On Saturday, August 6th, All Star Code hosted its Third Annual Summer Benefit to raise funds and awareness of the organization’s mission. All Star Code raised more than $740,000 at the sold out benefit.
The rain held off throughout cocktails, so guests could enjoy the ocean view and play with the student-designed interactive game stations. All Star Code students and alums from all three years of the Summer Intensive program designed and ran the gaming stations. This year’s featured stations included Trigger Safe, a security technology for firearms that uses fingerprint scans to avoid improper use, the the All Star Website Showcase, and The Young Hackers, where guests got to experience what it’s like to organize and attend a hackathon as well as learn about the history, mission and future plans of The Young Hackers. Djassi and Zaire had a particularly popular station with Finchlympics, where guests competed in three games with Finch robots.
Dinner followed provided by Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem and awards ceremony with Master of Ceremonies, Maurice DuBois, award winning anchor of CBS. Previous honoree and 2016 Summer Benefit Co-Chair, Frank A. Baker, presented the Visionary Award to Hilton Romanski, Chief Strategy Officer of Cisco, for his outstanding work in the tech sector.
Elliott Breece, Product Manager at Google Play and co-founder of Songza, received the Community Award presented by previous recipient and Google colleague, Marcus Mitchell. Elliott shared the critical importance of the tech industry and our students’ place within it saying that, “The world around us is being rebuilt with 1s and 0s, an increasingly connected and digital world. It’s natural that the people who are rebuilding this world will at some level rebuild it in their own image. It’s critical that young men of color are among the most active builders.”
Co-Chair Valentino D. Carlotti welcomed All Star Code’s Founder & Executive Director, Christina Lewis Halpern, to the stage. Christina spoke to the crowd of over 300 people about the core tenets that All Star Code embodies: Dare Greatly, Celebrate Failure, and Tell Your Story. She spoke about All Star Code’s mission saying, “We empower our students to attack new problems with confidence. We give them the tools to work on problems that lie beyond what they’ve already done. We give them the skills, networks, and mindset to create new futures through technology. What we want, really, is for them to figure out the future.” And we believe that they will meet the challenge.
All Star Code alumnus and current Summer Intensive Teaching Fellow, John Abreu, walked the crowd through his journey of finding All Star Code, and eloquently explained how the program has changed his future career path. Abreu will be attending Boston College this fall. “I believe the true value of this program lies in its placement of young men of color, with ambitions greater than their opportunities, in an industry that drives innovation around the world. An industry where people like me are the overwhelming minority,” John said.
The evening closed with an exciting live auction presided over by auctioneer Alex Berggruen of Christie’s raising over $70,000. Attendees took over the dance floor with MICK keeping the party lit until the lights under the tent dimimed, and another Summer Benefit was successfully behind us.
Countless notable celebrities and personalities took part in the evening including: Jessica White, Maurice DuBois, Jay Williams, Elliott Breece, Hilton Romanski, Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages, Dr. Nadia Lopez, Anna Throne-Holst, MICK, Alma and Charles Rangel, David N. Dinkins, Founder & Executive Director Christina Lewis Halpern, and Co-chairs Frank A. Baker, Valentino D. Carlotti, and Loida Nicolas Lewis.
A special thanks to the Benefit Co-Chairs, Event Committee Members, guests, supporters, and Alimay Events for making the evening such a success!
Check out all of the photos from the event.