August is going to be the busiest time of the year for the Ellen Hermanson Foundation, as two major fundraiser events are scheduled to take place days apart near the end of the month.
The first of these events will be the 27th annual Ellen’s Run, which is a 5K walk/run through Southampton on Sunday, August 21. The second event is their summer gala, which takes place on Saturday, August 27.
Proceeds from both events will benefit the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital as well as the Community Partnership Program to reach underserved women with the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center, OLA of Eastern Long Island, The Retreat and the Shinnecock Indian Health Center.
This year, the events serve a dual purpose and act as much more than just a fundraising event because one of the main highlights of the gala will be to honor the late Emily Levin, who co-established the foundation with her sister Julie Ratner in 1997. She served as the foundation’s vice president and passed away last September.
“My sister was fierce,” says Ratner, who currently serves as president. “She was fierce in her love and commitment to her family, fierce in her towering intellect, fierce in her expectations and fierce in her honesty and integrity. She was integral to all that we did and was the smartest person that I ever knew.”
The duo established the foundation in 1997 in order to honor their sister Ellen, who battled breast cancer for six years. The foundation wasn’t just established to honor her, but to continue her work as well. While fighting the disease, Ellen served as an advocate for others who also suffered from breast cancer. Before passing away in 1995, Ellen used her experiences and her talent as a journalist to reach people.
Their first major event was none other than the Ellen’s Run, which became successful almost immediately. According to the foundation, the first run featured more than 500 participants and raised more than $60,000, with the amount increasing each year. The number of participants has since doubled, and the total value of grants awarded by the foundation has exceeded $5 million.
The run, which has become the foundations flagship event, aims to provide awareness in addition to raising funds so that those who live with breast cancer on the East End will continue to have access to quality care and support. Each year, the run ends up being a huge success thanks to the contributions of runners, walkers, donors, sponsors and volunteers.
One highlight of this year’s run is that it’s accessible to those who can’t find the time to participate on that day and to those who can’t make it out to Southampton. This year marks the return of their virtual 5K run, in which participants are able to take part remotely and at their own pace. Those who don’t attend in person can walk or run wherever they are and upload their results from August 21–28.
Registering for the virtual 5K run costs $50, which costs the same as if you participate in person ,and is the perfect opportunity for those looking to support the cause without being in attendance. Everyone who participates, including remote runners, will receive a shirt, bib and medal for completing the run.
The run begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, August 21 at the Southampton Intermediate School, located at 70 Leland Lane. Online registration for the in-person run takes place up until the race begins.
One challenge that the foundation faced was the process of having two major events take place so close together. In 2019, the summer gala and the 5K run were 22 days apart, which allowed for some breathing room. But this year, the two events are only six days apart, which created more overlap when it came to the planning and execution of both events.
“It was definitely a little hectic going into these events,” says Ratner. “We don’t do them one after the other, preparations for both began well in advance. We sit down and plan out the event and what our calendar will look like and then we take it to the board of the foundation. By doing this we’re revved and going on all burners.”
The gala takes place six days later, on Saturday, August 27 and is looking to be just as important as the run. In addition to honoring Levin, the gala will also be honoring Ingrid Arneberg for her contributions. Guests will also be treated to a fine selection of food, entertainment and activities.
Live music will be supplied by Winston Irie and the Selective Security Band, who has a long history of performing in the Hamptons. Lan Cao, who has been serving up delicious meals at her V-Café in Tribeca for nearly 20 years will be providing the food. There will also be live auctions where guests can win two tickets to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden or two VIP tickets for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
An individual ticket to the gala will cost $625 while an under-40 individual ticket will cost $375. The gala will be held at the Hampton Racquet in East Hampton from 6:30–10 p.m. Funds raised from both events will provide for direct breast health services in the community including free breast cancer screenings for uninsured women, transportation assistance to medical appointments, emergency grants and more.
“Women need access to care, and both of these events go a long way when it comes to support,” says Ratner.
Visit ellenhermanson.org to purchase tickets or for more info on the events and foundation.