Today the dementia epidemic affects millions of Americans, with the numbers only projected to increase in years ahead. On Thursday night, AFTD’s Hope Rising Benefit drew more than 425 attendees, who gathered seeking to bring an end to frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), the most prevalent cause of dementia for people under 60.

Held at The Pierre Hotel in New York City, the event marked the passing of Si Newhouse. AFTD’s CEO Susan L-J Dickinson announced that the organization had received a major gift in Si’s honor: The David Geffen Foundation has now established the David Geffen Fund at AFTD. Contributions to this Fund will provide a total of $20 million over the next ten years to sustain and deepen AFTD’s work to end FTD.

The gift represents a close friendship between Mr. Geffen and Si Newhouse, both dedicated art collectors with similar tastes who frequently found themselves bidding against each other and grew to love talking about art and their collections.

“I am proud to partner with the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation in supporting the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration,” David Geffen said. “This fund will enable AFTD to continue to lead the way in expanding our understanding and treatment of this horrible neurodegenerative condition,” he added.

AFTD is a very effective organization with three missions: to fund research, to support the afflicted and their caregivers and to increase awareness of frontotemporal degeneration among professionals and the public. David’s partnership with the Samuel I Newhouse Foundation will greatly increase AFTD’s ability to carry out its missions…” said Donald Newhouse, brother to Si and President of Advance Publications, Inc. “He is a great friend who reacted so thoughtfully to my wife and my brother having suffered from primary progressive aphasia, a variant of FTD.”

At Thursday’s event, AFTD presented U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer with the Susan Newhouse & Si Newhouse Award of Hope, in recognition of his decades-long work as a strong proponent of biomedical research and his ability to foster bipartisan support for these efforts.

“There is no doubt it will take a village to beat FTD and the pain it brings to families,” Senator Schumer noted. “Our collective work to combat this condition through awareness and advocacy, along with federal and private dollars, has charted a path to winning the fight over a disease that so callously robs those afflicted of memories and the fullness of human connectivity. We extend thanks to people like David Geffen, who is so dedicated to the cause, and the Newhouse family for their tireless work, their selfless care and their enduring hope along the way.”

About AFTD’s 2017 Hope Rising Benefit: AFTD is grateful to event co-chairs Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., David Geffen, Donald Newhouse and Anna Wintour. Tony and Grammy Award winner Cynthia Erivo closed the evening, ending with a show-stopping performance of “Let It Be” in honor of Si and Victoria Newhouse. Paula Zahn hosted, and Dr. Halima Amjad (Johns Hopkins) shared her professional and personal perspectives on FTD. Attendees enjoyed recipes inspired by Joan Harper’s Cooking with Adrienne.

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