Photo: Julia La Roche for Business Insider
Hundreds of young professionals — including a bunch of Wall Streeters — filled up one of New York’s hottest night clubs yesterday evening for a sold out charity event.Autism Speaks to Young Professionals (AS2YP) hosted its fifth gala at the swanky Avenue lounge in Manhattan’s Meatpacking district.
With tickets starting at $100, guests were able to imbibe colourful cocktails, enjoy hors d’ oeuvres and listen to music, while the charitable organisation raised awareness for autism.
These gatherings first started happening in 2009 with the inaugural event taking place on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
One of the key thought-leaders behind these awareness-raising events is Amanda Niederauer, the daughter NYSE chief executive Duncan Niederauer.
“Autism is becoming so prevalent that we need to spread awareness to the new parents so their kids — when they have kids — they’ll know what autism looks like and they’ll be able to you know provide therapies as soon as possible because early intervention is so important and awareness in general is so important because so many kids go without the resources that they need to combat autism in their daily lives,” Niederauer told Business Insider.
Niederauer’s younger brother who is affected by autism is an inspiration for her.
“My brother Liam — he’s fourteen — he has autism and he’s like the bigger story in my life — I love him so much. Seeing him and how my parents had to deal with him and his school and his social skills just showed me how hard it is as a parent how hard it is to deal with this. I realised you know my friends would come over to our house and see my brother and say ‘he’s not autistic — he can talk.’ He’s high functioning, but still has autism and the lack of awareness means a misunderstanding of kids like my brother and you know, for me, I want my brother to be understood by everyone the way you and I are understood, which we take for granted.”
For many of the AS2YP 32 committee members and event attendees, autism really hits close to home. We attended the event last night and put together pictures of the people trying to raise awareness for a disorder that affects one in every 110 American children.
Guests were greeted as the entered the venue with an Autism Speaks blue puzzle piece lapel pin. It's definitely a noticeable way to show support for the organisation.
We even spotted the puzzle piece Autism Speaks cuff links last night. Committee member Phil Quartuccio, managing member at Illustro Trading, told us the accessory also serves as a great conversation starter for raising autism awareness.
AS2YP's main mission is to raise awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families and society. The group used pictures and facts about the disorder at the event.
Even Miss New York USA Johanna Sambucini made an appearance. She told Business Insider that autism really hits home for her because four of her cousins are autistic. Her platform for the Miss USA pageant focuses on raising awareness and care for autistic children.
Pictured from left to right: Kevin Halupka, (Director, Lime Brokerage), Luigi Ghilardi, (Investor Relations, Maritime Capital) and Peter Coroneos, (Vice President, Jefferies).
Pictured on the far right is Louis Sulsenti (Director of NYSE Floor Operations at Pragma Securities)
Pictured from left to right: Co-chairs Jesse Morris, Danny Ryan and former co-chair Amanda Niederauer
Event attendees were served hors d' oeuvres. A lot of people were talking about how delicious the lobster rolls were. The coconut crusted shrimp and the tuna tartare were popular, too.
Of course, the event featured an open bar. Some beverage sponsors for the event included Hpnotiq, Evan Williams, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Tito's Handmade Vodka and Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey.
There was also a raffle for some JetBlue tickets to anywhere in the U.S. being passed around amongst the guests.
Morris said the final numbers weren't in, but he estimated the event raised almost $30,000. The next event will be held on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in the Fall.
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