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Covenant House’s 50th Anniversary Gala – Ariana DeBose, Darren Criss, Audra McDonald, Rachel Brosnahan and More

Covenant House’s 50th Anniversary Gala – Ariana DeBose, Darren Criss, Audra McDonald, Rachel Brosnahan and More

On Monday, May 23, Covenant House, the largest charity in the Americas helping homeless and trafficked youth, gathered supporters to celebrate their 50th anniversary during their annual Night of Covenant House Stars Gala. The event took place at Chelsea Industrial in New York City. Rising to Tomorrow, the theme of this year’s event, highlighted Covenant House’s 50 years of service and reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to preventing and ending youth homelessness. 

Darren Criss Photo by Aaron Almendral

Ariana DeBose Photo by Aaron Almendral

Ariana DeBose Photo by Aaron Almendral

Jason Ralph and Ariana DeBose Photo by Aaron Almendral

The event kicked off with a performance by Emmy Award winner Darren Criss , who opened the gala with a rendition of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know.” Guests also heard from Oscar Award winner and Covenant House board member Ariana DeBose, who performed a mashup of Coldplay’s “Fix You” with Adele’s “Turning Tables;” singer Krysta Rodriguez who performed “What’s Up?” and” Don’t Worry Be Happy;” and singer and Covenant House Board Member Capathia Jenkins, who sang “What A Wonderful World.” 

Krysta Rodriguez Photo by Aaron Almendral

Krysta Rodriguez Photo by Aaron Almendral

The Kid Mero Photo by Aaron Almendral

Kayli Carter Photo by Aaron Almendral

“Desus & Mero” co-host The Kid Mero welcomed guests by sharing more about the organization’s connection to his hometown, the Bronx. He then invited Covenant House Board Member and Emmy-, Grammy-, and Tony Award winner Audra McDonald to the stage, who appeared twice during the program and highlighted the need to continue helping homeless youth. Actor Jason Ralph, who has been involved with the organization for years, spoke about Covenant House’s annual Sleep Out to End Youth Homelessness. The stars were also joined by Covenant House youth, who performed original music and shared stories about how the organization changed their lives.    

Audra McDonald Photo by Aaron Almendral

Trailblazer and “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts accepted this year’s Beacon of Hope Award in recognition of her dedication to ending youth homelessness. Roberts has been involved with the organization since 2014 and said, “When I meet the young people and alumni at Covenant House and hear their stories, I am inspired by their courage in the face of unimaginable fears; about the kind of perseverance that refuses to let go of their dreams, however unlikely their realization may seem at any given moment; about not allowing themselves to be defined by others or a circumstance but, instead, affirming and embracing their truth. We all need to hear these stories and share them. And, as a humble recipient of this Beacon of Hope, I am honored to be a bearer of your light.” 

Robin Roberts Photo by Aaron Almendral

Former New Jersey Governor and US Senator Jon Corzine, who serves on the organization’s board, was also honored, taking the stage to accept the Board Service Award for his years committed to the organization.    

Jason Ralph and Ariana DeBose Photo by Aaron Almendral

“You make it possible for 2,000 children and youth across 33 cities in six countries to sleep safely tonight under a Covenant House roof each and every night,” said Covenant House President & CEO Kevin Ryan to the overflow crowd of supporters at Chelsea Industrial. “Thank you for supporting our young people and our frontline staff through the worst days of the pandemic, enabling us to provide 700,000 nights of housing and shelter last year, and 3.5 million meals since March 2020. In the midst of a global pandemic, Covenant House added more than 900 beds, rebuilt or renovated facilities in a dozen cities, opened in 10 new cities, and added innovative programming for young people overcoming homelessness and human trafficking. You made that possible.” 

Kevin Ryan, Robin Roberts, Ariana DeBose, Darren Criss Photo by Aaron Almendral

The evening ended with the Empire State Building lighting up in Covenant House’s colors. Earlier in the day, Emmy Award winning actress Rachel Brosnahan, who also serves on Covenant House’s board, took part in the lighting ceremony of the iconic New York landmark commemorating the occasion.  

Rachel Brosnahan lights The Empire State Building in honor of Covenant House’s 50th Anniversary on May 23, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust)

Rachel Brosnahan lights The Empire State Building in honor of Covenant House’s 50th Anniversary on May 23, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust)

Rachel Brosnahan lights The Empire State Building in honor of Covenant House’s 50th Anniversary on May 23, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust)

Prior to the gala, Covenant House celebrated the grand opening of their new purpose-built facility, the first in their 50-year history in New York City. The 12-story project features 60 bedrooms, closets, classrooms, computer rooms and a recreational center. The facility also includes mental health facilities, an on-site medical clinic, and a nondenominational prayer room. Throughout the building there are individual bathrooms and bathing facilities to accommodate the gender identity of all the youth who may come to Covenant House. United States Senator Chuck Schumer, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and more participated in the grand opening.

Rachel Brosnahan lights The Empire State Building in honor of Covenant House’s 50th Anniversary on May 23, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust)

Funds raised from Night of Covenant House Stars go directly to food, clothing, healthcare, education, job training, and short and long-term housing for youth overcoming homelessness at Covenant House across the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. 

Rachel Brosnahan lights The Empire State Building in honor of Covenant House’s 50th Anniversary on May 23, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust)

Accenture, Delta, Goldman Sachs, and Wealthspire Advisors served as sponsors for this year’s event. Covenant House is the largest, primarily privately funded charity in the Americas helping homeless and trafficked youth, providing 24/7 crisis care and ongoing support in 33 cities across six countries. In 50 years of service, Covenant House has never closed its doors. 

Empire State Building, LED Lights.

For more information, go to www.covenanthouse.org 

 

Events

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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