The beautiful people surely came out in droves last Tuesday night for the 2012 Happy Hearts Fund Land of Dreams: Mexico Gala at The Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. Hosted by the stunning supermodel Petra Nemcova and special guest, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, the glamorous Gala benefited Happy Hearts Fund (HHF), a nonprofit organization founded by Petra Nemcova in 2006. HHF is dedicated to rebuilding schools and restoring hope and opportunity in the lives of children after natural disaster.
It was a milestone evening as a new partnership between The Carlos Slim Foundation and HHF was announced. Additionally, Clinique, a leader in global beauty, recently announced an exciting multi-year partnership with Happy Hearts Fund, that included the launch of a limited edition “Happy Heart” 30ml fragrance and t-shirt with the message ‘Make Someone Happy’ that will benefit Happy Hearts Fund. The fragrance and t-shirt both make perfect gifts, particularly during this holiday season. Both new partnerships were celebrated at the Gala by a room filled with bold-faced names from the worlds of music, fashion, finance, sports and politics.
HHF’s mission is to work during the period after natural disaster emergency response is complete, implementing sustainable practices to ensure a lasting impact. Happy Hearts Fund is active in six countries and through its dedicated initiatives, has built or rebuilt over 70 schools and kindergartens. Since its inception, the Fund’s programs have benefited more than 40,000 children and 337,000 community members worldwide.
Each year, the Land of Dream’s Gala showcases the treasures of a country where Happy Hearts Fund has a presence. As guests entered the beautifully decorated Metropolitan Pavilion, they were given a ‘passport’ and greeted by flight attendants who invited them to be transported to cities throughout Mexico visually and artistically for a unique and interactive sensory experience. The evening’s scrumptious cuisine also showcased the rich culinary arts of Mexico.
Television news journalist Nicole Lapin served as the evening’s emcee and guests were treated to an intimate, yet smashing performance by five-time Grammy Award winner Marc Anthony. Simon de Pury, the evening’s auctioneer, helped raise nearly $2.2 million to build 30 new schools in disaster affected areas of Peru, Indonesia, Haiti and in Mexico.
The beautiful and passionate Petra Nemcova shared with rootshed.com her thoughts on this year’s Gala, HHF’s newest partnerships, as well as where she believes the Fund will continue to be needed into the future.
Matt Semino: As the theme of this year’s Gala is centered on the beautiful country of Mexico, what initiatives has Happy Hearts Fund been involved with there that you are most proud of?
Petra Nemcova: Yes, this year we are proud to celebrate the treasures of Mexico. There are so many historical and natural wonders and new developments. We are also celebrating our schools there which we are very proud of. Together with our partner Grupo Sura we have rebuilt three schools, two in Tabasco and one in Veracruz, all of them having been heavily damaged by flooding and unsafe for children. We are also very excited about our newly announced partnership with the Carlos Slim Foundation through which the first project is a school in Veracruz.
Matt Semino: What does Happy Hearts Fund’s exciting new partnership with Clinique mean to you and the children that HHF works to help around the globe?
Petra Nemcova: When I started Happy Hearts Fund, it was a few people and myself doing everything we could to make a difference in the lives of children impacted by natural disasters. Now, six years later, there is a global team of people all working together to advance the Happy Hearts Fund mission. The Clinique partnership means so much to me. To have the work and results of Happy Hearts Fund recognized by a global company that is eager to engage their consultants, employees and customers makes me proud and happy; proud of the entire team and happy for all the children who will benefit.
Matt Semino: Happy Hearts Fund has already accomplished so much around the world since it was established. Are there any countries or regions that you feel are currently in need that you would like the Fund to reach in the near future?
Petra Nemcova: It is important for HHF to focus on sustained response after natural disasters, which is now lacking. A gap period where children and communities are forgotten after first responders leave is created and lasts for many years. That is why we are in countries for the long run – to create a sustained response. From the countries where we have an existing presence, the biggest need is in Haiti. A lot of positive change has happened since the earthquake, such as productive collaborations between many organizations, and Haiti has an action-driven government, so therefore we are seeing a lot of tangible results. Just in 2011-2012, 329 schools have been built, but unfortunately the need is so much greater.
Happy Hearts Fund Gala Honorees
At the Gala, HHF presented Howard G. Buffett, president of The Howard G. Buffett Foundation and son of famed investor Warren Buffet, with The Lifetime Achievement Award and announced their partnership which begins with the rebuilding of a school in Peru. Don Juan Beckmann Vidal, Chairman of Jose Cuervo was awarded The Heart of Gold Award for his philanthropic work throughout Mexico. Accepting The Honored Partner Award was Lynne Greene, Group President, The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. / Global President, Clinique.
The elegant and forward-thinking Lynne Greene shared with rootshed.com her perspective on the innovative relationship between Clinique and HHF as well as the significant impact that she believes their new partnership will have.
Matt Semino: What is the significance of Clinique entering into this unique partnership with Petra Nemcova’s Happy Hearts Fund?
Lynne Greene: This partnership is incredibly significant to Clinique. Since our launch in 1968, we have been a brand that gives back in many ways supporting a number of causes across the globe, but this is the first time that Clinique has entered into an official long-term philanthropic partnership. We looked for four years for the perfect charity. We reached out and asked our employees and our Clinique salespeople (otherwise known as Clinique Consultants) what really mattered to them and overwhelmingly, and not surprisingly, the answer was education and children. We heard about Happy Hearts Fund and their mission, and we realized after meeting Petra that this organization would be the perfect partner. It was in that first meeting with Petra that we realized her passion, her commitment to the cause and her spirit were infectious and we connected right away.
Matt Semino: What do you envision this partnership will be able to accomplish for children who are in need around the world?
Lynne Greene: Education is the single greatest opportunity one can give to a child. It is the passport to brighter possibilities, transforming individuals, families and communities along the way. Together with Happy Hearts Fund, it is our mission to put a smile on the face of every child we touch; together we can accomplish great things. You just have to look at the faces of the children that Petra has personally touched to know what these schools mean to them.
Just some of the notable attendees who came out to support the 2012 Happy Hearts Fund Gala included: Petra Nemcova, Marc Anthony, Carlos Slim, Howard G. Buffett, Lynne Greene, Phillip Caputo, Heba Abedin, Chase Blackburn, Romero Britto, Fabrizio Freda, Nicole Lapin, Honorable Laurent Lamothe, Prime Minister of Haiti, Roy & Barbara March, Steve McCurry, Simon de Pury, Honorable Carlos Sada, Consul General of Mexico, William Lauder, Russell Simmons, Judith Missoni, William Lauder, Summer Rayne Oakes, Don Juan Beckmann Vidal, Veronica Varekova, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Alina Baikova, Svetlana Nemkova, Josh Charles, Archie Punjabi, Tie Domi, and Vivienne Tam.