Center for Women gala to honor Queens leaders

Former Gov. Mario Cuomo and his wife, Matilda Raffe Cuomo, preside over the renaming of Heartshare's First Step Early Childhood Center in their honor.
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When asked how someone could benefit from attending next weekend’s 25th anniversary gala luncheon hosted by the Center for Women of New York, Ann Jawin said there was plenty to offer.

“There’s a lot you can take away from an event like this,” said Jawin, chairwoman of the center’s board of directors. “You can hear about what we do and have an opportunity to hear from a lot of influential people in the public eye.”

The Center for Women of New York’s gala luncheon is scheduled for April 28 at noon inside Douglaston Manor, at 63-20 Marathon Pkwy., with a star-studded lineup of influential men and women from the Queens community.

Honorees include former first lady of New York Matilda Raffa Cuomo; state Assembly members Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood), Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside); and City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village).

Awards range from Woman of Distinction, Community Service, Women in Leadership and Good Guy awards for men.

“We also appreciate the fact that many men help us and we need to work in partnership with them,” Jawin said. “This is our opportunity to give them recognition because these men have been very supportive of our message.”

The group’s message, Jawin said, centered around women’s rights with an emphasis on women’s economic opportunities.

Since the center’s founding in October 1987, the group has worked with the Queens community to act as a one-stop, walk-in resource for women, with services ranging from legal clinics and job clubs to support groups.

The voluntary nonprofit does not receive government funding and relies mostly on contributions. And after 25 years, it is still going strong.

“I think that’s something to celebrate,” Jawin said.

Jawin said influential figures like Cuomo, who will receive the Woman of Distinction Award, would help anyone interested in learning more about women’s issues contribute to a lively discussion.

“I think it’s very inspiring to hear from our honorees,” Jawin said. “We’ll all get to network and learn who is doing what for our community. It’s going to be a good time.”

A Community Service Award will be given to Nolan and several others will receive Women in Leadership Awards, which honor women of diverse backgrounds who are committed to women’s rights and have made contributions to the community, the center said.

Women in Leadership honorees include Nolan, Crowley, Meng, state Democratic Committeewoman Catherine Glover, licensed master social worker Sasha Greene, Nassau Commissioner for the Aging Evelyn Roth and Jamaica High School physical education coach Sue Sutera.

Braunstein will receive a Good Guy Award alongside Alan Kaufman, treasurer and CEO of Melrose Credit Union, and Fred Papert, president of the 42nd Street Development Corp.

Tickets to the luncheon are $125 each and may be purchased through the center’s website at

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 10:28 am, April 19, 2012
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