Evening of Discovery Gala Honoring Edward Sweeney


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Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Cipriani 42nd St

Event honoring TCFD Board Chair Raises over Two Million Dollars to Support The Center for Discovery’s Transformative Work

New York, N.Y.  (May 8, 2024) – On Tuesday, May 7, 2024, The Center for Discovery® (TCFD, The Center) honored Edward C. Sweeney, TCFD Board Chair, at the 24th annual Evening of Discovery Gala. The Gala was hosted by Mo Rocca, CBS Sunday Morning Correspondent, Humorist, and Creator of the podcast and book, Mobituaries, at Cipriani 42nd street in New York City. The annual event raised over two million dollars to support The Center’s groundbreaking programs and services. An internationally-recognized research and innovation organization, The Center serves nearly 1,200 children and adults annually who have complex disabilities, medical frailties, and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

During the Gala, Oscar-winner Robert De Niro remarked on his initial tour of The Center. “It was a surprise to discover that one of the most highly regarded, caring communities was practically in my backyard,” said De Niro, who is set to star as the grandfather of a child with autism in the new film EZRA, opening May 31, and has been an important advocate on behalf of individuals with autism and special needs. “That tour gave me comfort that there could be a place for all people with autism and other developmental disabilities in the world, where they can lead healthy, fulfilled, lives,” remarked De Niro who added, “we’re very fortunate for all that The Center for Discovery has accomplished; for their ongoing service; and for being a model for other projects around the country and the world.”

Edward Sweeney was honored for his dedication to The Center and the immeasurable difference he has made in so many lives. Ed joined The Center for Discovery’s Board in 2011 after being inspired by the extraordinary care of his cousin, Heather, who was a resident at TCFD. During his acceptance speech, Sweeney remarked on what TCFD means to him. “Being involved with The Center has enriched my life in so many ways, and I am thankful for the many friends I have made over the past 13 plus years volunteering for the organization.” He also highlighted the 1,700 devoted professionals that work at The Center. “The word ‘staff’ doesn’t come close to doing justice the myriad of roles these dedicated individuals do day in and day out. They ensure the safety, dignity, welfare, and well-being of the individuals in The Center’s care. They provide encouragement and love – especially love.”

Prior to accepting his award, Dr. Theresa Hamlin, President & CEO of The Center, remarked on Ed’s spirit of advocacy and compassion, and how he has channeled his personal life experience into a powerful force for positive change. “His dedication to our mission is not merely a matter of duty or obligation; it is a reflection of his genuine empathy and profound understanding of the challenges faced by those we serve and their families,” Hamlin said. She continued to highlight Ed’s tenure on the Board, and as Chairman for the past 8 years. “The Center for Discovery has flourished, reaching new heights of excellence and innovation in the field of disability services. His tireless efforts have not only strengthened our organization, but have also fostered a culture of inclusivity for all.” “Ed, has never – for once second – stopped asking how he could help or whom he could call. We are blessed to have him as our Chairman of the Board,” said Dr. Theresa Hamlin, President and CEO of The Center.

Ed Sweeney is currently the SVP external relations at NRS, Inc. Previously, Sweeney spent the first 20 years of his professional life as a trader and member of the New York Stock Exchange. Prior to joining NRS, he held positions at Bear Wagner, Lehman, Barclays, and most recently Morgan Stanley.

The evening’s entertainment was provided by Phillipa Soo, a two-time Grammy Award-winning actress, singer, and author, best known for her roles in HamiltonInto the Woods, and most recently, Camelot. During her performance, Soo remarked on the evening and the “wonderful celebration and recognition of a place that gives tools to people to be able to feel empowered and thrive.”

The Gala, which was attended by nearly 750 guests, kicked off with a cocktail reception, followed by a formal dinner, entertainment, a Text-to-Pledge®, and silent and live auctions conducted by famed auctioneer Pat Tully. Guests of the event hailed from Fortune 500 companies as well as the stage and screen, including Lorraine Bracco, actress; Mikhail Baryshnikov, dancer, choreographer and actor; Steve Buscemi, actor; Susie Essman, comedian and actor; Cynthia Nixon, actress; Kieran Culkin, actor; David Remnick, Editor of The New Yorker; Rebecca Jarvis, ABC News Correspondent; Jackie Alemany, The Washington Post Reporter; Countess Luanne, TV Personality; and more.

Photos available for download HERE.

Proceeds from this fundraising event were directed towards TCFD’s most transformative programs including organic farming and nutrition, the Animal Assisted Intervention and Education program, the Integrated Arts program including recreation and music therapy, assistive technology, and capital improvements across TCFD’s campuses.