Soledad O'Brien along with her husband Brad Raymond will host the annual fundraising event, "New Orleans to New York City Gala" on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at Espace in New York. The celebration is the biggest night of the year for the Starfish Foundation, created to provide promising young women a bridge between obstacles and opportunities.
Party guests will enjoy a cocktail reception followed by the evening's festivities which will include a special music performance by members of the Grammy Award-Winning trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and members of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. The event is proudly sponsored by American Family Insurance.
"We are excited to host The New Orleans to New York City Gala for the fourth consecutive year," said O'Brien. "It is always a great gathering as we honor our scholars and the commitment they've shown to pursuing their education. I look forward to celebrating with them and our supporters in a festive evening."
The annual gala will begin with an outdoor cocktail reception at 6:00 p.m., preceded by main event and concert at 7:00 p.m. All proceeds from ticket sales for the "New Orleans to New York City Gala" will fund scholarships for young women awarded by the Soledad O'Brien and Brad Raymond Starfish Foundation.
After witnessing the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2006, O'Brien and Raymond began privately awarding scholarships to young women who didn't have the resources for success. As their efforts grew, they officially formed the Starfish Foundation to expand their reach and help even more young women. Today the Starfish Foundation provides scholarships to disadvantaged young women in under-served communities and is committed to giving more than just financial assistance to its scholarship honorees. The Foundation creates a customized support program for each participant that reflects that person's specific needs. To date, they have provided support to 28 young women.
O'Brien is an award-winning journalist – she has been a writer, producer, reporter and a TV news anchor for NBC stations locally, NBC network news and CNN. About a year ago, O'Brien left CNN to start her own production and distribution company called Starfish Media Group. The company focuses on telling stories that often fly under the radar. O'Brien has won many awards including three Emmys she won for reporting in Haiti, Hurricane Katrina and the 2012 election. She's traveled the globe telling stories, but her two favorite places are New Orleans where her Foundation was launched after Hurricane Katrina and New York City where she lives with her husband and four kids.