A living Legend
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter John Legend was in town for Steppingstone Scholars Inc.'s annual benefit, held May 7 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Cochaired by Jane and Allan Greenspan and Georgiana and Eric Noll, the "Step Into Spring" gala honored Steppingstone board member Constance H. Williams. Following a cocktail reception in the museum's Great Stair Hall, the event's 500 guests enjoyed dinner, a live auction, and a performance by Legend under a tent on the museum's East Terrace. The gala raised more than $600,000 for Steppingstone, which provides programs to prepare underserved schoolchildren for educational opportunities that lead to college.
The Fairmount Park Conservancy held its annual Centennial Celebration May 17 at the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park, raising nearly $385,000 for the nonprofit. The evening's 450 guests honored William Hankowsky of Liberty Property Trust; Gene Dilks of the Garden Club of America Philadelphia Committee; Steven Reiss of ACE USA; and Daniel F. Bradley of NovaCare Rehabilitation. Among the event's 450 guests were event cochairs John Binswanger, Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, and Leslie Anne Miller; and the conservancy's new director, Kathryn Ott Lovell, who started in her new position in March.
Wall to wall
Nearly 650 guests attended the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program's annual Wall Ball, held June 1 outdoors at the Piazza at Schmidts in Northern Liberties. The evening, which began with a sponsor party at Tendenza restaurant before the ball, featured DJ Nigel Richards of 611 Lifestyle and an after-party with dancing and entertainment by Cachet Ivy Dance Company and Jimmy Crack Corn Experiment, among others. The ball, which honored the Brownstein Group and Susan Sherman and Phyllis W. Beck of the Independence Foundation, raised a record $335,000, up from $265,000 last year.
The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia honored Vanguard Group founder John C. Bogle and Rosemary Turner of UPS at its annual benefit luncheon, held May 11 at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. Among the members of the Celebrate Hope! event committee were Betty Moran, William R. Sasso, Bill Giles, Natalye Paquin, and Raymond L. Welsh, chair of the Salvation Army advisory board. The lunch took a high-tech turn when master of ceremonies Denise Nakano of NBC10 asked guests to switch on their smartphones and text a pledge, resulting in $1,500 in pledges. The fund-raiser's 500 guests raised $155,000 for the nonprofit.
The Walnut Street Theatre held its 202d Anniversary Concert May 13 at the theater. The evening began with a concert that featured performances by local actors Melinda Chua, star of the theater's current production of Miss Saigon; Forrest McClendon, a 2011 Tony nominee for best actor in a featured role in a musical in The Scottsboro Boys; Jeff Coon; Kate Fahrner; and Denise Whelan. NBC10, the theater's media partner, and Diane Dalto Woosnam, former chair of the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, received the Edwin Forrest Award. Following the concert, a VIP after-party for 225 was held at Thomas Jefferson University's Sidney and Ethal Lubert Plaza. The gala raised $85,000 for the theater.