City Winery played host to the cozy evening led by Malin Akerman, wearing Brazilian designer PatBo, with her fiancé Jack Donnelly. Akerman had met Ray Barnett, the African Children’s Choir founder, when she was on location filming for The Bang Bang Club and saw the choir on their home base.
“They’re talented, they’re beautiful, and they have this excitement and this joie de vivre that shines off of them,” she says of that first performance. “I was blown away.”
The actress has been friends with the ACC since that initial meeting a decade ago and attended her first ChangeMakers Gala last year. As this year’s host, Akerman said the power of social media was incredible in gathering donations and spreading the word to friends and fans alike.
“It’s also about inviting friends here to experience it,” she said. “Once you experience the kids . . . when you are immersed in something, you are so much more inclined to give.”
Akerman said the incredible sponsors (Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Sony, and S’well Bottle) made the evening possible. “They are helping us out so much, and the proceeds are really going to where we want them to.”
In between the lively and heartwarming performances, guests also learned about Empower International Academy, a new secondary school currently being built in Uganda. The school will provide education to 400 students, with the goal of sponsoring 200 children who come from economically disadvantaged circumstances.
Attendees included Zosia Mamet and Evan Jonigkeit as well as Padma Lakshmi, Dylan Lauren, and Helena Christensen. Lakshmi, wearing Chloé, brought her daughter, Krishna, to the festivities.