Citymeals-on-Wheels 26th Annual “Power Lunch for Women”

Broadway World
Photo Flash: Audra McDonald, Bette Midler and More at CityMeals on Wheels’ 26th Annual Power Lunch for Women
December 4, 2012

More than 350 women — leaders of industry, media, government, and the arts – gathered at The Plaza Hotel this afternoon for the Citymeals-on-Wheels 26th Annual “Power Lunch for Women.” This by-invitation-only benefit, emceed by the “Good Morning America” Lifestyle Anchor Lara Spencer, raised over $1.1 million, or enough to provide more than 177,000 meals for New York’s frail homebound aged. Scroll below for photos from the event!

Emmy Award-winning journalist Paula Zahn was honored for her commitment to the city’s homebound elderly. Randi & Dennis Riese, of The Riese Organization, were also honored for their dedication to Citymeals. Mr. Riese is a long-serving member of the Citymeals-on-Wheels Board of Directors. Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald performed “Make Someone Happy.”

Among this year’s lunching ladies were Karen Allen, Donatella Arpaia, Cindy Barshop, Betsy Bernardaud, Sharon Bush, Anne Cohen, Laura Day, Michele Oka Doner, Sharon Epperson, Dasha Epstein, Roberta Flack (her new albums include Let It Be Roberta – Roberta Flack Sings The Beatles and Christmas Songs), Gael Greene, Jamee Gregory, Donna Hanover, Joan Helpern, Jill Herzig, Caroline Hirsch, Dana Ivey, Suri Kasirer, Rikki Klieman, Barbara Lazaroff, Alexandra Lebenthal, Sandra Lee, Margo MacNabb Nederlander, Trish McEvoy, , Liz Neumark, Karen Page, Betty Rollin, Silda Wall Spitzer, Emily Tisch Sussman, Marcy Syms, Diana L. Taylor, Lillian Vernon, and Patricia Wexler, among others.

A few adventurous men bought the privilege of dining with these powerful and famous women for an admission price of $10,000. This year’s “$10K Men” included Bill Bratton, Ed Brown, Millard Drexler, Bill Fischer, Michael Lynne, Craig Pfeiffer, John Shapiro, Bronson Van Wyck, John Zaccaro, and Steven B. Zavagli. Other “$10K Men” who contributed but were unable to attend included Jeffrey Bliss, Henry Buhl, Jeffrey Chodorow, Joseph M. Cohen, Peter Ekelund, Robert Grimes, Steve Hanson, John Pomerantz, and Donald Tober.

Also given special recognition at the lunch was former New York Times reporter Dorothy Gaiter. Gaiter wrote the seminal article in November 1981 about how the city’s funds to feed the homebound elderly did not cover weekends and holidays that was read by Citymeals co-founder Gael Greene and eventually led to the start of Citymeals-on-Wheels.

One hundred percent of the money raised from ticket and auction sales at Power Lunch, and all Citymeals events, goes to the preparation and delivery of nutritious meals to homebound elderly in the five boroughs of New York City.

Gael Greene served as auctioneer for the special live auction of a seven-course dinner party in the winner’s own home from Chef Ed Brown. Roberta Flack made an on-the-spot announcement that she would serenade anyone who paid $20,000 for CheF Brown’s dinner party. The item sold twice.

Silent auction items included a trunk filled with Bobbi Brown’s favorite skincare and makeup along with Bobbi’s Makeup Manual and brush set, donated by Bobbi Brown; an in-home five-course dinner party for six with Aureole Executive Chef Marcus Ware, donated by Aureole New York; a private guided tour of the Manhattan headquarters of fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg and a $1,000 gift certificate, donated by Diane Von Furstenberg; two tickets to the show during Fall/Winter 2013 Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, donated by Carolina Herrera; and a two night stay for two, including breakfast, at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London, dinner for two in Bar Boulud with wine pairings, and two tickets to THE BODYGUARD, donated by the Mandarin Oriental, Bar Boulud and the Nederlander Producing Co. of America.

Founded in 1981, Citymeals-on-Wheels is a not-for-profit organization that raises private funds to prepare and deliver weekend, holiday and emergency meals to the homebound elderly throughout the boroughs of New York City. Last year, Citymeals underwrote the preparation and delivery of over 1.8 million meals to nearly 17,000 aged New Yorkers. One hundred percent of donations from the public to Citymeals goes toward the preparation and delivery of meals for homebound elderly. For more information, visit

Arrivals photo credit: Alan Barnett Photography; luncheon photo credit: Star Black.

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