The Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health 19th Annual SportsBall Gala

Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers, NY, NY | 04.11.2013 | by Merry Esparza

Style 1 Media On April 11th, the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health (AAIUH) celebrated its 19th Anniversary at the Annual SportsBall Gala held at New York's Chelsea Piers. New York 1 News Anchor Cheryl Wills co-hosted the spectacular event with Mary Carillo, Sports Analyst for CBS, HBO Sports, NBC, and the Tennis Channel. The "black tie & sneakers" event brings together sports celebrities, medical professionals, academic leaders, public figures, and others who support the legacy of tennis champion and humanitarian, Arthur Ashe, who founded the Institute prior to his death in 1993. The gala, which raises funds for critical health empowerment programs in urban minority communities, honors significant contributions by individuals who further its mission. (left: Hosts Mary Carillo and Cheryl Wills)

The gala began with a celebrity and VIP cocktail reception featuring a silent auction and games, followed by dinner and the awards program. Board Vice Chairperson, Reverend Dr. Paul Smith conducted an opening meditation, after which Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ruth C. Browne addressed supporters with opening remarks. AAIUH Chairperson Dr. Edgar O. Mandeville welcomed guests to the gala, inviting AAIUH members onto the stage with him. AAIUH Vice Chairperson, Seth G. Abraham surprised Dr. Mandeville and his wife, Harriette Mandeville, with the presentation of awards to both.

Cheryl Wills and Mary Carillo hosted the upbeat program which honored 2013 Leadership Awards recipients: Hockey Hall of Famer and New York Rangers Community Relations Director, Rod Gilbert; SUNY/LICH Distinguished Teaching Professor, Dr. Eli A. Friedman; Morgan Stanley Managing Director, Carla Harris; espnW Vice President of Content Program & Integration, Carol Stiff; and Bloomberg Philanthropies' Verna Eggleston

A celebrity role call identified political, sports, and entertainment VIPs in the audience including: former basketball player, Anucha Browne Sanders; Olympian and NYC Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee, Gail Marquis; New York Times Sports Columnist, William C. Rhoden; NY Knicks legend, Cal Ramsey; former NY Rangers player Andre Dore; tennis pro Heinz Haas; former basketball pro Kym Hampton and more.

The gala program closed with the presentation of the Arthur Ashe Health Science Academy Class of 2012, and words from Health Sciences Academy's Vanessa Vales. Following the program, guests enjoyed a sumptuous dessert buffet, music, and dancing. As a parting gift, each guest received a complimentary pair of sneakers courtesy of K-Swiss.

The Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health (AAIUH) was founded in 1992 by tennis champion, activist, and humanitarian Arthur Ashe to improve health care and education for America's urban residents. In 1993, the Institute established a partnership with SUNY Downstate Medical Center, moved by the institution's research and long history of serving immigrants and low-income Brooklyn, NY residents. Arthur Ashe passed away in 1993 after contracting the AIDS virus from a blood transfusion, but the Institute carries on his vision. AAIUH, based in Brooklyn, collaborates with community members to design, incubate and replicate neighborhood-based interventions that address health conditions that disproportionately affect minorities.

For more information, please visit: The Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health.