"Here's a bad joke for you," Elsie McCabe Thompson, President of the Mission Society of New York City, said at their 96th annual Founding Families Gala. "What's the difference between a high school graduate and a college graduate? Well, the answer is a million dollars. That's the average lifetime earning gap!" Yes, it's a bad joke, but one that Mission takes to heart. Under McCabe Thompson's leadership for the last five years, Mission has been tackling the war on poverty with programs to inspire students to embrace learning. Monday night, at downtown's hip Capitale, Gala Co-Chairs Katrina Peebles, Stanley Rumbough, and Jean Shafiroff helped raise more than half a million dollars for them to do so.
Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller were Honorary Chairs. Gregory Worrell, President of Scholastic Education, delivered the keynote address. James B. Peterson and Nanda Prabhakar presented the Youth Trailblazer award to Alex Newell. Peggy Jacobs Bader and Hollis F. Russell presented the Community Luminary award to Philson Warner. Mission board members Jay Moorhead & Pamela J. Newman honored the late Ellsworth Stanton III with the Founders' Legacy Award, and Matthew W. Mamak, Chairman of the Board, delivered the night's Board Leadership remarks. DJ Ty Sunderland, comedian Dana Goldberg and Broadway stars Jonathan Burke, Nick Rashad Burroughs, and Alex Newell provided entertainment.
McCabe Thompson described her own learning disability battles to the room: "By seventh grade I was failing... I thought I had very little potential but thanks to a few kind individuals and my mom who understood that all young people are worthy, I charged forward despite dyslexia, dysgraphia and acute ADD. The only real difference, you may find surprising, between me and the children Mission serves, is that I had access to educational opportunity and a few adults who believed in me and saw potential even before I did — certainly before Harvard law school ever did."
Philson Warner and Alex Newell. (Photo: Owen Hoffmann/PMC)
The Minisink charter school that McCabe Thompson has been championing was recently authorized by the state to open in 2020. That means, she said, "Mission can take the blessings we have learned about delivering our award winning curriculum directly into the classroom. The school with its tiny class size of only 12 students per classroom and specialized hands on learning techniques will serve as an incubator for new ideas as to what is possible in public education for our city and for our country.Our next initiative is to expand to the K16 realm."
Yes, McCabe Thompson wants to put that million dollar potential into the hands of all. She wants to make her students the first in their families to go to college, the first to learn English and to create new civic leaders to carry on the work of lifting all to lift the nation.
She lifts up the lives of those who support Mission as well. "We're here tonight to change the lives of the children we serve," said Gala Co-Chair Jean Shafiroff.
Added Gala Co-Chair Katrina Peebles, "We could not be prouder to have you as our guests, and to stand behind the life-changing work of Mission."
For more information, visit www.missionsociety.org.