Almost everyone I know is involved in a charity in one form or another. Venture capital, private equity and tech startups are intertwined with some great charities. Some of my friends sit on charitable boards while others work quietly in the background. Most contribute money and some contribute the even more valuable asset – time to important projects and causes. For me, charitable work is less of a conscious decision and more of a marital obligation – I’m married to the consummate Event Coordinator for the Friends of Boston’s Homeless, Jamie.
Last Thursday night, the Friends of Boston’s Homeless hosted a dinner to benefit the all-organic farm run by the homeless. Homelessness is often associated with substance abuse and mental illness, making it one of the less popular charities for fundraising. There is surely a fair bit of substance abuse and mental illness in the ‘guests’ at the shelter. There’s also a large population that work a full or part-time job that can’t afford housing. Working or volunteering for the homeless is a ‘no-judgment zone’ that attracts some of the most dedicated folks including the celebrity chefs for the dinner benefit:
Gordon Hamersley: The Boston Red Sox hat wearing Hamersley’s Bistro Owner who studied under Julia Child and uses the organic produce from the farm in his restaurant
Barbara Lynch: Owner and Executive Chef at Number 9 Park, B&G Oyster House and swears like a sailor
Chris Douglas: Ashmont Grill, Icarus and always smiling (or laughing)
Joanne Chang: The honors Harvard grad in Applied Mathematics and Economics turned pastry chef extraordinaire at her Flour Bakery and Café
I ventured into the kitchen to see all of the chef’s enjoying each other’s company and sharing the work. Note to self: Based on the reaction by Joanne Chang, I probably shouldn’t have reminded Barbara Lynch of her Boston Magazine quote, “Rice is a waste of a carbohydrate!” Lynch didn’t give me the finger but if she had, it wouldn’t have changed the expression on her face when she glared at me…and then laughed. The evening was a great dining experience with a great view of Boston Harbor thanks to Jack Connor’s Camp Harbor View. There wasn’t a bad seat in the house and to quote Jamie’s Dad, “If you didn’t have fun, it was your own damn fault!” Even Jonathan Soroff (Improper Bostonian and brings new meaning to volumizing mousse) managed to soothe his mildly bruised ego when my Three Islands chemise outshined the little number that he was wearing.
After briefly basking in the glory of the successful evening, Jamie prepared for her next activity – a Sunday walk-a-thon to benefit the Jimmy Fund. Pre-walk, Jamie bandaged up her blistered feet (those Channel flats looked great at the dinner benefit but they were rough on her toes standing on her feet all night). Post walk-a-thon, she relaxed around the house for a couple of hours like the slacker that she is before digging back in to prepare for the charity golf event next week. I get tired just thinking about it.