On April 30, at our 74th New York Annual Gala, I told the audience of more than 460 people this story…
“A friend of mine is the President of a nonprofit organization here in New York. About a month ago, he had an appointment to ask for a large donation from a prospect he didn’t know, who was the President of a bank.
Now, for the past month, I have had a recurring nightmare. I am in the subway and I see Mr. Guy Chiarello, Man of the Year tonight and President of First Data, having trouble with his MetroCard. I run towards him. But I run the way you would in nightmares - slowly, while everything around you moves quickly. In my dream, before I can reach Guy, my friend swipes his card for him and says... “Pay it forward, sir."
Then, looking at Mr. Chiarello, I said, “I don't know how you are getting back home tonight, but if you are taking the subway... know that I am ready!” And I showed him the seven MetroCards you see in the photo above.
Well, it turned out that thanks to the generosity of our three honorees, Guy Chiarello, Sal Cucchiara, and Kassy Kebede, we broke all previous fundraising records and raised more than $1 million dollars for the young people of our Towns. And I didn’t even have to use my MetroCards!
I am so grateful to all those who attended and contributed to this successful evening. You are enabling us to provide a chance in life to even more at-risk children around the world.
P.S. Should you ever need a ride on the subway, you know where to find me...