An Evening with Audra McDonald followed special dinner reception
(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts’ major donors and their guests attended a special evening on Monday, February 14 in honor of the Kravis Center’s Founders and Grand Benefactors, Benefactors, Grand Sponsors, Sponsors and Patron Members of the Dress Circle.
Guests enjoyed a welcome cocktail reception in the Harris Pre-Function Hall prior to entering the Gimelstob Ballroom in the Cohen Pavilion for a three-course dinner by Catering by The Breakers at the Kravis Center. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the ballroom was adorned with tall candelabras and red roses.
The dinner was sponsored by Northern Trust for the 26th consecutive year. Beginning in 1992 with the original building campaign, Northern Trust’s generosity and commitment to the Kravis Center has continued with outstanding support to its Annual Campaign each year, the Encore Campaign to build the Cohen Pavilion, the Kravis 2020: The Future is Now Campaign and the Endowment Fund to ensure the Center’s future.
The night’s performance of An Evening with Audra McDonald followed the dinner and was sponsored by Founder members Sheila Engelstein and Zelda Mason, for the 13th consecutive year.
“We are so delighted you are here with us this evening, especially after such a long break without events and live performances at the Kravis Center,” said Jeffrey Stoops, Kravis Center Board Chairman. “Tonight’s dinner is our opportunity to show our appreciation to all of you for your extraordinary loyalty and generosity. Despite the many challenges we faced these past couple of years, our renewal rate at your most generous level of giving remains high. This is a true testament to all of you for your belief in our mission, and for recognizing the cultural and educational value this institution brings to the community. We are sincerely grateful to you for helping us through these difficult times.”
Mr. Stoops noted 17 donors have become Founder members over the last two seasons and made commitments of $100,000 or more. He then welcomed new Founder members in attendance including Sheila Applestein, Chip DiPaula, Lugano Diamonds – represented by Janet Pleasants, David Sarama, Diane and John Sculley, Barbara and Peter Sidel, and Lynn Zimmer.
Mr. Stoops also recognized two former Board Chairs in the audience, Jane Mitchell and Michael Bracci. He acknowledged other Board members in attendance including Sherry Endelson, Bradley Hurston and Monika Preston. In addition, he thanked Life Trustees in attendance George Elmore, John Jenkins and Kathryn Vecellio. He also gave a special thanks to West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James, who was in attendance with his wife, Lorna James.
Mr. Stoops then invited the Kravis Center’s new CEO, Diane Quinn, to the podium.
“I am thrilled to be here with all of you tonight,” said Ms. Quinn. “In my very short time here, I can already see first-hand why the Kravis Center has earned the reputation as a world-class performing arts center – and is a jewel in our community. From the diverse array of artists, innovative education and outreach programs, and the incredible team, I am honored to have the opportunity to play an important role in building upon the Kravis Center’s success story. An exciting future lies ahead for all of us. Thank you for your outstanding generosity, and all you do for the Kravis Center and our community. I look forward to getting to know you.”
Mr. Stoops then introduced, Michael Bracci, Northern Trust President, East Florida Region, and Kravis Center Immediate Past Board Chair.
“The last time I was at a podium was at this very dinner back in February 2020,” said Bracci. “During that night I talked about how the Kravis Center was having its best year ever in three decades. We had just finished Hamilton. In 30 days, we had 81,690 guests come through the doors. And then we didn’t have anyone. That was hard for all of us especially knowing what the Kravis Center means to the community. Because of your generous support, the development team was able to continue raising money. We made improvements throughout the Center, adapted our educational programming to Zoom, and the staff worked nonstop to get us ready to open our doors. It’s great to be back and to have you all here!”
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