UPDATE: Get tickets to our 12th Annual Gala on April 23, 2018, here.

Nearly one million dollars raised to help students from low-income circumstances get their college degree

As the sun set on the Hudson River, supporters, participants, board and staff members took their seats at The Lighthouse in New York City’s Chelsea Piers for Let’s Get Ready’s 11th Annual Gala. The event raised a substantial sum for the organization in order to support its mission of helping students from low-income circumstances, as well as those who are the first in their families to attend college, enroll in and graduate from college by providing near-peer mentoring. The evening was both a meaningful and light-hearted affair, with students and volunteers taking the podium alongside high profile honorees and board members.

Lynda Baquero, a reporter and anchor for NBC, served as the master of ceremonies. She introduced Gary Matthews, the Chair of the Board of Directors, who expounded on some of the program’s strongest data points, explaining that for organizations of its kind, Let’s Get Ready is a top performer in terms of the number of students achieving their college goals as well cost-efficiency. He then introduced Kathrine Mott, who joined Let’s Get Ready as CEO in January.

Mott added some perspective to the Let’s Get Ready’s work, pointing out that secondary education is vital to economic mobility. “75% of our students are the first in their families to go to college,” she said, “and 100% of our students raise their hand to do extra work to get there.” She thanked volunteers, donors, staff, and board members for ensuring the program’s efficacy. She noted that sending a student through the admissions and graduation process with Let’s Get Ready costs only $1,000.

Mott introduced a video produced by Ogilvy & Mather which featured the story of Cinthia Ibarra, who went through Let’s Get Ready as a high school student and gained admission to the University of Pennsylvania.

When the video ended, Ibarra ascended to the stage with Dean Trusty and Richard Jimenez, both alumni of Let’s Get Ready’s College Access program. Trusty, a native of the Bronx, told the story of how his college counsellor informed him of the program’s free SAT preparation classes. “I thought, what better way to spend a summer?” he said, resulting in a wave of laugher from the audience. The laughter turned into thunderous applause as Trusty, who will be the first in his family to attend a four-year college, announced that he will be attending SUNY Farmingdale.

Ibarra spoke next, detailing how Let’s Get Ready’s College Success program supported her after she enrolled at Penn. She recalled how the program provided financial aid application assistance and mock admissions interviews, and how attending a Career Day event helped her secure a law firm internship. “That resume building workshop really paid off!” she said with a smile. She explained her decision to contribute to the program as a math Coach, an experience she called “extremely rewarding.” She described the mentoring process as a two-way street. “Both the mentor and the mentee have notable lessons to learn from each other.”

Richard Jimenez, who graduated from Brown University in 2014, took the podium, recalling his first encounters with Let’s Get Ready in 2009 as a “zit-faced” teen “still rocking braces.” Jimenez worked as a site director at five locations. “Let’s Get Ready gave me a platform to not only give back in the same way I’ve been assisted, but also develop into the tenacious professional I am today,” he told the crowd. “In my current role I assist indigent defendants, faced with bail as low as $250, so they don’t have to sit in a place like Riker’s [Island jail] awaiting trial.”


The next component of the program was the presentation of the Transforming Lives Award to Ross Love, a Senior Partner at the Boston Consulting Group and Managing Director of BCG’s New York office. After an introduction by Let’s Get Ready Board Member Laurent Desmangles, also a Senior Partner and Managing Director at BCG, Love gave a speech that extolled the work of Let’s Get Ready, and described civic contributions as a facet of success. “When we [BCG] get involved with organizations like Let’s Get Ready, we know we are making a positive impact on the world.”

Next, NYU Vice President for Enrollment Management MJ Knoll took the stage to introduce honoree, G. Gabrielle Starr, Dean of the College of Arts and Science at New York University and Incoming President of Pomona College. She will be the first woman and African American to hold that office.

Addressing the crowd, Starr affirmed the importance of diversity in higher education. She cited a study by the University of Michigan’s Scott Page, saying, “Bringing more and different voices around the table makes for better, stronger, and more creative ideas and solutions. Diversity yields new knowledge.” She called Let’s Get Ready students “extraordinary”, saying, “They grow and change their lives, and the lives of their communities, and they will transform the world.”

In total, the 11th Annual Gala raised nearly a million dollars, providing even more underserved students with the opportunity to get into and graduate from college.

Let’s Get Ready would Like to thank the following individuals and organizations for making our 11th Annual Gala a success:

Judy Bigelow and Carl Ellison
Toni and L.P. Harrison III
Gil Kemp
Lisa and Gary Matthews
Sharon and Colin Morris
Paula and Dan Reingold
The Mimi Saltzman Foundation

Emily and Mike Cavanagh
Laurent Desmangles
Liz and Steven Gruber
Morgan Stanley
The Prince Family Foundation
Jeannie and Brian Rosenthal
Ann and David Yaspan

Bank of America
Marion and Bennett Borko
Jung and Nelson Chai
Sheri and David Gellman
Jeffrey S. Gould Foundation
Nancy Greene and Jeffrey Waters
Kate Levin and Robin Shapiro
Lea and Eric Medow
Thank you to our generous Gala supporters
Susan Deitz Milmoe
Joan Gerhart Mollerus and
Michael Mollerus
Priscilla Natkins and Seth Novatt
Newmark Grubb Knight & Frank
Ogilvy & Mather
Amy and Brook Payner
Cassie Rosenthal,
Rosenthal & Rosenthal, Inc.
Joan Saltzman


Alvarez and Marsal
Susan and Rocco Andriola
Lana and Michael Beaury
Heather and Josh Benn
Coach, Inc.
Martha Coultrap and Harvey Bagg
Catherine and Louis D’Amico
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Bruce Eames
Insight Partners
Jordana and Jeff Jacobs
Liliahn and Ibrahim Majeed
Mediavest | Spark
oneworld Alliance
Amy Roberts and Glenn Fogel
Safra National Bank of New York

Nancy and Jamie Better
Linda and Mel Brosterman
Capital One, N. A.
Couristan Carpets
Catherine and Louis D’Amico
GE Antares
Patty and Bob Gelfman
Gerber Finance Inc.
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
James Kirsch
Latham & Watkins
David Levanson
Martha and Bob Lipp
Joanne and Norman Matthews
The Morrison & Foerster Foundation
David Pesikoff
Leslie and Michael Petrick
Frank Pomilla
Jamie and Jack Rubin
Schaps Family Foundation
Lorraine W. Shanley and David H. Snyder
Robert Walter / Walter Family Foundation
Theodore and Renee Weiler Foundation
Beth Zadek and Joph Steckel

Nancy and Howard Adler
Stuart and Lisa Alperin
The Atkinson Family Foundation
Atwell, Curtis & Brooks, Ltd.
Ballon, Stoll, Bader & Nadler, P.C.
Ajay Banga
Jeanne Bickford
Randye and Gerald Blitstein
Cynthia and Senator Richard
Rachel and Bart Breinin
Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc.
Lee M. Cohen, CPA
CoMetrics Partners LLC
Sheila and Oliver Cromwell
Laurie and Stephen Girsky
Sandra and Ira Greenstein
Bruce Greenwald
Ellen and Ken Grossman
Lauren and Alan Halperin
Lucy Harrington and Gustavo Schwed
Brian B. Hawkins
Leona Kern
Jennifer Krueger and Mitchell Stein
Emily Lampert
Tammy and Jay Levine
Lividini & Co.
Sally and Anthony Mann
Nancy and David Michaels
Barbara Morgan and Eric Hemel
Dale and Bruce Morrison
MSI International
New York Commercial Bank
Lauri Novick and Geoffrey Dann
Heidi and Ronald Ongaro
Betty and Carl Pforzheimer
Fran and Eric Rosenfeld
Jeffrey Schlosser
Linda and Joe Simon
Taylor Smith
Sheila and Burton Stone
The Tamura Family Fund
Tara and Ted Tyberg
Eunice Valdivia
Steve Van Wyk
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Yasgur
Wendy Zimmerman and Steve Cutler
Demetrios Ziozis
Stacey and Mark Zoland

Joe Agnello
Colleen and Thomas Baldwin
Judy and Peter Baum
Leslie and Mark Berkovits
Jane and James Buck
Tony Cardinale
Jill and Daniel Ciporin
Anya and Peter Cole
Sheila Crespi and Andy Sparks
Cynthia Foster Curry
Anna Decker
Noah Dorsky
Andrea Feirstein and Frank Schiff
Kristin and Gary Friedman
Susan and Paul Friedman
Melissa and Casey Gard
Lynda F. Gould
Sandra and Ira Greenstein
Neil Hall
Dinah and Jim Howland
Marilyn and Philip Kane
Bettina and Michael Klein
Lazarus & Lazarus, P.C.
Susan Li
Douglas Maine
Sushil Malhotra
Noelle and Blaine Marder
Mary Theresa and John McCombe
Robin Mitchell
Susan Murphy
Marks Paneth LLP
Karen and Alan Nadel
Charles R. Perrin
Marybeth and Jay Petschek
Christina Polischuk
William Pullano
Victoria Roi
Cynthia Scanlan
Lila and Abbott Stillman
Amy and John Tanenbaum
Threadstone Advisors
Jennifer Heller Wold