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Worldwide Orphans Foundation Fifth Annual Gala Raises $950,000


NEW YORK, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO) patrons and guests gathered at its Fifth Annual Benefit Gala last night at Capitale for an intimate evening of tribute to the expansion of WWO's life-altering programs for orphans. WWO is dedicated to transforming the lives of orphaned children around the world.

WWO raised more than $950,000 at the gala, according to Dr. Jane Aronson, founder and CEO, as Hugh Jackman, Guest Host, entertained a crowd of more than 600 attendees.

During the evening, WWO honored Deborra-lee Furness. "WWO is proud to honor Deborra-lee Furness her tireless dedication to orphaned and vulnerable

children in Australia. "We are all advocates of what we believe is a child's birthright - to receive love, individual care and the opportunity to grow, learn, play and become productive adults. WWO is delighted to recognize this amazing individual, said Dr. Aronson." In her acceptance remarks, Deborra-lee Furness proudly announced the formation of WWO Australia, marking a new chapter in the expansion of the foundation.

Dr. Aronson said WWO has grown its life-saving programs and successfully reached out to serve more orphaned children with a broader array of programs designed to serve the whole child. The organization has expanded access to medical treatment, including the provision of antiretroviral medications for orphans impacted by HIV/AIDS, as well as "going deeper" into children's lives by providing orphans with educational opportunities, arts programs, sports and camp. WWO designs programs that follow children through their school years into vocations and college.

The 2009 Gala theme was "...there are promises to keep," and the event was co-chaired by Lori B. Finkel and Andrew Cogan of New York. Ms. Finkel is a member of the WWO Board of Directors.

Special guests attending the Gala included Mary-Louise Parker, Tony-award winning actress and star of TV's Weeds; film and stage actor Daniel Craig, actress Mariska Hargitay, star of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Broadway star Donna Murphy.

Children from the National Dance Institute presented an electrifying dance performance. Tony-award winning director Kathleen Marshall served as Entertainment Chair.

The mission of Worldwide Orphans Foundation is to transform the lives of orphaned children by taking them out of anonymity and helping them become healthy, independent and productive members of their communities and the world. WWO programs are based on fundamentals of best-practices for child development. Founded in 1997 by renowned adoption medicine specialist, Dr. Jane Aronson, WWO has established humanitarian programs for orphaned and vulnerable children in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, China, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kenya, Serbia and Vietnam. WWO was the first to introduce professional peer training and two of its major programs are pediatric HIV/AIDS treatment programs for orphans in Vietnam and Ethiopia. Other programs include physical/occupational therapy, early intervention "granny" programs, education, arts and humanities, sports and camp.

2009 Oct 28