We Are Family Foundation (WAFF) is a non-profit organization that’s dedicated to the vision of a global family by creating and supporting programs that promote cultural diversity while nurturing the vision, talents, and ideas of young people who are positively changing the world. The organization founded by legendary songwriter and producer Nile Rodgers, hosted its annual Celebration Gala, honoring Caryl M. Stern, Bill McDermott and Chaka Khan.
The gala is always one of our favorites to attend and that seems to be the same for others, as the attendees list continues to grow. This year, more than 500 guests attended to help raise money to support WAFF’s global youth initiatives, Three Dot Dash and TEDxTeen. These initiatives support, mentor and provide platforms for extraordinary global teens to amplify their social entrepreneurial work that positively impacts communities in more than 60 countries.
The night kicked off with a star-studded red carpet and cocktail hour where guests mingled while hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars before getting seated for dinner. As foodies, you know we had to check out the dinner, which was fabulous. We were dreaming about it all weekend.
MCs for ceremony were two of our favorites, Fox Good Day New York co-anchors, Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly. The dynamic duo are always entertaining on their morning show and brought that energy to the WAFF stage. Scotto was so kind enough to visit our instagram page to admire one of our photo by telling us she loved it.
One of the most touching and standout moments of the night was during Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award presentation when honoree Caryl M. Stern, President & CEO of The U.S. Fund for UNICEF, was introduced by her two sons James and Lee LaRosa. After a video introduction featuring her travels to aide children in refugee camps and her dedication to helping children across the world, Dr. Jeni Stepanek, mother of the late and amazing Mattie J.T. Stepanek whom the award is named after, started her introduction with a recording of a poem written and recited by Mattie. She shared that Stern and Mattie held similar beliefs in that all children should have the opportunity to achieve all dreams and they both embrace opportunities for peace. Stern, shared that it was her mother who instilled within her the belief that one person can make a difference. She dedicated her award to the four UNICEF aide workers who lost their lives in a bombing in Somalia earlier in the week, saying that they had dedicated their lives to ensuring children could have a better future. As someone who followed the life Mattie J.T. Stepanek from his many appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show, it was a honor to be in the room when his mom share such a positive message. The moment left many of my table mates teary eyed. We adore Mattie J.T. Stepanek.
Later in the night, Nile Rodgers presented Chaka Khan with the Humanitarian Award. After accepting the award, she joined Nile Rodgers and CHIC for three songs, “Feel For You”, “I’m Every Woman” and “Ain’t Nobody” with a special appearance by Grandmaster Melle Mel. Nile Rodgers and CHIC played their hits at the end of the night, including their new single “I’ll Be There, and ended with the audience joining the band on stage as they performed “We Are Family” and their signature song, “Le Freak”. We tried our best to get some personal video for you but we could not stop dancing. Could you blame us? Here is a short clip 🙂
For more information on We Are Family Foundation, please head over to wearefamilyfoundation.org/