By  on December 8, 2011

NEW YORK — In a tough economy, generosity still surfaces now and then, and it was evident at Wednesday’s Volunteers of America-Greater New York gala, honoring Bonnie Brooks, president and chief executive officer of The Bay and Frank Crystal & Co.

They received The Spirit of the Founders Award, while George Mattson, managing director of Goldman, Sachs & Co., was honored with the Richard F. Salyer Award.

More than $930,000, almost a 50 percent increase from the previous year, was raised by the 470 guests, including chef Todd English, who bounded up to the stage and doubled his donation of a tasting menu for 10 in the Food Hall at the Plaza private dining room. The two lots went for $7,000 apiece.

Another $15,000 was raised from a collection of artisanal spirits from Philadelphia Distilling. The evening, themed A New York Winter’s Eve, benefited Volunteers of America’s social service programs that help 50,000 people each year in the greater New York area.

“It is a real honor for me and for the Hudson’s Bay Company to be recognized for the many significant community efforts we support, especially what we accomplished during the Olympics in Vancouver last year when we outfitted 30,000 volunteers, 12,000 torch-bearers, and over 1,600 athletes and their trainers,” said Brooks.

The Bay’s red mittens launched for the Olympics are still popular, particularly for Christmas, and have raised $19 million for athletes so far, Brooks said.

Designer Elie Tahari and Saks Fifth Avenue president Ron Frasch chaired the evening. Kathy Nedorostek of Coach Inc. and Roxann Taylor of Amherst were vice chairs.

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