NEW YORK — Nearly 450 Wall Street executives, civic and business leaders attended Thursday night’s MDA’s Wings Over Wall Street® to benefit the ALS research program of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Undeterred by an unfavorable day on the market, a souring economy and personal economic uncertainty, an amazing group of financial services industry notables came together for a gala at Gotham Hall in Manhattan and raised nearly $625,000 for MDA-funded research seeking treatments for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Warren J. Schiffer, co-founder of MDA’s Wings Over Wall Street (WOWS) that during the past 10 years has raised more than $9.6 million for fast-track ALS research, saluted the WOWS committee members who did so much to make the 2011 Wings benefit so successful by saying, “The true measure of commitment, passion and effectiveness is how much is accomplished when times are tough. I looked around the room last night and saw a crowded venue, filled with people who decided your heartfelt message for this cause resonated with them. We’re sick and tired of people dying from ALS, and a cure will be found someday because people like you have made the decision to give of their time, talents and passions to embrace a cause that is greater than they are.”
The WOWS gala opened with the New York Fire Department’s Pipe and Drums band and introductions of the event’s co-chairs Angela Sun of Bloomberg and Todd Trimmer of Weeden & Co. Joe Kernen of CNBC’s Squawk Box hosted the festive evening, first recognizing Angel Sponsors Bloomberg, Credit Suisse and Weeden. Kernen then helped with the presentations of four extraordinary service awards, as well as an energetic research-minute auction.
“Wings Over Wall Street is once again an amazing triumph because of so many unsung heroes who are absolutely passionate about helping MDA speed treatments for ALS,” said Gerald C. Weinberg, MDA President & CEO. “For tens of thousands of families in the fight of their lives against ALS, Wings Over Wall Street fuels what’s most important – the real hope that comes from worldwide research.”
Serge Przedborski, M.D., Ph.D, Professor of Neurology and Pathology at Columbia University, received the prestigious Diamond Award, named in honor of WOWS co-founder Toni Diamond, for his scientific leadership in the fight against ALS.
Matthew De Salvo, Head of US Equity Cash Trading and Sales Trading at Credit Suisse, was recognized with the Michael P. Beier Award, named in honor of former WOWS chair Michael Beier, for being “someone who inspires, encourages and motivates others with devotion and energy to find a cure for ALS.”
Beth Gottlieb, Director, Knight Capital Americas, L.P., was presented the Humanitarian Award for her “extraordinary personal and public support to help find a cure for ALS.”
The Homes Family accepted the Spirit Award on behalf of Harlan Homes for having “demonstrated extraordinary commitment and dedication to the eradication of ALS by raising awareness, advocating for funding and promoting research for a cure.”
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive healthcare and support services, advocacy and education.
The world’s largest provider of ALS services and funder of ALS research, MDA has invested more than $290 million specifically fighting ALS. At the start of 2011, MDA’s ALS research portfolio includes 69 active research grants representing a total research investment commitment of $19.7 million.
In addition to funding more than 300 research teams worldwide, MDA maintains a national network of some 200 hospital-affiliated clinics, 38 of which are ALS-specific research and care centers; facilitates hundreds of support groups for families affected by neuromuscular diseases; and provides extraordinary local summer camp opportunities for thousands of youngsters fighting progressive muscle diseases. The Association is the first nonprofit to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Medical Association “for significant and lasting contributions to the health and welfare of humanity.”