Natalie Morales, News Anchor of NBC News’ TODAY & Co-Host of the third hour, is set to host the Moving Families Forward Gala benefitting The Ackerman Institute for the Family, in New York City.

This will be the third year Natalie Morales has hosted the evening, which benefits the vital programs and ongoing services for children and families at the Ackerman Institute for the Family.

“I support the Ackerman Institute for the Family because it helps conventional and unconventional families address and overcome deep and sometimes painful personal and societal issues,” says Natalie Morales. “Ackerman is a dynamic institution that is continuously evolving and keeping pace with today’s families in a society that is more complex every day. Family is important to me, and Ackerman believes that strong family bonds and communication are important to the strength of our communities. And I agree wholeheartedly.”

“We are excited to have Natalie Morales once again emcee our biggest fundraiser of the year: the Ackerman Institute’s Moving Families Forward gala,” says Lois Braverman, President & CEO, Ackerman Institute for the Family. “By giving of her time and talent to help lead our event to success, she is speaking volumes about the importance of family in our society and in our lives. I am grateful to Natalie for lending her support and celebrity in this way.”

Colin Farrell, actor & family advocate, is to be honored with the Ackerman Moving Families Forward Award at the October 21st event.

“It is my deep privilege to be honored by the Ackerman Institute for the Family,” says Colin Farrell. “Throughout the years, Ackerman has provided a platform of shared knowledge and experience that is essential for the sense of community that all parents long for, for themselves and their children. For parents who have been blessed with a child with Special Needs, this sense of community and togetherness takes on an even more immediate importance. The involvement and support offered throughout Ackermans various programs have made a great difference in so many lives and so I am truly humbled to accept this award. As a proud father of a child with Special Needs, I accept it in honor of all parents everywhere, who work tirelessly to ensure that their children get all the care and support that they both need and so richly deserve.”

“Raising a child with special needs puts the family in a category all of its own,” says Lois Braverman. "The child’s needs become a powerful organizing force within the family and at the same time create intense challenges and strong emotions affecting family life and relationships. Families with special needs children often are underserved by the medical, educational and mental health communities. Colin Farrell’s work with Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST) reflects his deep understanding about the many challenges that families with special needs children face. We are grateful to him for accepting our Moving Families Forward Award and for helping us raise awareness about our work promoting family resilience for families with special needs children."

The entertainment for the Gala will be John Pizzarelli Quartet with Bucky Pizzarelli.

Jeannie Ackerman Curhan, an Ackerman Board Member, will be honored with the Ackerman Distinguished Service Award, and Christopher J. Spano, President, CJS Builders, will be honored with the Ackerman Partner Award.

The host of the auction will be C. Hugh Hildesley, Executive Vice President, Sotheby’s.

To purchase tickets to the Moving Families Forward Gala call 914-579-1000 or email:

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