A capacity audience of 464 guests attended The New Albany Community Foundation’s 16th annual Remarkable Evening benefit hosted by Abigail and Les Wexner at their New Albany home on the evening of November 28th. The event featured a panel discussion with three Pulitzer Prize-winning historians, Joseph Ellis, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham, moderated by David Gergen, Director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and CNN senior political analyst.
Funds raised from the event support the Foundation’s annual grantmaking to area not-for-profit organizations and to build Foundation endowments. Funds raised also support The Jefferson Series, an ongoing Foundation lecture series that features an impressive lineup of distinguished diplomats, experts on foreign policy, national security, health, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, journalists and historians. In addition to community lectures, Jefferson Series speakers have interacted with over 12,500 students representing over 20 school districts across central Ohio.
It was announced during this year’s benefit that Foundation donors have contributed a total of over $25 million to community initiatives through Remarkable Evening events. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded over $12 million in grants in support of lifelong learning, arts and culture, health and wellness and the environment.
These grants are made possible through the support of generous donors and sponsors who contribute annually through Remarkable Evening or have established endowments at the Foundation. Contributions have also helped make possible transformational projects like the New Albany Branch Library, the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts and the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany. The Foundation presently is raising money to build the Charleen & Charles Hinson Amphitheater.
Lead sponsors for this year’s Remarkable Evening included American Electric Power, The Berend Family and Joint Implant Surgeons Orthopedics, Huntington, Justice, The New Albany Company and Nickolas Savko & Sons, Inc.
Several significant announcements were made during the evening:
Leslie H. Wexner received the 2018 Jeanne and John G. McCoy Community Service Award
The Jeanne and John G. McCoy Community Service Award was established by the Foundation in 2004 to recognize citizens who have made a significant impact on the community through their leadership, contributions and community service. Through their remarkable philanthropy in New Albany and central Ohio, Jeanne and John G. McCoy embodied the spirit of this award and were the first to be honored with the distinction in 2004 when it was established in their name.
Leslie H. Wexner has been engaged in community betterment throughout his life. As Bob Schottenstein stated in announcing Wexner as the McCoy Award honoree that evening, “With his relentless focus and drive to constantly aim higher, Les found a way to harness development for the common good. New Albany is a reflection of and personifies his uncommon commitment to lifelong learning, leadership, and an informed citizenry.”
Wexner accepted the award paying tribute to his longtime friend and Columbus civic leader, John G. McCoy. An active resident of New Albany until his passing in 2010, John McCoy and his wife Jeanne were among the first residents to move to New Albany as the community began its transformation in the late 1990s. In 2006, McCoy made a $2 million gift announcement at Remarkable Evening that enabled the construction of what was later named the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts in the heart of New Albany. In accepting the award, Les Wexner said, “My friend John had a great impact on how I view community. Years ago, he told me, ‘You should think about tithing in time and in resource. You should think about giving some of your time and energy to the community.’ His mentoring and coaching was transformative to me. I take this opportunity to memorialize John G. and his generous contributions to our community. He was a spectacular person and a great friend.”
Past recipients of The McCoy Award include:
2004 Jeanne & John G. McCoy
2005 Janet Atwater
2006 Dr. Ralph Johnson
2007 Bill Resch
2008 Don Cameron
2009 Dr. Phil Heit
2010 The Ryan Family
2011 Tiney McComb
2012 Bob Schottenstein
2013 John W. Kessler
2014 Jackie & Ken Krebs
2015 Jennie & Mark Wilson
2016 Cindy & Keith Berend
2017 Barbara & Al Siemer
Bob Schottenstein and Jeri Block together with M/I Homes Foundation make a generous gift to the Leslie H. Wexner Jefferson Series Fund
The New Albany Community Foundation announced a contribution of $500,000 from Bob Schottenstein and Jeri Block together with M/I Homes Foundation to the Leslie H. Wexner Jefferson Series Fund. The fund was established by Wexner’s friends to support in perpetuity the lecture series. The gift represents the single largest gift to the fund, which has now reached $1.7 million.
More than 12,500 students have participated in Jefferson Series student lectures
The New Albany Community Foundation announced that as of November of 2018, more than 12,500 students have participated in the Jefferson Series student lectures, representing over 25 schools across Central Ohio. Now in its sixth season of hosting an array of speakers including entrepreneurs, best-selling authors, journalists, historians and more, The Jefferson Series opened its 2018-2019 season in September with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Additionally, it was announced that the October National Security Town Hall featuring General Michael Hayden, Stephen Hadley and Samantha Power and moderated by CNN Host, Columnist and Global Expert Fareed Zakaria, reached more than 25 million people around the world when it was broadcast on Fareed Zakaria GPS.
On January 15, actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close will speak at the Jefferson Series and then a new program in May will feature Jeffrey Toobin and Noah Feldman. This program marks the debut of a special series focusing on civil discourse and debate, envisioned by the Derrow Family.
The remaining Jefferson Series lectures are as follows:
SOLD OUT – January 15 – Glenn Close
SOLD OUT – May 1 – Noah Feldman & Jeffrey Toobin
*All remaining Jefferson Series forums are now sold out. If you are interested in attending either event, click here to have your name added to the waitlist. Those on the waitlist will be contacted in the order received if tickets become available.
The New Albany Community Foundation and its donors are working together to build an extraordinary community. The Foundation develops collaborative partnerships and invests in transformational projects that benefit all residents and contribute to the greater good: developing a community of life-long learners, creating culture of wellness, enriching the community through the arts and supporting a sustainable environment. By championing forward-thinking initiatives, the Foundation and its donors have already had a significant positive impact.