Six ‘barrier breakers’ honored by New York Women’s Foundation

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More than 2,200 supporters from community, philanthropy and business joined The New York Women’s Foundation (The Foundation) on May 14 to honor six leaders whose vision, energy and achievements have had a transformative effect on communities in New York City and beyond.

The Breakfast also honored The Foundation’s grantee partners—dynamic community organizations working to advance economic, gender and racial justice.

The 2019 Celebrating Women® Breakfast recognized Abigail E. Disney, philanthropist, filmmaker, activist and Chair Emerita of The New York Women’s Foundation Board, with the Century Award for her courageous efforts in fighting economic inequality and storytelling that fosters human understanding, peace and justice.

These barrier breakers were awarded with Celebrating Women Awards: dream hampton, filmmaker, writer, organizer and executive producer of “Surviving R. Kelly;” Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, President of the Creative Justice Initiative and Founder of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute; and Sarinya Srisakul, the first Asian-American woman FDNY firefighter and former President of the United Women Firefighters Association of New York City.

Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award-winning artist Cyndi Lauper, Co-Founder of True Colors United, and Rhonda Joy McLean, attorney, author, philanthropist and former Board Co-Chair of The New York Women’s Foundation, were recognized for their charitable endeavors and advocacy with Vision Awards for Philanthropy.

The awards were presented by Tarana Burke, Founder and leader of the Me Too Movement; Ms. Disney; Catherine Gund, filmmaker and activist; Foundation Board Members Anne Delaney and Ayo Roach; and Marjorie Cadogan, former Board Member.

Ana Oliveira, President and CEO of The Foundation, said, “The Celebrating Women® Breakfast is a testament to the power of radical generosity. Our honorees, grantee partners and supporters understand how collective action is key to building the world we want to see right now. The Breakfast celebrates women’s leadership as activists, movement-builders, problem solvers, advocates and philanthropists, and it builds energy to keep moving forward together to advance a more just future for women, girls and LGBTQI individuals.”

The celebration opened with a performance by students from Developing Artists, whose mission provides opportunities for underserved teens to proclaim themselves as artists and activists and to reach their full potential through the performing arts.

The annual Celebrating Women® Breakfast raises funds for The New York Women’s Foundation. The Foundation’s grantmaking places it at the top of public women’s funds in the United States and in the top two in the world.