The second annual “Designs of Hope” gala, sponsored by InterContinental Hotels Group and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), was held on Sunday, October 19 at The Venue on Lambert Drive in Atlanta, Ga. The event, designed to showcase the diversity and talent of the Atlanta fashion community, raised more than $300,000 to benefit the United States Fund for UNICEF’s program to provide care and support of orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS.
Fund-raising for UNICEF was accomplished in a variety of ways leading up to and throughout the event: ticket sales, silent and live auctions and a raffle. Auctioned items included autographed Elton John memorabilia, luxury vacation packages from InterContinental Hotels & Resorts with airfare provided by Delta and a bottle of Louis XIII cognac - rare and the finest quality on the market today.
“This year’s event was an incredible success,” said Vicki Gordon, Event Chair and SVP of Corporate Affairs for InterContinental Hotels Group. “Our goal was to top the first-year Designs of Hope results by 25 percent. Not only did we accomplish that goal, we beat it and tripled the amount of money raised last year.”
Billed as “A Celebration of Cultures,” the event featured the creations of a wide variety of companies and individuals. The evening began with a reception featuring “City Cocktails,” a selection of signature beverages from leading InterContinental Hotels worldwide. This was shortly followed by a multi-course dinner prepared by some of Atlanta’s top chefs from leading restaurants, including French favorites Philippe’s Bistro and JöEL, Canoe and Asian presentations from Tamarind and Roy’s. Also at the event was the Cirque du Soleil-inspired performance group, Cirque Productions which performed for the first time in Atlanta, showcasing the three-man ensemble’s magnificent gymnastic skills, earning them a standing ovation.
Popular radio personalities Vikki Locke and Tom Sullivan from STAR 94 FM served as co-emcees. The centerpiece of the evening was a fashion show highlighting local couture shops and the outstanding work of an ethnically diverse, cutting-edge group of Atlanta designers. Among those designers who contributed to Designs of Hope were Zakia Shafi, a self-taught fashion designer who specializes in ethnic outfits from Pakistan,
India, and the Middle East, Mark Edge, an Atlanta-based jewelry designer who melds free-spirited designs with hands-on craftsmanship and Ubie Angeles of U.B. Fashions, the original designer of the “Can Tab Dress.”
Benefactor sponsors included The Coca-Cola Company, Nasal, Sinus, and Allergy Institute, MAC Cosmetics and Until There’s A Cure Foundation. Among the many other key sponsors from throughout the community were Atlanta Magazine, Delta Air Lines, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, STAR 94 FM, Carey Carter and Carter Barnes Hair Artisans, Doctors Nancy and Jeffrey Gallups, Ms. Wendy Babchin, GCI Group, and Mednikow Jewelers. Sir Elton John once again served as the event’s honorary chairman.
Due to the overwhelming success of this year’s and last year’s events in Atlanta, Designs of Hope is now being replicated in two additional cities. “The InterContinental Hotel in Chicago and Houston will partner with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF chapters in both Chicago and Houston for Designs of Hope events in 2004,” said Barron Segar, director of UNICEF’s Southeast chapter.
Planning is also already underway for the 2004/2005 Designs of Hope event to be held at the InterContinental Buckhead, currently under construction in the heart of the Buckhead community on Peachtree Road.
The United States Fund for UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) works for the survival, protection and development of children worldwide through education, advocacy and fund-raising. UNICEF was created for educational and charitable purposes to raise funds for UNICEF-assisted projects and to increase public awareness in the United States about the challenges facing the world’s children.
UNICEF is not funded by the United Nations and must raise, every year, its entire operating budget through contributions from donor countries, corporations and individuals. For more information, and/or to make a donation, please call 1-800-FOR-KIDS (1-800-367-5437) or visit www.unicefusa.org.
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC of the United Kingdom [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)], owns, manages, leases or franchises, through various subsidiaries, more than 3,300 hotels and 515,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world (www.ichotelsgroup.com). The Group owns a portfolio of well recognised and respected hotel brands including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Express by Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites, and also has a controlling interest in Britvic, the second largest soft drinks manufacturer in the UK.
InterContinental Hotels Group offers information and reservations capability on the Internet - www.intercontinental.com for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, www.crowneplaza.com for Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, www.holiday-inn.com for Holiday Inn hotels, www.hiexpress.com for Express by Holiday Inn hotels, www.staybridge.com for Staybridge Suites by Holiday Inn hotels and, for the Group’s rewards programme, www.priorityclub.com