Two hundreds guests gathered at the Rainbow Room for Tuesday’s Spirit of Achievement Awards luncheon.
In its 67th year, the event saluted Fern Mallis with its Innovator award and Laurie Tisch and her daughters Emily Tisch Sussman and Carolyn Tisch Blodgett were the Philanthropic award honorees. The Change-maker award was presented to Ana Maria Cuervo, MD, who is the Robert and Renee Belfer chair for the study of neurodegenerative diseases and professor and codirector of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Held in person for the first time since 2019, the Spirit of Achievement Awards were created by the women’s division of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1954. It started as a mother-daughter luncheon honoring Marlene Dietrich and her daughter Maria Riva. Recognizing the Tisches for their philanthropy was also an effort to welcome more mothers and daughters to support the organization and encourage younger generations to participate.
The luncheon’s co-presidents Trudy Schlachter and Terri Goldberg greeted guests warmly, while co-chairs Carol Roaman and Andrea Stark also made the rounds. The goal was to raise about $500,000 for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Montefiore. This was the first year that the fundraising wasn’t earmarked for solely breast cancer research, but all types of research including COVID-19. “And we work with all the other hospitals in New York sharing our results, which makes it wonderful. What drives us is the philanthropy for the research in medicine,” said Schlachter.
As a former fashion and music photographer for 20 years, she knew Mallis as a leader of the CFDA. “The fashion shows were such an exciting time. I remember going to Bryant Park when the CFDA started holding them there.”
”You’re wearing my book’s blue,” Fern Mallis then quipped to Mary Loving, after signing multiple copies of “Fashion Icons 2” for attendees. Mallis sported an aubergine-colored dress by Joseph Altuzarra, one of the 61 fashion insiders she has interviewed through her “Fashion Icons” talk series at 92 Y. “Honored by the honor,” Mallis said it was the result of running into Loving and Schlachter at Donohue’s Steak House.
When Schlachter later phoned to tell Mallis that the organization would like to honor her, she was game. With the event slated near the recent release of the book, Mallis “thought that would be terrific to connect all the dots. And what Albert Einstein Medical College does is extraordinary.”
With other previous honorees including Eleanor Roosevelt, Twyla Tharp, Vera Wang, Patricia Field, Donna Karan, Meryl Streep, Gloria Steinem and others, Mallis said she was “blown away” after seeing the list of “the most important movers and shakers, and brilliant women of accomplishment.” During the pre-luncheon cocktails, Mallis said the video to be shown didn’t just highlight her career. “You’ll see me in my HotPants and every hairdo and haircut that I’ve had. They used every picture that came from the talks featured in my book. That kind of cracked me up,” she said.
A streaming series based on the 92Y interviews is being developed with Peaceable Assembly and Jonathan Gray, who helped produce the documentary, “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel.” Taking in the New York City skyline from the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Mallis said, “I’m just thrilled to be here on such a gorgeous day. It really is the top of the world.”