The 14th annual Gridiron Gala at the Waldorf, presented by United Way of New York City along with the New York Jets and New York Giants, brought in a record-breaking $1.5 million on April 12 to support United Way's early education programs benefiting New York City's most vulnerable children.
Over 900 of New York's corporate and community leaders, plus 40 current Jets and Giants players and legends from both teams, attended the high-spirited event, now a New York tradition. This year's honorees were Hometown Heroes Jonathan Vilma, the Jets' inside linebacker, and Antonio Pierce, the Giants' middle linebacker.
Also honored were Community Quarterbacks Robert Catell, Chairman & CEO, Keyspan Corporation, and Douglas Durst, Co-President, The Durst Organization Inc. The champion sponsors of the gala were Bank of America, The Durst Organization, Keyspan and StructureTone.
United Way of New York City President and CEO Lawrence Mandell paid tribute to the honorees.
"United Way of New York City is so fortunate and grateful for the tireless commitment of these two great organizations, the New York Jets and the New York Giants," Mandell said. "These players and their organizations give of themselves again and again on behalf of this city, United Way early childhood programs and local civic projects. They show time and time again that they play to win, not only on the field but in our community."
The Gridiron Gala is United Way of New York City's largest annual event and was hosted this year by WNBC's Len Berman. In addition to a VIP cocktail party and gala dinner, attendees enjoyed a silent auction of sports memorabilia and were entertained by tap sensation Derick K. Grant and friends from Bring In 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk.
Mandell also extended warm thanks to gala co-chairs Tom Bow, Senior Vice President of Leasing, The Durst Organization, Inc; Louis Esposito, Chief Operating Officer, The Durst Organization, Inc; John Caroselli, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Keyspan Corporation, and Anthony M. Carvette, President, StructureTone, Inc.