Press Release

Liz Smith and Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City Hold Fifth Annual Fete de Swifty to Support the City's Family Justice Center Initiative

September 29, 2008

Funds Will Support Expansion of Initiative to Help Victims Break the Cycle of Domestic Violence

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Columnist Liz Smith, Mayor’s Fund President Megan Sheekey and Board Chair Rob Speyer today kicked off the Fifth Annual Fete de Swifty benefit in Manhattan on Thursday, September 18. The event, founded by Liz Smith and hosted by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, raised money to support the Family Justice Center Initiative, administered by the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. The initiative was created to reduce barriers faced by victims of domestic abuse, allowing them to access a variety of services, such as prosecutorial, counseling, and housing and financial assistance under one roof.  Mayor Bloomberg opened the first Family Justice Center in Brooklyn in 2005. A second center in Queens opened its doors in July, and a third Center will open next year in the Bronx.

“I’m tremendously proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish with Fete de Swifty,” said Liz Smith. “For the past five years, New Yorkers have donated generously to the Mayor’s Fund and we’ve raised almost $4 million from this benefit to help those in need. The Family Justice Center Initiative is a brilliant example of how we can more effectively help the most vulnerable in our communities and I’m thrilled to support its expansion throughout the City.”

“We are grateful to all of the supporters of this important annual event,” said Megan Sheekey. “The funds raised are making a crucial difference in the City’s ability to serve domestic violence victims and their families and to end the cycle of abuse.”

This year’s Fete de Swifty Honorary Chairs were actress Nicole Kidman, designer Calvin Klein, and Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay.  The steering committee included Stephen Attoe, Robert Caravaggi, David Patrick Columbia, Deborah Krulewitch, Christopher Meigher, Gillian Miniter, Peter Rogers, Liz Finkle Sans and Liz Smith.

Since 2004, Fete de Swifty has raised almost $4 million to support public programs through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.  This year’s event also featured an online auction hosted by CharityBuzz.  The auction included items such as a guitar autographed by Sting, original stadium seats from Shea Stadium, a Law & Order set visit with Mariska Hargitay, a trip to see Bette Midler in concert, a football and jersey signed by Giants’ Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning, and jewelry from Me&Ro.

The Mayor’s Fund is grateful to its many auction and event partners that donated a wide array of items and services, including interior tent design by Matthew David Events, a raw bar provided by Glorious Food, products from Good Humor, beverages from Oronoco Rum and Brooklyn Brewery, and wax figures of Bono and Tina Turner from Madame Tussauds New York. Gift bags were donated by Estée Lauder with an addition by Borba. The tent also featured hanging vines with 1,500 decorated apples, created by children whose families have been helped by the City’s Family Justice Centers.

Melissa Ferguson
(212) 788-7794