Children’s Defense Fund-New York to Honor Five Students with 2012 CDF Beat the Odds® Scholarships at Annual Dinner

WCBS-TV’s Maurice DuBois to Serve as Master of Ceremonies

NEW YORK--()--On Tuesday, December 11, 2012, the Children’s Defense Fund-New York will host its annual CDF Beat the Odds® Awards Dinner, celebrating the accomplishments and scholastic achievements of five New York City high school seniors.

The five Beat The Odds recipients– Jeffrey Ng, Joshua Norris, Raymond Perez, Ricki Rupine and Abdul Zahid – have overcome tremendous adversity, demonstrated academic excellence and shown leadership in their communities. Each will receive a minimum $5,000 college scholarship to help them pursue their academic and life goals.

As part of the event, Tommy Hilfiger will honor Craig Cogut, philanthropist and Founder and Managing Partner of Pegasus Capital Advisors, for his work with the Polyphony Foundation—a musical and personal development program in Israel that brings teenagers of all races and creeds together to pursue their classical music ambitions as part of a full youth orchestra. Two musicians from Polyphony will perform at the event.

Children’s Defense Fund President, Marian Wright Edelman, will be joined by New York CDF supporters, while Stephanie March and Bobby Flay will serve as Honorary Co-Chairs. The roster of presenters includes: philanthropist and activist, Khaliah Ali; activist and actor, Harry Belafonte; model and founder of the Georges Malaika Foundation, Noella Coursaris; chef, John Delucie; world-renowned opera singer, Joyce DiDonato; model, actress and founder of the Women’s Coalition for Empowerment, Selita Ebanks; chef, Todd English; Connecticut State Treasurer, Denise Lynn Nappier; CNN anchor, Soledad O’Brien; Contributing Editor at Vogue Magazine, André Leon Talley.

Actor, comedian, and CDF Board Member Ali Wentworth will conduct a special auction during the event.

About The Children's Defense Fund (CDF): The Children’s Defense Fund‘s Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF provides a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. CDF pays particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investments before they get sick, drop out of school, get into trouble or suffer family breakdown. CDF began in 1973 and is a private, nonprofit organization supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations.

In 1992, the Children’s Defense Fund established an office in New York City. In 1998, the Children’s Defense Fund—New York expanded its community education and organizing efforts statewide. CDF-NY focuses on creating policy and programmatic changes that will level the playing field for New York’s children. Its research, public education, policy analysis, community organizing and advocacy is primarily focused on juvenile justice, health, early childhood learning, child welfare education and youth development.

About CDF Beat the Odds: The CDF Beat the Odds® program was initiated by the Children's Defense Fund in 1990 to celebrate the positive potential of young people. The program was set up in response the common issues facing teens—getting into trouble, dropping out of school, becoming involved with drugs, crime or gangs, or becoming parents too soon. Rarely recognized are the many young people who do well despite facing such problems as poverty, violence, homelessness, family breakup, or substance abuse that stand in the way of even the smallest achievements.

About The Polyphony Foundation: The Polyphony Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that believes in the power of music to bridge the divide between ethnic communities in Israel and to serve as a model for cooperation worldwide based on cultural exchange, dialogue, and partnerships.

The Polyphony Foundation financially supports the work of Polyphony Education CIC and Orpheus, Nazareth-based non-profits whose programs are based on the principle that classical music has a unique power to transcend cultural and social boundaries, educating both performer and audience in the art of listening and communicating.


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