About the Luncheon

Now in its 13th year, United Way of New York City’s WOMEN UNITED’s Power of Women to Make a Difference Award Luncheon honors the achievements of outstanding women leaders, whose professional accomplishments are matched by their commitment to philanthropy and giving back to their community.

See highlights from our 12th Annual Power of Women to Make a Difference Award Luncheon.

Net proceeds from this signature event support United Way of New York City’s ReadNYC program, serving thousands of youth each year across the five boroughs.

About United Way of New York City’s WOMEN UNITED

WOMEN UNITED is a network of community-driven women that help United Way of New York City improve the lives of New Yorkers. These talented women advocate, fundraise, and volunteer to solve issues facing our most-deserving neighbors.

WOMEN UNITED members especially champion education campaigns, such as ReadNYC™, which convenes community partners to empower children and families living in our City’s most-challenged neighborhoods to become self-sufficient. Of note, WOMEN UNITED has raised more than $6 million in support of UWNYC’s youth empowerment initiatives.



  • Collaborate within an exclusive network of philanthropic thought leaders
  • Access critical events focused on education, income, and health issues
  • Volunteer at community-partner sites to serve New Yorkers directly

Join WOMEN UNITED today and build your capacity to be a dynamic community-leader, who makes New York City work for every New Yorker. To learn more, contact Meghan Droge at mdroge@uwnyc.org.


Don’t miss your opportunity to be an agent of change!


A child’s ability to read by third grade directly impacts his or her future. Third grade is the year kids move from learning to read to reading to learn. Unfortunately, children from low-income families often don’t have access to quality education. In fact, research shows us that children from low-income families may hear up to 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers by age three, and more than 60% of low-income families don’t have children’s books at home. Inevitably, this gap and lack of books impacts children’s performance at school: sadly in New York City, six out of 10 students are not reading on grade-level. Moreover, children who don’t read on grade-level by third grade are 74% more likely to drop out of high school—more likely to find themselves struggling to make ends meet as adults and continuing a devastating cycle of poverty.

To break this cycle of poverty, we know we must help families and communities as a whole, from the child who can’t read, to the educators who are under-resourced, to the parents who can’t make ends meet. At United Way of New York City, we take a two-generation approach; helping children and their parents so that the whole family has a chance to succeed. The root of this success is accessing the proper education. When UWNYC began our ReadNYC program in 2013 in Mott Haven, only 9% of 3rd graders in that community were reading on grade level. By 2018, 43% of participating third graders in ReadNYC were reading proficiently. But there is still more to do.

Your investment in United Way of New York City is crucial to our success and we invite you to join us in this work and make an impact today!

Learn More

2019 Host Committee

Laura Clayton-McDonnell, Co-Chair
Robyn Zivic, Co-Chair

Diana Azznara
Sarah Benveniste
Karenne Berry
Francene Cole
Suzanne Cutler
Jennifer Davis
Lori Davis-West
Cassie Ercanbrack
Hedieh Fakhriyazdi
Anne Falvey
Jennifer Friedberg

Tia Glave
Carol Hasentab
Laura James
Sandra Jordan
Lola Judge
Jeanine Khoury
Joanna Klocek
Shilpa Kranti
Kirstan Lamont
Josephine Leone
Cheryl Levesque
Elizabeth Lovisa

Katie Mahon
Helen Mucciolo
Emily Paasche
Lauren D. Ruff
Frances Scandariato
Connie Schan
Shamina Sneed
Karen Tillson
Elizabeth Wahab
Valerie White

2019 Honorary Committee

Ellen Patterson
Margaret Preston
Margaret Smyth
Maroa C. Velez
Jennifer Warren
Kathryn Wylde