Annual gala honors Kenny Leon and Joe Kennedy III

Donors raised about $600,000 for the 18th Restore Brooklyn Annual Benefit gala in Manhattan on Oct. 17.

Every year the gala raises money to fund programs for the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, raising $100,000 more from 2015’s gala. The funds raised will go towards the economic and cultural growth of the neighborhood.

This year’s gala were honorees which included Tony Award winning director Kenny Leon, who directed NBC’s “The Wiz Live!” and Massachusetts Congressman Joseph Kennedy III, who was presented with the award by his uncle Robert F. Kennedy Jr, a board member of the corporation.

“Amidst vacant lots and forgotten families, Robert F. Kennedy found hope and heart in the proud people who called Bedford Stuyvesant home,” said Congressman Joseph Kennedy III.

“That heart, and their cause, survives today. As we confront inequities in our justice system and economic recovery, the life and work ethic of those who have made this restoration successful should guide our efforts. It was deeply humbling to be mentioned in the same breath as Jay Walder, Kenny Leon and Jacqueline Berrien, and I look forward to continuing to support Bed-Stuy whenever and however possible.”

The late Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Jacob Javits founded the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation in 1967. The organization is the country’s first community development corporation providing Bedford-Stuyvesant with business improvement and economic support, said the corporation’s president Colvin Grannum.

“As the nation’s first community development corporation, founded nearly 50 years ago — Restoration has been working to ensure that Brooklynites have access to economic opportunity and live in healthy, vibrant communities,” said Grannum.

“We are extremely proud to honor Congressman Kennedy, Kenny Leon, Jay Walder, and Jacqueline Berrien tonight. These individuals are giants in government, the arts, transportation and civil rights respectively, and we are so inspired by the work they have done to create a more just society. We are so grateful to have their support.”

Actress Pauletta Washington, wife of Denzel Washington, performed an excerpt of an upcoming stage play called “Autumn,” which premieres Oct. 21 at the Billie Holiday Theatre in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]

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