$1.2 Million Raised at 25th Annual Benefit Dinner

Harry Connick, Jr. said he was “honored and humbled” to be performing for a room of “good-hearted people” on Tuesday night at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich for a benefit for Fairfield County’s Inner-City Foundation for Charity & Education. The annual benefit provides critical funding for the charity’s support of programs serving the neediest adults and children in Fairfield County. This year marked the charity’s 25th annual benefit dinner.

“It was very special to see Harry Connick, Jr. in such an intimate setting,” said Richard T. Stone, Executive Director for The Inner-City Foundation for Charity & Education, “since he regularly sells out much larger venues around the world. It was a very hot ticket, and we were sold out.”  Dave Price, the master of ceremonies at the event and Emmy award winning television personality from WNBC-TV, commented from the stage that it was not only rare to have Harry Connick, Jr. performing, but also to see him joining the crowd for dinner before the show.

The crowd seemed thrilled by the performance, which included some classic New Orleans jazz music and favorite big band standards like “It Had to Be You.”

The Inner-City Foundation hopes that the excitement generated by Harry’s performance will continue to boost donations: their 25th year fundraising goal is to raise $2.5 million this year – more than twice what they typically raise in a year. The benefit raised about $1 million.

“We’re so grateful to everyone who came out to our help us celebrate our 25th anniversary with Harry Connick, Jr.,” says Stone. “But we’re still actively seeking donations.  We have a long way to go to meet our 25th year goal. Need is up in Fairfield County, it’s not all gold coast – 28 percent of the residents in this county can’t meet the basic cost of living to be here!”

The centerpieces at the event were made from fresh produce and packaged goods provided by Tarry Market of Port Chester, New York.  The food was donated at the end of the evening to The New Covenant Center in Stamford, our area’s largest soup kitchen and food pantry and the only one serving three meals a day, 365 days a year.

Barbara & Ray Dalio, Bill Mitchell and Jack Welch were Honorary Chairs of Tuesday’s event.  Bill Mitchell was honored with a special video tribute as he will retire from The Inner-City’s Board of Directors this year after 19 years of enthusiastic and fruitful service.  A scholarship fund was created by The Inner-City Foundation in his name, and introduced to the crowd at the benefit.

The Mitchell Family chaired the Benefit Committee along with co-chairs Audrey & Daniel Dornier, Helen & Dan FitzPatrick, and Vilma & Dick Matteis.  Bill Tommins of Bank of America was chair of the Corporate Committee, and Joe Lane and Brian Moran are co-chairing the 25 for 25 Campaign, the cornerstone of the charity’s 25th year appeal.

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