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October 25, 2013
The Doe Fund Holds Annual Gala to Celebrate Success of Former NYC Homeles

by Kate Hamzik

The Doe Fund held their annual gala on October 24 at Cipriani 42nd Street to celebrate the fund and those who have found success through its Ready, Willing & Able program. The Doe Fund is a non-profit organization that helps men that were once incarcerated help better themselves through programs offered by the fund.

Opening remarks were made by the fund’s Executive Vice President, Harriet Karr-McDonald, who told the story of how the Ready, Willing & Able program began in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn with 70 homeless men. Remarks were also given by Richard Schaps, the Board Chairman of The Doe Fund.

Then, Devon Green, a Ready, Willing & Able CORE trainee spoke about his life growing up and how his father was also incarcerated. Green stated how he would like to see the cycle of parents and children of incarcerated parents ending up in prison come to an end. “That cycle ends tonight,” Green stated. Although he faced many struggles growing up Green stated how the program is helping him today, “I know I can succeed even when it’s hard.”

After a dinner reception, guests were able to view The Doe Fund’s Works Documentary which told the story of the work that the fund does and had men who are a part of the Ready, Willing & Able program share their stories.

Guests then got to hear from a graduate of the Ready, Willing & Able programTerrance Coffie. Coffie grew up in and out of foster homes and told guests how he had spent nearly a decade in prison because of drugs. Joining the program gave him the opportunity to attend college. The most emotional moment of the evening came when Coffie described how he was never a father to his son when he was growing up but they eventually reconnected through Facebook. Coffie then brought his family up on stage with him. Speaking about The Doe Fund Coffie stated, “It’s very important to support The Doe Fund.”

Gala Co-Chair, Joy Fishman, then spoke about how she got involved with The Doe Fund after her son died of an overdose. She stated how the men in the Ready, Willing & Able program are her “symbolic sons.” World-renowned auctioneer CK Swett then got guests to dig deep in to their pockets to help raise over $250,000 for The Doe Fund.

The Doe Fund’s Founder and President, George McDonald, then spoke to guests about the fund and how important it is for people to keep donating. “Your commitment and hard work help keep the doors of opportunity open.” A raffle drawing then took place with model Teresa Moore pulling the winning raffle ticket which was a trip to the Grand Cayman Islands.

Celebrity guests that attended the event included Orange is the New Black’s Dascha Polanco and Selenis Leyva, True Blood’s Carrie Preston, model Jessica White, actress Zineb Oukach, stylist and Doe Fund Ambassador, Derek Warburton, and footwear company founder Steve Madden, along with his wife Wendy, who is on the Board of Directors for The Doe Fund.

Warburton stated that he got involved with The Doe Fund because, “so many friends were involved” with the fund and he likes to “give back to the community.”

Polanco stated that organizations like The Doe Fund are about “humanity helping one another.” She also stated that starring on Orange is the New Black has helped her understand better the need to break the cycle of parents and children of incarcerated parents ending up in prison.

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