Good Friends Gala at Girard College 3/4/11

The great financier Stephen Girard left the bulk of his fortune to the City of Philadelphia to build and operate a residential school for needy children from single parent households. His vision is Girard College, which sits on Girard Ave at the edge of North Philadelphia.
For more than 160 years, Girard College has provided excellence in residential education for children from single-parent families of limited financial resources. We have been able to remain tuition-free since we opened in 1848, thanks to the Girard Estate, which provides most – but not all – of the funding needed to cover the costs associated with educating and housing our students in grades 1 through 12.Last Friday evening Girard College held their annual “Good Friends Gala” honoring Willie F. Johnson with the Corinthian Award for his support and dedication to Girard College and it’s mission to provide a good education for limited financially challenged kids from a single parent home. Willie F Johnson above with some students. Above Diana and Murvin Lackey walk the red carpet into the party. I love when an event has a red carpet as it sets the tone that this is a special event.
The catering and decorations were done by Cescaphe Event Group, entertainment by EBE Talent, and a special performance by Philadelphia’s Tymes.
The students of Girard College greet the guests. The money raised at this event benefits the school and programs that enhance their learning.
Rick and Gloria HawkinsPamela Browner-White, Philadelphia Eagles Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations, Jeremiah White, Chairman, Osiris Group Inc of Osiris Group Inc”s.
Andrew Greenblatt, Executive Director / CEO at The Philadelphia Film Society and Melissa Grimm.
Mia Tinari, Dave Fisher and Nina Tinari. Mia is branching out into the entertainment field at the law office that she shares with her dad, Nino V. Tinari & Assocs. so if you’re in the entertainment field and you need representation give her a call. It’s coming up to a year since her beautiful wedding to Dave Fisher at the Curtis Center, which is a great place to have a wedding with one of my favorite caterer Cescaphé . If I weren’t so tired I could have had some delish Cescaphé last night at the Addys, where my friend Annie Heckenberger picked up one for an advertisement she created last year. Congrats babe.
Brian Seaman and Jeff Kummer, you’ll remember this duo from the Wilma gala a few weeks ago. Jeff and his biz partner Mike Reid (Gray Space Decor), decorated the Doubletree Ballroom as Moulin Rouge.
A super turn out to help the kids achieve their educational goals turned out in droves.
Christian DiCicco, Sen Larry Farnese and Diane Johnson. Christian has one of the best URL’s for an attorney that I know of succinct and to the point. So if you need to see a bankruptcy attorney you know where to go.
William Darrah and Ashley Via. I believe these two need to photographed throughout the summer for PhillyChitChat. Very stylish and mysterious. I can tell a lot of fun too.
John Egan, Sen Larry Farnese, Carol Tinari and Bernard Smalley
a Shareholder at Anapol Schwartz, is known for his personable style, which allows him to represent his clients effectively, and in a spirit of cooperation. John, Carol and Bernard were co-chairs for tonight’s gala.
After a decent cocktail hour with signature drinks and the delicious food that is always served in abundance by Cescaphé (lot’s of seafood, and the largest shrimp I’ve ever seen.)
John Egan, Co-Chair of the gala, addresses the crowd
Renee Chenault-Fattah was the mistress of ceremonies for the evening. In the three years I have been PhillyChitChat this was the first time I saw her. She’s usually low key, but this event is very important to the future of the education for these kids and she was gracious enough to appear.
Willie Johnson after delivering a spirited speech on how important education is to achieve the goals in your life. President of Girard College Autumn Atkins Graves (Who will be participating in Dancing with the Philadelphia Stars to benefit Sickle Cell Anemia on April 10)
Co-Chair Thomas Leonard, co-chair Bernard Smalley, Honoree Willie Johnson and co-chair Carol Tinari
Carol was given flowers for all her tireless work in putting on this event. Asking many of her friends and business associates to support this cause that she truly believes in. Everyone from the caterer to the band to her friends immediately said yes and were on board.
Standout students Damon Diggs class of 2011 and Aaliyah Ahmed class of 2012. Aaluyah came to Girard when she was in 2nd grade as her mother thought it would be a safe environment and encourage them to go to college, and she was right. Aaliyah says that Girard has instilled in her passion and determination. Damon came to Girard in first grade “Girard made me beomce more independent and self-motivated,” and he doesn’t think he would have been able to discover who he really was if he hadn’t been educated at Girard. Both of them assisted at the live auction where
An excellent job was done by auctioneer Jeff Hammond who through his skill was able to raise over $50,000 in the live auction. One of my favorite moments of the auction was when services were auction off, for example health insurance for the kids is nearly $3000 a month and two people bid to that amount to cover a month each. Or $250 for art supplies, about 20 people could meet that need. $100 for something else and nearly 30 people met that need. Very clever and a great idea for other charities to think about doing.Dinner. Surf and turf. I was able to sit with the Tinari’s which is always a treat.
Joann Bell, Len Ward and Maxine and Linton Ward visit with each other
After dinner it was on to dancing and dessert
This was the first year that they held the event at the College and I think it was a smashing success. I’m sure for the guests it adds value to their experience to have the party in the historic Founders Hall which was the original classroom building for Girard College. Today this National Historic Landmark houses two museum collections and the archives of Stephen Girard.Some of the staff of Girard College were a great help that evening

You can help Girard College out by having your next event here. There’s parking, a lot of space, several rooms and it’s historic. A great event space to have a wedding too.