo, the Club’s Resource Development Director and one of the event’s primary architects. “As soon as June 21 comes we’re already thinking about ideas for next year.”
In 2014, Beach Ball raised upwards of $300,000 and it typically brings in an amount worth almost one-quarter of the Club’s annual operating expenses.
This nonprofit association serves over 700 underprivileged young people in Bellport, and relies on fundraising to maintain its vitality. In 2012, Perillo took charge writing grant requests and soliciting contributions from local groups and individuals.
In addition to Beach Ball, Perillo coordinates other Club events, including March’s Casino Night, and a 5K Race and Day for Kids in September. Perillo also took on the task of managing the Club’s ongoing $5 million endowment campaign, where one of her goals is to encourage donors to regularly contribute, beyond the much-needed donations received at their Beach Ball.
The Club’s mission is to inspire and enable all young people in the Bellport Area and the South Shore. In 2012, they completed a 28,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility in North Bellport which includes teen and junior game rooms, learning centers, and other facilities. Historically, the North Bellport neighborhood is a high-need area that has suffered chronic indications of community disorganization, poverty, crime, drug abuse, gang violence, academic failure, and high dropout rates.
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