Virtual Galas and Events Support East End Businesses

Julie Ratner, Jean Shafiroff, and Jodi Wasserman at a previous Ellen Hermanson Foundation benefit, Photo: J. Vanderwatt for Rob Rich/

The East End’s summer gala season does not look the same as years past due to COVID-19. It’s a hard hit for the non-profit foundations that depend on those single night galas—many that take months to create – for a large portion of their yearly operating budgets. While things may look different this summer, there are still options to support virtually and while social distancing. Here are a few options.

The Ellen Hermanson Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary this summer. For decades the foundation has been committed to providing access to breast health care and empowering those affected by cancer on the East End. “Now more than ever, we are here to support our community on the East End of Long Island,” said an email from the foundation.

On July 25, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. the foundation will host a virtual gala. This year’s event will honor Cristina Cuomo, Kristen Dahlgren, Patti Askwith Kenner and Edyle O’Brien. There will be performances by Jessica Kirson and Tovah Feldshuh and the emcee is Lucas Hunt. The gala co-chairs are Jean Shafiroff and Jodi Wasserman.

“The money we raise pays for medical equipment and screenings at the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, with locations in Hampton Bays and East Hampton. The Ellen’s Well psycho-social support program provides individual and group counseling and wellness programs, free of charge,” read the email.

“Breast cancer does not take a break, and neither will we,” said president Julie Ratner. “No one is turned away due to an inability to pay.”

“I am so excited to take part of the 25th Anniversary of the Ellen Hermanson Foundation. Having been part of the board for several years, I have seen how we collectively—through our hard work, programs and new initiatives – have changed and saved lives,” said Dee Rivera, a member of the Ellen Hermanson Board.

For more info on the event visit

Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor will host The Starry Night Virtual Gala & Telethon on Wednesday, July 22, at 8 p.m. with host actor Richard Kind. There will be performances by Ben Vereen, Melissa Errico, Raul Esparza, Betty Buckley, and Andre DeSheilds, celebrating musicals of the 1970s.

Proceeds from the evening will support Bay Street’s educational and theatrical programs. Ten percent of proceeds will also be donated to Jon Bon Jovi’s JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank. For more info visit

The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, which holds its annual Hamptons Happening event each summer in Bridgehampton, has shifted the focus of this year’s benefit. To date, the event has raised over $5 million to support cancer research. This summer the foundation will present a virtual concert.

“This year, the SWCRF is working hard to create an exciting event that will observe social-distancing measures while bringing the community together,” Samuel Waxman, M.D., founder and CEO, Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation told The Independent in May.

Kenneth Fishel, Ian Duke, Marion Waxman, Nicole Miller, Lidia Bastianich, Antonella Bertello, Maria Fishel and Bradley Fishel, at last year’s Hamptons Happening event to benefit the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, Photo: R. Cole for Rob Rich/

The virtual concert will be held on Saturday, August 8, at 7:30 p.m. The socially distant event will offer a way to rock-out at your own home while virtually tuning in with your family, or by hosting an outdoor dinner party that follows CDC guidelines. Performances and ticket information will be announced soon, so stay tuned and visit

The 62nd annual Stony Brook Southampton Hospital Gala, an anticipated event that happens each summer on the first Saturday in August, will present the virtual event “Gala in YOUR Garden” on Saturday, August 1. The event will benefit The Jenny & John Paulson Emergency Department and The Healthcare Heroes Fund.

“This year we will bring our biggest fundraiser of the year to you, so you can stay home,” said the hospital’s website. “The festivities will include a special party delivery service for up to ten people, with our local restaurants and florists. A short virtual program will bring us together to toast our healthcare heroes and you, our loyal supporters.”

The focus this year will be to thank healthcare heroes and the emergency department. There will a virtual thank you toast at 7 p.m.

Working with local businesses, the Southampton Hospital Foundation will present table sponsors with a party box that includes appetizers, wines and something sweet, a fresh floral bouquet, and the option to order up to 10 dinners from a local restaurant. Full details for tickets and pricing will be available soon.

The East Hampton Historical Society has reinvented its signature summer event, the East Hampton Antiques & Design Show, with a virtual format this summer. 

The Virtual Antiques Show Party, will be held on Friday, July 17, with a ticketed event, followed by an online auction from July 17 through July 24, sponsored by Doyle Auction House. Items up for auction are donated by top designers including Aerin Lauder, Jonathan Adler, Charlotte Moss, Kim Seybert and Marshall Watson.

In lieu of the yearly Preview Cocktail Party, which is normally held on the grounds of Mulford Farmstead, ticketed recipients will receive a personally delivered swag bag filled with East End delectables and wine.“Pull up a lounge chair and enjoy the sea breeze, knowing that you’re supporting the East Hampton Historical Society’s many museums and educational programs,” said executive director Maria Vann.

Tickets for the Virtual Antiques Show Party are $150 and bags will be delivered to South Fork ticket holders. Visit

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