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Philanthropy Is A Picnic For Planned Parenthood Patrons

Originally Posted: May 28, 2009

Douglas MacKaye Harrington

  |   4 Comments · Print Article

Masters of Ceremonies Isaac Mizrahi and Barry Sonnenfeld at the 'Picnic For Planned Parenthood' held in Bridghampton. Photos by Douglas Harrington

Bridgehampton - East End supporters of Planned Parenthood got together in Bridgehampton on Sunday, May 24 in support of the nation's seminal non-profit organization dedicated to the defense of and support for birth control and abortion rights, comprehensive sex education and access to affordable health care. Billed as the "Picnic For Planned Parenthood," several hundred humanistic altruists gathered at the beautiful estate of Hamptons Cottages & Gardens publishers Eileen and Richard Ekstract.

The Ellen O'Neill, English Country Antiques table.

Under the canopy of a very large tent, the festivities were accentuated by displays of designer picnic tables and picnic baskets that could be bid on as part of a silent auction. Uniquely themed, the tables ran the gambit from understated elegance to wildly opulent and eccentric. The tables were designed by Greg Turpan, Lisa Perry, Jonathan Adler, Ruby Beets, Richard Ekstract, Home James, Richard Mishann, Kravet, Fisher Interiors with John Bjorner and Sylvester & Co., among others.

The baskets were donated by local Hamptons' businesses including Loaves and Fishes, Green Thumb, Mixed Media and Jonathan Adler. Another source of fundraising at the event was a series of over-sized beach towels, framed like paintings, that were designed by local East End artists that included Alex Katz, Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha and Raymond Pettibone.

The event's Masters of Ceremonies included producer/director Barry Sonnenfeld and artist/designer Isaac Mizrahi, characters both, whom with all good nature urged on the attendees to up the bids on the silent auction items of one-of-a-kind designer picnic tables and specialty picnic baskets. Hi-tech designer/consultant Turpan took a few turns at the microphone as well.

Event host Eileen Ekstract and Ann Feldsamtein.

This event was fun filled and well attended, yet the seriousness of the cause was not lost on the attendees. As event hostess Eileen Ekstract explained, "When you go the website, go to the teenage page as I did just yesterday, and read the kind of questions these kids are asking, it is amazing. These teenage girls were asking things you'd think they should know, about their period, about sex. Things you would think they would know from their mothers, but they don't know them. So you see, Planned Parenthood needs our support more than ever."

The local staff of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, Inc., which services Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties, were thrilled to have Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and daughter of former Texas Governor Anne Richards, at the Bridgehampton fundraiser. When asked to comment on the impact that the economy was having on the need for the services that Planned Parenthood provides to their clients, she responded "We are seeing more women coming to us who have lost their jobs, lost their health insurance, or simply don't have the money to pay for health care anymore and we are there to meet their needs. So having this kind of outpouring of support this weekend in the Hamptons is more important this year than in any other year."

Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America with PPHP staffers Kathleen Tait, Valerie McCarthy and Annette Cumming.

Richards further indicated that Planned Parenthood has served the needs of women in the Hamptons as well. "I believe this affiliate has had a presence for 75 years. I think this chapter this year will provide health care services [in Suffolk County] to 25,000 people."

Further noting that she she saw a positive effect from this year's change in the presidential administration from Bush to Obama, Richards stated "It is wonderful to have a President who supports women's health. He is a strong ally with Planned Parenthood. We have already seen more support for family planning and a much more logical support for sex education, so we can make sure we can prevent teen pregnancy."

If the idea of an organization like Planned Parenthood having a presence in the East End for 75 years surprises anyone - it should not. It was founded by one of the nation's first feminists and an American hero, Margaret Sanger, who established the first birth control clinic in America in Brooklyn in 1916. She was imprisoned for 30 days, unheard of for a woman other than a prostitute at the time, and her appeal was not heard until 1918 in a court decision that essentially, thanks to this courageous woman, legalized birth control in America. The organization that we now call Planned Parenthood was founded by Sanger as the American Birth Control League in 1921.

The Maison 24 table was one of the tables offering designer picnic baskets.

In the microcosm of privilege we call the Hamptons, altruism for real human needs in a very difficult economy thankfully coexists with our understandable concern for the environment and the creatures that inhabit it. No better exemplified than by the turn-out for the Ekstract hosted event.

For further information go to www.pphp.org.

Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com Hamptons HamptonsOnline HamptonsOnline


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Guest (Schnell) from east hampton says::
It is sad to see our women celebrating in wealth over money hungry Planned Parenthood as it continues to take $500 mil is tax dollars and promote abuses of women, children, and fathers.
Jul 30, 2013 8:46 am

Guest (jm) from long island says::
I believe you are correct about Margaret Sanger, and at the same time, girls today of all colors and religions seem to know just as little as I did at their age. I know I really needed someone to turn to and had no one. Not everyone has a caring, open family. We can't disregard today's Planned Parenthood because of one woman's delusions of over a century ago. There are too many girls (and women) who need some knowledge.
Jun 9, 2009 11:53 am

Guest (mother of two) from east hampton says::
With all arguments of "choice" aside, I wonder how many of the guests at this event realized just who Margaret Sanger was, what she believed and proposed with her philosophy. She was often affilitated with the KKK, inspired Hitler with her, "Eugenic" based philosophy of "murdering socially undesirable people." The word is based on a term used to refer to the science of heredity and good breeding in 1883. She especially advocated abortions on Afro-Americans in order to eliminate what she called, "socially undesirable people." To see all these smiling faces posing for the camera makes me ill. I truly don't believe any of them are aware of whom they are supporting, or her ideals which came to be the Planned Parenthood of today. A fish stinks from the head.
May 30, 2009 8:57 am

Guest (Karen) from Long Island says::
I applied for a position and was interviewed and not hired because I am not bilingual. English/Spanish. I only speak English but would have definitely been an asset to their organization. Planned Parenthood is a very important organization for teens.
May 30, 2009 3:26 am


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