Spring Gala Guide: Top 20 Charity Benefits To See and Be Seen At This Season

Leah Bourne
Spring Gala Guide: Top 20 Charity Benefits To See and Be Seen At This Season
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Spring likely brings to mind blooming flowers, sandal weather, and lastly, the start of the all important charity benefit season. Giving back to a charity is great, but giving back to a charity while wearing a designer ball gown? Even better. Here, the top 20 events to see and be seen at this season.
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Henry Street Settlement Gala Dinner Dance, April 4, New York City

This event is being held in The Plaza Hotel's Grand Ballroom and is honoring Alexandra Lebenthal, CEO of Lebenthal & Company, and Reed Krakoff, President and Creative Director of Coach. The event raises funds for social services and health care programs for New Yorkers.

Who To Expect: The Lauders, Dr. Lisa Airan, and Nina Garcia all showed up last year.

What To Wear: Ladies wear fancy cocktail frocks, while the guys wear suits. Think fancy, but not over the top.

For more information visit henrystreet.org.

Ballet Hispanico Spring Gala

This annual spring gala held at The Plaza raises money for the Ballet Hispanico dance company.

Who To Expect: Folks like Randy Falco, President and CEO of Univision Communications, and Carlos Pujol, CEO of CEMUSA will be in attendance. Last year Victor Cruz stopped by, so you never know what surprise guest you might run into.

What To Wear: While black tie, the dance floor is known to heat up at this event, so make sure you wear your dancing shoes.

Tickets from $1,000. For more information visit ballethispanico.org

Photo courtesy of Ballet Hispanico and © Julie Skarrat. 

The Oceana Ball, April 8, New York City

This inaugural ball is raising money for Oceana's various endeavors protecting the oceans.

Who To Expect: Kate Walsh, Susan and David Rockefeller, and Chris Hemsworth will all be in attendance. 

What To Wear: Opt for eco-friendly attire, with a luxe spin, like something from Stella McCartney.

Tickets from $1,000. For more information visit theoceanaball.org.

New Yorkers For Children A Fool’s Fête, April 9, New York City

Held at the Mandarin Oriental, this dinner raises money for children in the New York City foster care system. Last year's event raised $585,000.

Who To Expect: Alina Cho, Allison Aston, and Euan Rellie will all be there.

What To Wear: Don't even think about showing up if you aren't in a piece right off the fall runway.

Tickets from $750. For more information visit newyorkersforchildren.com.

Washington Performing Arts Society Annual Gala Auction, April 13, Washington DC

Glee star Matthew Morrison is headlining this event at the Ritz Carlton.

Who To Expect: A mix of politicians, political hanger's on, and lobbyists. 

What To Wear: Go cocktail for this event.

For more information visit wpas.org

Museum of Contemporary Art Gala, April 20, Los Angeles

This event is both raising money for the museum and celebrating its just opened Urs Fischer exhibit.

Who To Expect: This is LA after all so expect stars like Nicole Richie and Dita Von Teese. 

What To Wear: Considering the arty crowd that this event is sure to draw, don't be afraid to take a little bit of a fashion risk.

Tickets from $2,500. For more information visit moca.org

The Washington Ballet A Moveable Feast: The Hemingway in Paris Ball, May 3, Washington DC

The event is inspired by the company's production of Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises and will serve old school cocktails that were mentioned in Hemingway's books.

Who To Expect: Mariel Hemingway is the honorary chair of the event, and expect a lot of DC who's who.

What To Wear: Considering the event's Jazz Age them, don't be afraid to get a little flapper inspired.

Tickets from $1,000. For more information visit washintonballet.org

Boston Ballet The Balanchine Ball, April 20, Boston

This year's event will have a Russian theme paying tribute to George Balanchine, something that will be carried out through the menu, performances, and decor.

Who To Expect: The who's who of Boston will be there.

What To Wear: Get on board with the Russian theme and channel your inner czarina. 

For more information visit bostonballet.org.

The Philips Collection Annual Gala, May 3, Washington DC

This annual fundraiser supports one of our favorite museums in the world, The Phillips Collection.

Who To Expect: Washington DC bigwigs, and art lovers alike. 

What To Wear: This is one of DC's toniest nights, so dig out the black tie.

Tickets from $1,250. For more information visit phillipscollection.org

Adrienne Arsht Center Gala, April 26, Miami

Harry Connick Jr. is performing at this annual Miami society gala. 

Who To Expect: Last year's special guest was Kevin Costner. This year it's Harry Connick Jr. Regardless of the celebrity guest, this is a major Miami event.

What To Wear: Black tie with a colorful Miami twist. Think designers like Etro and Missoni.

Tickets from $1,000. For more information visit arshtcenter.org

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Butterfly Ball, May 3, Chicago

Known for its over the top decor (last year's event featured chandeliers made of bicycles), last year's gala raised $1.6 million.

Who To Expect: This event is known for being one of the Windy City's hottest events.

What To Wear: Considering the event is eco-friendly think sustainable fabrics, and definitely leave the fur at home.

For more information visit naturemuseum.org.

The Met Costume Institute Gala, May 6, New York City

It can be easy to forget sometimes that the biggest fashion night of the year, is also a fundraiser for the Met's Costume Institute Gala. This year's theme is Punk: Chaos to Couture. And while most benefit events are grateful for ticket buyers, this is an invite only affair overseen by Vogue and its editor Anna Wintour.

Who To Expect: The better question to ask is who doesn't go to this event. Last year's gala drew Beyonce, Kate Upton, Carrie Mulligan, Emma Stone and just about every A-lister and designer on the planet.

What To Wear: Guests work with designers on custom looks just for the night, which has been dubbed the Oscars of the East Coast. There's this year's punk theme which needs to be taken into account too.

BUILD 2013 Gala, May 17, San Francisco

This event, which supports youth entrepreneurship, is honoring Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer this year.

Who To Expect: This event is sure to draw the who's who of Silicon Valley. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is on the steering committee. 

What To Wear: Mayer is a huge Oscar de la Renta fan, so wear a gown from the designer, and she might just strike up a conversation with you.

Tickets from $500. For more information visit build.org

Robin Hood Foundation Benefit, May 13, New York City

One of the biggest fundraiser's of the year, last year Rihanna performed for the crowd.

Who To Expect: Every moneyed hedge funder in New York City shows up to this event, for a battle of who can give more money. Considering its such a worth cause, healthy competition is a good thing.

What To Wear: Bring your checkbook or a black Amex and you'll fit right in.

For more information visit robinhood.org.


El Museo del Barrio 20th Anniversary Gala, May 16, New York City

Who To Expect: This event is known for drawing a designer crowd including Narciso Rodriguez.

What To Wear: Opt for a dress from a Latin American designer like Carolina Herrera.

Tickets from $1,250. For more information visit elmuseo.org

MoMA Party in the Garden, May 21, New York City

This annual fundraiser for the Museum of Modern Art has become a hotter than hot ticket in recent years thanks to musical acts including Jay-Z and Kanye West who have hit the stage to entertain guests. This year's event is being underwritten by Cartier.

Who To Expect: A cross-section of philanthropists and scenesters including the Rockefellers and Solange Knowles.

What To Wear: Ask yourself, what would Beyonce wear?

For more information visit moma.org

New York Botanical Garden Conservatory Ball, June 6, New York City

This party is known for closing the "spring" benefit season.

Who To Expect: Gillian Miniter, Debbie Bancroft, Jennifer Creel, and all of the grand dames of the New York social scene.

What To Wear: Wear a bright floral gown, and you'll blend into the surrounding, in the best possible way.

For more information visit nybg.org

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