SoBRO Festivities, Feathers, Finery
Help Build a Better Bronx
By Edward T. Callaghan
Photos by Karl Crutchfield
OPACABANA was the glamorous setting for the 33rd annual SoBRO gala, always one of the liveliest parties of the season. From the moment the chicly attired crowd swarmed into the cocktail room, it was clear everyone was intent on celebrating the enormous successes of the South Bronx Overall Development Corporation (SoBRO) and this year’s honorees Marc Jahr of Citibank NA, Barry Milea of Milea Trucking Sales and Dr. Carolyn G. Williams, president of Bronx Community College.
Following the invocation by Rev. Daniel Dupree, WNBC’s Monica Morales introduced Jino Ray, director of SoBRO’s YouthBuild program who gave a soulful rendition of America the Beautiful.
New Chairman Simon Bergson and SoBRO president Phillip Morrow welcomed all the guests and VIPS including Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr., Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, NYC Commissioner of the Department of Youth and Community Development Jeanne Mulgrave, Commissioner of the NYC Housing Authority Earl Andrews.
Unlike many awards programs, the honored guests were mercifully brief but heartfelt in their acceptances speeches letting the video tributes prepared by SoBRO’s own Andres Santiago tell their stories beautifully.
The Copa’s major domo Raven Solomon made sure all ran smoothly. Event producers Lorelei Events, veterans of hundreds such dinners, ran the event like clockwork.
Among the 500 guests who danced the night away to the sounds of the Bartlett Contemporaries were Neil and Ruth Pariser, Mary Habersham, Victor and Liz Body-Lawson, Frank Bonfilgio, Devereaux Cannick, Reginald Bullock, Bruce Dale, Steve Dorn, Francesco Galesi, Susan Haskell, Yolanda Kelley, Alison and James Lydes, Chris Matthews, Tamika Mc Cray, Ann and Philip Morrow, Victor Solomon, Jerry Weinbrecht, Blondel Pinnock, 2004 honoree Tony Riccio, Carolyn and Houston Williams, Craig Livingston, Deborah Mac Farlane, and board members Jean Smith and James Shipp.
In 33 years of service to the South Bronx SoBRO has achieved major accomplishments: Created the climate for more than $350,000,000 in capital investment into the South Bronx; helped to create and retain more than 36,000 jobs for area residents; assisted more than 30,000 South Bronx residents in entering the New York City workforce through education and career development programs; developed affordable and special needs housing, with much more to come; served over 10,000 youth through its nationally recognized, award-winning Youth Center (opened in 1997) and supporting programs and managed and encouraged the investment of over $22,000,000 to rebuild and upgrade commercial districts.
More information at www.sobro.org.