Women@NJPAC Spring Luncheon raises record $415K

The annual Women@NJPAC Spring Luncheon and Auction raised a record $415,000 for the social impact programs at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, including arts education, community engagement events and arts & well-being programming.

Robin Roberts, the longtime anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” delivered the event’s keynote address, discussing both her long career in broadcast journalism and the resilience that carried her through several health challenges.

“I’m an eternal optimist, and optimism is like a muscle that gets stronger with use,” Roberts said. “You get in the habit of expecting something good to happen. And that’s what gets me through. When fear knocks, I let faith answer the door.”

The event also honored Rutgers University – Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor, who will leave her post this summer after a decade’s service to become president of Hunter College at City University of New York. Cantor was presented with the Ronnie Goldberg Award for her support of NJPAC and the city of Newark, as well as her work at the university.

“There is nothing we need more than the arts right now,” Cantor said. “It is the platform for bringing people together.”

This year’s luncheon, held on the flower-decked Betty Wold Johnson Stage in NJPAC’s Prudential Hall, welcomed some 550 members of Women@NJPAC — the Arts Center’s fundraising and friend-raising arm, which also programs events that advance and promote women in the arts, business, philanthropy and government.

Many guests wore hats or fascinators along with seasonal spring attire for the event; fashionable toppers are a Spring Luncheon tradition. Displays of oversized paper flowers created by Paterson-based artist Yorgeilin Nuñez decorated the entirety of Prudential Hall, and were included in the fundraising auction.

Philanthropist Tammye Jones and Kerri Levine, vice president of the Fidelco Group, served as co-chairs of the event.

“This is a powerful group of women, and, when they get together, they do incredible things,” Sarah Rosen, managing director of Women@NJPAC, said. “Raising more than $400,000 in one afternoon is a remarkable achievement, and that money will help so many kids, and make such an impact in our community.”