Celebrating Support for Our No-Kill Promise
Bouquets of yellow roses bloomed on the tables. Puppies and kittens charmed both celebrities and on-lookers on our blue carpet. An array of auction items — from delicate jewelry to sports memorabilia to high-tech “smart speakers” — lured eager bidders.
In other words, it was another successful Lewyt Humane Awards Luncheon — the 16th, to be precise — held on June 14 amid glittering chandeliers at Leonard’s Palazzo, in Great Neck, N.Y. The day’s theme was our no-kill vision, with net proceeds from the event supporting our capital campaign for Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center, or BFF as we affectionately call it.
For the fourth consecutive year, our friend and widely respected philanthropist Sandra Atlas Bass chaired the event, which began with an update on BFF from Senior Vice President of Operations Joanne Yohannan, who announced that, barring unforeseeable problems, construction would begin this summer.
Popular sportscaster and producer Alexa Datt, hosted the luncheon, sharing anecdotes about her Animal League America canine, Bear, before introducing President J. John Stevenson, who spoke in moving detail about just a few of the lives our no-kill promise has recently transformed. He also described the May rescue of 16 dogs from the horrific dog meat “festival” in Yulin, China. “The fact that we were able to save these dogs gave everyone at Animal League America a renewed sense of hope,” he said, “which we want to share with you, the people who make such rescues possible.”
Following his speech, President Stevenson presented the prestigious Sandra Atlas Bass Philanthropist Award to Yasuko Yamaguchi, a longtime donor, adopter, rescuer, and member of our Board of Directors.
Images courtesy Lisa Anselmo and Ted Lim.
Volunteer, Foster Parent, and Animal League America National Spokesperson Beth Stern then took the stage to thank the audience for its steadfast support of BFF and to explain the important role media outlets play in helping homeless animals find responsible, loving families. As our National Spokesperson, Beth presented the Media Award of Distinction to television station PIX-11 for its longstanding support of our events and mission. “News in New York” anchor Tamsen Fadel, who is also a member of our Anipal Program, accepted the award on behalf of her colleagues at PIX-11.
Our good friend Brian Balthazar — comic, TV producer, and expert on pop culture — entertained the audience with a selection of viral animal videos as well as a freewheeling commentary on our Lord & Taylor fashion show.
To close the event, the Scarlett Award for Animal Heroism was presented to Tori and Dean and their adopter, Edith Mock. Tori and Dean, a bonded pair of canines from Kentucky, share a deep and supportive relationship. Tori, who was born blind, has depended on Dean for guidance since the day they met. Together, Tori and Dean provide yet another insight into the rich relationships our animals share.
We extend special thanks to our sponsors:
Mel Karmazin Foundation • Northwell Health
Thanks also to our friends at Lord & Taylor for providing the fashions for our runway show.