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  • Writer's pictureGift for Life

Highlights: New Members, Home vs. Hunger Success, Upcoming Events


Join us in welcoming new Gift for Life Board members: Taylor Brunson of Softies, Lindsay Duncan of Patrick and Company, Carolyn Geremia of Beekman 1802, Colleen Hall of C&F Enterprises, Carlos Llanso of Legacy Publishing and Michelle Sherrier of MC Design Collaboration.

 “We are delighted to welcome these new board members to the Gift for Life team,” said chair Sarah Mount. “Each of them brings unique backgrounds, skills and contacts to Gift for Life and I am excited to partner with them to accomplish bigger and better things this year.”

The Gift for Life Board is comprised of twenty-five recognized leaders in the gift, home, and stationery industries. Current members include:

Jessica Barile of Design Works Collective; Kelly Bristol of Just Got 2 Have It; Taylor Brunson of Softies; Sheila Charton of Zafferano America; Randa Crisler of The Portico Collection, Inc.; Cole Daugherty of Dallas Market Center; Kate Duff of Claxton Consulting; Lindsay Duncan of Patrick & Company; Carolyn Geremia of Beekman 1802; Colleen Hall of C&F Enterprises; Emalee Hoffman of CMA Gifts; Angela Jacobson of AMJ Consulting; Russ Jones of Ivystone; Carlos E. Llanso of Legacy Publishing; Amy Loewenberg of NY NOW at Emerald X; Ari Lowenstein of Emergent Workshop/Ari's Pantry; Julie McCallum of Gift Shop Plus; Kim Mancuso-Telford of NY NOW; Landon Metts of MarketTime; Sarah Mount of ANDMORE; Peter Schauben of Schauben & Co.; Angela Schmook of Road Runners; Michelle Sherrier of MC Design Collaboration and host of The Retail Whore Podcast; Cathy Steel of Steel Associates; and Lenise Willis of Gifts & Decorative Accessories.



Big thanks to Eichholtz for hosting “Party with a Purpose,” GFL's Home vs. Hunger fundraising event at High Point Market on Sunday, April 14.

“Thank you to everyone who came out for this event,” said Russ Jones. “As always, we had a great time while fundraising for a great cause.” Current fundraising totals are already over $16,000, with major donors including ANDMORE, Eichholtz, Ivystone, J. Douglas and John-Richard among others. For those who were unable to attend, donations will be accepted through April 30, 2024, at





GFL and NY NOW are once again fielding a team for AIDS Walk NY, Sunday May 19, in New York's Central Park. Along with team co-captains, Kelly Bristol and Caroline Kennedy, current team members include four members of NY NOW: Kristen Brady, Sandra Kehoe, Amy Loewenberg and Matt Mathiason; plus Terese Affolter of Peepers; Kate Duff of Claxton Consulting; Carolyn Geremia of Beekman 1802; former team co-captain Su Hilty; Matt Katzenson of Fine Lines; Ari Lowenstein of Ari's Pantry; Angela Schmook of Road Runners LLC and her family; Karalynn Sprouse of EmeraldX; and friends Sally Fisher, Bill McCue and Carl Walsh. The 17-person team is well on its way to the $40,000 fundraising goal with over $30,000 already raised, including a $5,000 donation match from NY NOW.

Now in its 39th year, AIDS Walk New York has inspired nearly 890,000 people to walk and millions more to donate, raising nearly $155 million to combat HIV and AIDS. The funds raised at the event remain a vital lifeline that GMHC provides for thousands of individuals affected by the disease, as well as dozens of other HIV/AIDS service organizations through its Community Partnership Program (CPP). For more information, visit About & Who Benefits - AIDS Walk New York 2024.

To join the Gift for Life/NY NOW Team, or to donate, visit, or contact team co-captains, Caroline Kennedy, or Kelly Bristol.


In advance of AIDS Walk NY, the GFL Board welcomed GMHC's Krishna Stone, Director of Community Relations and Thom Medrano, Development Coordinator, to talk about the organization, who they reach, and how fundraising efforts like those made by Team Gift for Life / NY NOW impact the communities they serve.

GMHC was founded in 1981 to raise money for AIDS research, and today serves New Yorkers through its five boroughs.

Krishna explained that communities served are disproportionately affected by both the HIV and COVID-19 pandemics and over 70% live below the Federal Poverty Line. GMHC's health benefit services (meals and nutrition, housing and financial management, prevention, and community health, testing and more) are designed to serve the needs of all individuals regardless of HIV status.

Cumulatively, Team Gift for Life / NY NOW has raised $368,613 since it first joined AWNY in 2012. Last year, the 19 members of Team Gift for Life / NY NOW raised an all-time high of $50,347. Thom noted that some teams have up to 100 participants to raise this kind of money.

The team has been in 5th place in overall fundraising for the past two years and remains a Gold Team for 2024. Gold Teams are the top 20 fundraising teams from the previous year's AIDS Walk. Thom noted that Team Gift for Life is one of his favorites, and said he feels he now knows most of the members of the team, and that he appreciates hearing from its members with questions during the fundraising timeline.

To donate to this year's walk, visit:



The 73rd Annual Retailer Excellence Awards (REAs) will be held June 19, 2024, at the Dallas Union Station Grand Hall in Dallas, TX. Since 1951, Gifts & Decorative Accessories has been celebrating the best of the best in seven retail categories, and now also honors the top manufacturers and regional sales representatives in the country, too.

As part of this very special evening, GFL presents its Industry Achievement Award. This year's honoree is Dorothy Belshaw, EVP and Chief Growth Officer for ANDMORE. She has set a fundraising goal of $30,000, with donations in her honor accepted here.



GFL would like to recognize the following for their generosity from January - April of 2024.


2024 Diamond Donors ($10K+)

The Link Companies - $20,000


2024 Platinum Donors ($5K+)

ANDMORE / Atlanta Market & Las Vegas Market - $5,000

Heidi Park / Park Avenue Agents - $5,000

John-Richard - $5,000


2024 Bronze Donors ($500+)

GHTA - $660

Gracie Evans - $500

Ivystone - $500



On April 1, 2024, World Central Kitchen confirmed that seven WCK humanitarian aid workers were killed in an IDF strike in Gaza. The team was leaving a warehouse where they had unloaded more than one hundred tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route.


Gift for Life issued a statement in response to the tragic news and has updated the homepage of its website with a banner honoring the WCK team members who were killed in Gaza. The banner includes a link to WCK's webpage with a list of the seven individuals' names, photographs, countries of origin and WCK roles.


In an article published on the WCK site, Erin Gore, Chief Executive Officer of WCK states, “An independent investigation is the only way to determine the truth of what happened, ensure transparency and accountability for those responsible, and prevent future attacks on humanitarian aid workers.” Until further notice, all relief efforts have been suspended in the region.


World Central Kitchen will hold an interfaith Celebration of Life to honor its heroes killed in Gaza. The memorial service will be held at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC on Thursday, April 25, at 11am ET. We invite you to join via livestream on the WCK website.

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