Actor Dominic Chianese to Receive Creative Leadership Award
On Monday, June 2, 2014, the Alzheimer's Association, New York City Chapter will present actor Dominic Chianese with its Creative Leadership Award for his work as the founder of the "Joy Through Art" foundation, a non-profit organization that brings performing artists into nursing homes. The award will be presented at the annual "Forget-Me-Not" Gala, An Evening to End Alzheimer's. Chianese was previously honored at the event in 2005 for his riveting and realistic portrayal of dementia sufferer Uncle Junior on the hit HBO series The Sopranos. Chianese will perform.
Members of New York City's philanthropic, business, health care and Alzheimer's communities will join forces at the annual event, which will be held at The Pierre in Manhattan and is expected to raise $1.5 million. The event will be emceed by David Hyde Pierce, Tony Award winning actor and tireless advocate in the Alzheimer's community.
Senior citizens in New York City nursing homes have known Dominic for more than three decades and have enjoyed a front row seat for his intimate music performances. In the 1980s, when working as a recreational staff member in a nursing home, with guitar in hand, Dominic would sing songs and share stories with the residents. They lined up in the corridors and would wait hours for him to show up. They became family. After 30 years of bringing them the joy of music, he knew this would be his legacy. So, Dominic created the "Joy Through Art" foundation, a non-profit organization that, today, brings professional performing artists into nursing homes. These visits improve the lives of the residents through the enriching experience of live music and theater, helping to fulfill their emotional needs and dispel their loneliness.
Also in attendance will be actor Victor Garber, an ardent supporter of the Chapter who lost both parents to complications from Alzheimer's disease and actors and supporters of the Chapter Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley, who appeared together on Broadway in Next To Normal. Dr. Max Gomez, CBS 2 Medical Reporter, who received the Chapter's Public Awareness Award at the Gala in 2011 for courageously sharing with the world the story of his father, a physician with Alzheimer's, who lost his life savings to financial predators, will also be in attendance. Authors and actors Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry, who both starred in the hit series L.A. Law, will also attend. Tucker and Eikenberry both cared for their mothers with dementia. Tucker is author of the book, Family Meals - Coming Together To Care For An Aging Parent, which chronicles how he and Jill dealt with her mother's dementia. The book also explores the meaning of family and examines the sacrifices we make for those we love. In addition, Prince Amukamara, starting cornerback for the New York Giants, will attend the gala with his wife, Pilar Amukamara. Prince's father-in-law has early onset Alzheimer's.
"The Chapter has been so fortunate to have found a long-time friend in Dominic," said Lou-Ellen Barkan, President and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association, New York City Chapter. "Over the years, we have all been delighted by his supreme talent, and educated by his poignant depiction of someone with dementia. And now, thanks to Dominic and "Joy Through Art," thousands of nursing homes residents across the City are enjoying music and theater as in days Gone by. We at the Chapter are proud to honor Dominic and the wonderful gift of joy he is bringing to so many throughout the City."
The evening will offer a cocktail reception, silent and live auctions, and dinner and dancing to Hank Lane Music and Productions with Harris Lane, band leader. The live auction will be led by Jamie Niven, Chairman, the Americas, Sotheby's.
EmblemHealth, a New York City-based health insurer and wellness company, will receive the Chapter's Community Leadership Award for its innovation to bring a new model of care - EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care - to New York's diverse communities. Located in Harlem, Cambria Heights, Queens, and Chinatown, EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care is an inviting place where the community is welcomed to meet face-to-face with EmblemHealth professionals to ask questions, get reliable information and have a problem solved. Accepting on behalf of EmblemHealth will be Charlene Maher, Chief Marketing Officer, EmblemHealth.
The gala will be chaired by Jeff Gitlin, U.S. Health Services Advisory Leader, PwC.