NEW YORK, May 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ArtsConnection, one of New York City's largest and most comprehensive arts-in-education organizations, will host its annual spring benefit at Tribeca Rooftop on Thursday, May 30, 2013. The benefit will be co-chaired by Lisa and Richard Plepler and Emily and Harold Ford, Jr. and will honor hip-hop pioneer and entrepreneur Russell Simmons and Popular Community Bank's Chief Operating Officer Manuel Chinea. Special guest Dennis M. Walcott, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education will be in attendance. Award-winning broadcast journalist Soledad O'Brien will host the evening, which will include a live auction and a special music and puppetry performance by students from Brooklyn's Public School 130. The event has been styled by David Monn, acclaimed designer and ArtsConnection Board member.
ArtsConnection will also present their prestigious Janklow Award to two deserving educators in its community for their outstanding and longtime commitment to arts education and exemplary work with ArtsConnection. Principal Maria Nunziata of Brooklyn's PS 130 and ArtsConnection Teaching Artist Ruben Gonzalez will be the award recipients, named after ArtsConnection's founding chairman, Linda LeRoy Janklow.
Since 1979, ArtsConnection has brought the arts to New York City's public schools, serving more than 3.5 million young people to date. Its signature approach leverages the arts across disciplines, tailored uniquely for each community, to enhance learning and literacy.
With a faculty of 165 professional teaching artists that provides over 12,000 hours of instruction in music, dance, theater, media and visual arts in 100 schools, ArtsConnection reaches tens of thousands of students in grades pre-K-12 each year. ArtsConnection has a strong history of bringing outstanding, award winning programs to NYC's youth and its work has proven that engagement with the arts can create success for young people both in and out of the classroom.
Funds from the evening will go to support ArtsConnection programs such as DELLTA (Developing English Language Learning Through the ArtsConnection.) Over 150,000 children in New York City's public schools don't speak, read or write English well enough to learn on par with their native English-speaking peers. Designated as English Language Learners (ELL's), these students face an array of challenges. DELLTA is a unique program designed to strengthen English language acquisition for children through active participation in the performing arts. Working with specially trained AC teaching artists, ELL's in grades 3-5 participate in theater and dance residencies that help them build understanding and express complex ideas, increasing motivation and focus, and allowing them to experience success in school. In its eight years, DELLTA has worked with over 7,000 English Language Learners and their teachers, with profound effects: a recent independent evaluation of students participating in DELLTA showed that they scored "significantly higher" on New York State's ESL Achievement test than those in the control group, with twice the retention rate of vocabulary and literacy skills.
ArtsConnection motivates 50,000 students each year, whether in-school or out-of-school, on stage, or as audience members, to learn and develop creativity, curiosity, self-confidence and task commitment, qualities they need to become successful students and empowered individuals.
RUSSELL SIMMONS (Artistic Honoree) Forbes Magazine recently named Russell Simmons one of "Hollywood's Most Influential Celebrities." USA Today named Russell Simmons one of the "Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 25 Years," calling him a "hip-hop pioneer" for his groundbreaking vision that has influenced music, fashion, finance, the jewelry industry, television and film, as well as the face of modern philanthropy. From creating his seminal Def Jam Recordings in 1984, to his fashion industry changing brands including Phat Farm in 1992, Baby Phat in 2001 and current men's lifestyle brand Argyleculture, to founding UniRush in 2003 providing instant access to a set of basic financial services for over 48 million Americans who could not previously establish traditional banking relationships, to the 2007 publishing of his New York Times best-seller Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success, to founding GlobalGrind.com, the leading online destination for celebrity entertainment, music, culture and politics for the new, postracial America and his latest New York Times best-seller SUPER RICH: A Guide To Having It All, Russell is recognized globally for his influence and entrepreneurial approach to both business and philanthropy. Giving back is of primary importance to him in all aspects of life. Russell also leads the non-profit division of his empire, Rush Community Affairs, and its ongoing commitment to empowering at-risk youth through education, the arts, social engagement, and promoting racial harmony and strengthening inter-group relations.
Russell is a native New Yorker who attended City College of New York.
Russell has two daughters, Ming Lee and Aoki Lee.
MANUEL A. CHINEA (Corporate Honoree) Manuel serves as COO of Popular Community Bank, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the bank. With more than 25 years of experience leading teams, developing brand identity, driving sales culture, formulating innovative distribution channels and aligning products and services to meet and exceed customer expectations, Manuel Chinea has a broad range of banking experience. He has direct management experience in functional disciplines that include marketing, product management, sales, retail banking and business banking during his 25 years at Popular Community Bank and Banco Popular de Puerto Rico. Prior to his current role as COO, Manuel served as CMO at CertusBank. For over a decade, Manuel has been an active member and officer of several marketing, credit, treasury management and not-for-profit organizations. Manuel received a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland, and his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan.
Media Contact: Rina Ortega
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 212.302.7433 ext 492