In March, I announced to CPA Journal readers that the New York State Society’s 119th Annual Dinner would be a bit different this year—a different venue, different dress code, and a different program.
The most significant difference, though, is that we turned what had become a staid affair into a black-tie fund-raising gala for our Foundation for Accounting Education’s (FAE) Moynihan Fund, which supports the FAE’s scholarship and Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession (COAP) programs. It was a lot of hard work, and we faced a bit of a learning curve. There were also no guarantees. Since it had been something of a challenge in years past to fill a 200-seat room at the annual dinner, we were entering into Field of Dreams territory with a 400-seat event. More than once we asked ourselves, “If we build it, will they come?”
Not only did they come, we had to turn people away. And thanks to our generous sponsors, both firms and individuals, we reached our five-year fund-raising goal of $500,000 in just 14 months. We are so grateful for these firms’ and individuals’ generosity that I’d like to mention them each by name: UHY LLP and Crowe Horwath LLP donated $25,000 each. BDO committed to $15,000. PwC, KPMG, the AICPA, St. John’s University, EisnerAmper, and Gibgot Willenbacher & Co. donated $10,000 each. We received $5,000 donations from Tronconi Segarra & Associates, RSM, CohnReznick, Cohen & Steers, Camico, First Niagara, Capell Barnett Matalon & Schoenfeld LLP, Sheridan Communications Inc., Joseph M. Falbo Jr. and Suzanne M. Jensen, Stanley Goldstein, and one donor who wanted to remain anonymous. Hundreds of other individual NYSSCPA members donated thousands more. To read more about the Moynihan Fund Gala, see page 5.
I told CPA Journal readers back in March that the goal was to make the gala the event of the year for NYSSCPA members. And because of many of you, it was. We’ve already begun scouting venues throughout Manhattan for the location of next year’s gala and are building on one of our primary objectives from this year: to make the event accessible not only to our members, not only to CPAs, but also to New York’s entire business community. A CPA’s value is best realized when that unique combination of business and accounting education and experience is shared with someone else: a client, a colleague, an employer, or another professional who seeks their services. So, it would stand to reason that these non-CPA professionals might find value in an evening of networking and entertainment for a good cause if we invited them. And that was one of the other successes of the evening: We were able to introduce ourselves to a broader audience. Since Society CPA members approved, by a supermajority of votes, a new associate member category for non-CPAs this past May, we expect that broader audience to grow. We’d like you to be there with us as it does. Next year, we will make special efforts for our upstate members to attend via a live feed. If you missed the Moynihan Fund Gala this year, be on the lookout for the “save the date” for next year, because what was just a dream for us in March is now a reality—and to miss it would be unthinkable.