By and  on March 14, 2012

NEW YORK — The March of Dimes Beauty Ball Tuesday night at Cipriani 42nd Street raised $1.31 million.

The overall goal for the evening was originally set at $920,000, which was well ahead of last’s year’s total of $870,000.

The evening honored Mindy Grossman, chief executive officer of HSN Inc., who received the Retailer of the Year award, and Gina Sanders, president and ceo of WWD parent Fairchild Fashion Media, who was given the Beautiful Apple Award.

“There’s one word that can describe my feelings right now and that’s gratitude,” Sanders began after being presented the award by Amy Astley, editor in chief of Teen Vogue. Her gratitude extended to Grossman, whom Sanders described in cinematic terms. “When around Mindy, I have to say, I often feel like the woman in the notorious diner scene watching Meg Ryan’s character in “When Harry Met Sally.” I will always have what Mindy’s having. That’s because where Mindy goes, success follows. She’s a unique leader, a loyal friend, and a human being who gives so deeply of herself.”

At the end of her speech, Sanders volunteered to serve as the chair at next year’s event.

TV fitness trainer Tony Little presented Grossman with her award by describing her as “the most caring ceo on the planet.” Both Grossman and Sanders talked about an emotion-packed visit they had to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. Praising the work of the March of Dimes, Grossman observed, “The organization has had a profound effect on me and my perspective on the miracle of life. You realize the resiliency of these tiny beings, the strength of their families and the overwhelming outpouring of support the March of Dimes provides.”

HSN also is putting its shoulder to the wheel. On Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, the home shopping network will devote its HSN Cares Platform to fund-raising. HSN also figured into the evening’s auction to raise the last $109,000. Auctioneer CK Swett of Phillips de Pury & Co. had been allotted 20 minutes to reach his $100,000 goal, according to organizers. Instead, he was off the stage in less than 10 minutes, having churned through a series of rapid-fire donations, starting with $10,000 from Chanel. In addition, one of HSN’s vendors, Andrew Lessman of ProCaps Vitamins, pledged to give a one bottle, 30-day supply of prenatal vitamins to a mother for every $1 raised in the $100,000 drive.

When asked how she became involved, Sanders pointed out, “When we are called upon to do good, we have to say ‘yes.’”

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