With its anticipated 2020 arrival on the borough’s Harlem River waterfront, the Bronx Children’s Museum raised a massive $500,000 during its third annual benefit gala on Tuesday, May 7, at Manhattan’s Gotham Hall.
Dedicated to the children of the Bronx past, present and future, the gala honored and celebrated some of the borough’s most notable like: famed acting icon Rita Moreno, hip-hop production mogul Shawn ‘Pecas’ Costner, gala co-chair Kerry Washington, The View’s Sunny Hostin, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., actress Sonia Manzano, formerly ‘Maria’ of Sesame Street, and Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria.
Hostin was once again hosting the evening, while Moreno delighted guests with a personal story of her arrival in the Bronx as a young child from Puerto Rico, and encouraged those in the audience to dream big.
“It is important for all children to have a museum available to them for every reason in the world that you can think of for creative reasons or reasons of curiosity, “ said Moreno.
Currently, the Bronx Children’s museum functions as a ‘museum without walls,’ serving almost 18,000 Bronx youngsters annually.
It’s through innovative mobile programming that the wall-less museum engages children and adults in the arts and sciences using its bus as a roving learning environment. The museum also has temporary exhibits and ongoing afterschool and summer programming throughout the borough at community based organizations, schools, shelters, libraries, local festivals and parks.
The evening of the gala, the borough president had the pleasure of introducing his friend and the ‘Roc Nation’ executive and hip-hop community leader Costner to the stage, presenting him with one of the 2019 Bronx Children’s Museum Imagination Awards given out that evening.
After that, Diaz shared very kind words regarding the museum and its mission.
“I am so proud of the work being done by Bronx Children’s Museum. We believe in this vision because we know what happens when you give a Bronx girl or a Bronx boy an opportunity,” Diaz said.
He continued on, saying how ‘Bronx DNA’ and an opportunity to conquer the world do go hand in hand.
“It allows them to dream, to expand their imagination,” Diaz said.
Other attendees included Councilwoman Vanessa L. Gibson, philanthropist Amber Sabathia, the Voice of New York, Angie Martinez, former Def Jam executive Steve Bartels and retired New York Giants wide out, Victor Cruz.
Also honored was prolific landscape architect Jonathan Marvel, who was a notable force behind the Bronx’s Mill Pond Park.
Marvel’s own ecological marvel will eventually neighbor the museum in roughly a year.
Currently, he’s also piloting some ambitious solar energy projects in his native Puerto Rico in response to the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Another highlight of the evening was an endearing dance routine performed by four second grade children in the museum’s Dream Big After School program, which of course prompted a standing ovation.
The evening concluded with a performance by Sanabria, which brought the enthusiastic audience to the dance floor.