The 2012 UNICEF Snowflake Ball, held on Tuesday, November 27 at Cipriani 42nd Street, honored UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Harry Belafonte and U.S. Fund for UNICEF National Board Member Dolores Rice Gahan for their commitment to saving and improving children’s lives.

Presented by Baccarat, the eighth annual black-tie gala, which raised more than $2.5 million for UNICEF’s global child survival and development programs, was emceed by Bryant Gumbel and featured performances by Tony Bennett and the Wynton Marsalis Quintet.

The Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund presented the 2012 Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award to legendary singer, actor, and human rights activist Harry Belafonte. A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for more than 25 years, Belafonte has been outspoken about issues that affect children’s lives and has met with world leaders to champion UNICEF’s mission. His legacy includes advocating for better primary health care, treatment for HIV/AIDS, and free access to education for all children.

“I didn’t anticipate that serving as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador would have such remarkable rewards,” said Harry Belafonte. “I am deeply grateful to UNICEF for giving me the opportunity to serve for so long.”

For her commitment to vulnerable children around the world, physician Dolores Rice Gahan was presented with the Helenka Pantaleoni Humanitarian Award by Pantaleoni’s granddaughter, UNICEF Ambassador, and U.S. Fund for UNICEF National Board Member Tea Leoni. Working alongside UNICEF, Gahan’s family pioneered an innovative community health program in Ghana, and she has provided leadership for UNICEF’s global HIV/AIDS campaign.

“It is an honor to receive the Helenka Pantaleoni Humanitarian Award,” said Dolores Rice Gahan, U.S. Fund for UNICEF National Board Member. “I have had the opportunity to travel around the world and see UNICEF programs in action. UNICEF staff often put their own lives on hold or at risk to do whatever it takes to save a child. It is amazing to see the dedication displayed in order to better the lives of children.”

“We are thrilled to honor Harry Belafonte and Dolores Rice Gahan for their commitment to UNICEF and to children around the world,” said Caryl Stern, U.S. Fund for UNICEF president and CEO. “UNICEF and our honorees tonight know that when you put your faith in children, you create hope, and a future. You create a world in which ZERO children are denied clean water, food to eat, or any of the things we may take for granted.”

Debra Shriver and Daniella Vitale co-chaired the event, with Nell Diamond and Jaime Jiménez serving as Next Generation Co-Chairs and Pamela Fiori as the Project Chair.

For the fourth year in a row, the Snowflake Ball featured décor by interior designer, HGTV star and UNICEF Ambassador Vern Yip. His décor, which included artisan crafted felt trivets from Mongolia, was inspired by his recent visit there where he witnessed UNICEF’s education, health, protection, and water and sanitation programs benefiting children.

The evening’s menu was created by UNICEF Ambassador Marcus Samuelsson, along with acclaimed chefs Marc Murphy and Michael Anthony. The gala’s live auction, hosted by Courtney Booth of Sotheby’s, featured experiences with UNICEF Ambassador Selena Gomez, NY Knick Tyson Chandler, and Nickelodeon. Mikimoto, Zagliani, Le Cirque, Barneys, and Baccarat donated items for the silent auction. Mikimoto also hosted the evening’s special photo booth and dressed Snowflake committee chairs and celebrity guests in signature pearl jewelry.

Gala attendees included UNICEF Ambassadors Selena Gomez, Dayle Haddon, Téa Leoni, Marcus Samuelsson, Vern Yip, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Harry Belafonte along with Michael Anthony, Tony Bennett, David Broza, Barbara Bush, Selita Ebanks, Boomer Esiason, Bryant Gumbel, Jenna Bush Hager, Lily Kwong, Matt Lauer, Kate Mara, Wynton Marsalis, Mia Moretti, Carolyn Murphy, Marc Murphy, Katy Perry, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, Amanda Ross, Uma Thurman, and Allison Williams.

The UNICEF Snowflake illuminates the intersection of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue each year and serves as a beacon of hope and compassion for vulnerable children around the world. Designed by Ingo Maurer with 16,000 Baccarat crystals, the beautiful ornament was dedicated to UNICEF in 2002 by the Stonbely Family Foundation.

For more information on the 2012 UNICEF Snowflake Ball, visit www.snowflake.unicefusa.org/snowflake-ball.

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