The following was written and provided by Newport Polo.
In early March of this year, Newport Polo’s annual charity gala incurred an untimely setback when the original beneficiary pulled out due to pandemic related challenges. The idea for a new beneficiary came within days from WHATSUPNEWP’s March 8 column “This Day in RI History: March 9 – Jeffrey Osborne is Born“. Gala organizers’ research found that Osborne’s annual celebrity golf classic had been cancelled for a second consecutive year, due to the pandemic, leaving the beneficiaries of his Foundation without the significant annual private funding that had buoyed these vital RI organizations since 2012.
Osborne returned the phone call, same day, embracing the opportunity to support his Foundation and its RI beneficiaries through the gala fundraising, and personally assembled a committee of professionals to work with Newport Polo, oversaw each detail in zoom meetings, traveled to RI and personally attended each event on the August weekend to meet & greet supporters, and performed a cameo serenade at the gala.
“As you might imagine, Jeffrey’s schedule was fairly well booked, but to our surprise he rearranged it to make sure that he could travel from L.A. to attend in person,” explained Dan Keating, Newport Polo Founder & President. “A magnificent impromptu performance of 3 greatest hits, in his legendary baritone voice, stole the show, eclipsed only by his gracious personality in thanking guests and posing for photos”.
Over 400 generous and fun-loving attendees heralded the Bon Voyage Ball’s success, exceeding $80,000 – more than doubling past results – in fundraising for the Jeffrey Osborne Foundation’s mission to support initiatives and organizations in Rhode Island that keep music and the arts in our public school systems and provide food, shelter, and a safe haven for families and children in need.
Anticipation was at an all-time high, following a COVID-induced postponement of the original 2020 event date, as the sold-out guest list held on to their tickets for an extra year to join the celebration. Festivities commenced at the evening’s first port of call on the Newport waterfront for a meet & greet reception at Brenton Hotel, where Honorary Gala Ambassador, Jeffrey Osborne, glad-handed party-goers and highlighted the impact his organization has in Rhode Island to an enthusiastic guest list.
Then, the ship cast off for its next destination, the famed Rosecliff mansion where a red-carpet entrance felt like a walk-of-fame, as Grammy nominee, Jeffrey Osborne, once again greeted arrivals and posed for pictures in the iconic marble foyer.
Guests of honor, the Dominican Republic Polo Team held court below the terrace, alongside Newport Polo Ambassadors, Meg and Jeremy Stowe. All the while, photographer Cocoa & Co captured the magical moments in progress.
Tropical chic, vintage glam, and nautical couture were on full display, as the creative black-tie theme opened a plethora of options for statement attire as the promenade moved to the terrace where jewels of land and sea awaited in the curated silent auction. Dominican-themed libations were poured by renowned mixologist, The Cocktail Guru, as yet more photo ops from the Sundeck overlooking the Rhode Island Sound were put to full use.
Sounds of perennial favorite musical ensemble, Decades by DeZyne, called the party to order in the grand ballroom to get to the heart of the evening. As the inspired 3-course Dominican dinner menu was laid out by expert Blackstone Caterers, Newport International Polo Series Founder, Dan Keating, inaugurated the main event with his welcome remarks and introductions:
- Dominican Republic Polo Team: Mauricio Bogaert, Rafael Castillo, Alexander Schad, Agustín Arestizabal
- Jeffrey Osborne Foundation: Sherri & Jeffrey Osborne and Foundation board members
- Sponsors: Matty Lopes/Pannone Lopes Deveraux & O’Gara LLC, Brenton Hotel, The Cocktail Guru
- Patrons: Lynn & Bill St. George, Laurel & Robert Howe, Mary & Peter Jenkins, Lisa & Andrew Maillet, Beth & Thomas Maxfield, Stephanie & Blaine McBurney, Sue & Peter Metzger, Stacie Mills & The Royal Order of Fun, Caroline Brown, Kim & David Resare, Thomas Roose, Judy & Michael Wyzga
- Auction Committee: Charlayne Osborne (Chair), Jeffrey Osborne, Terrell Osborne, Arnold Hackett, John Harwood, Brian McKinnon, Greg A. Mercurio Jr., Stacie Mills, Mary Roda, David Schultz, Meg Stowe, Meghan Ziobro, Agnes Keating, and Ocean State Charity Events
A cameo performance by Jeffrey Osborne brought the house to its feet with his hit singles On the Wings of Love, Back In Love Again, and You Should Be Mine. A tough act to follow, Sotheby’s master auctioneer, Hugh Hildesley capably presided over the whirl-wind Live Auction of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, including a private dinner and concert with Jeffrey Osborne.
Competitive bidding ended the live auction while guests circled, with dessert, for a final chance at the Silent Auction bounty before the band struck up to fill the dancefloor ’til the stroke of midnight. Docked once again, the evening’s finale landed at Bannister’s Wharf for a last dance at the famous Clarke Cooke House Skybar.
View the event Album.
About the Jeffrey Osborne Foundation: Since 2012, the Jeffrey Osborne Foundation and the Jeffrey Osborne Celebrity Classic have raised over $1.5 million dollars to support initiatives and non-profit organizations that keep music and the arts in RI public school systems, through the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School and its Community Partners including the Met School, as well as provide food, shelter and a safe-haven for families and children in need through the work of the Amos House, Rhode Island’s largest soup kitchen, and strive to build productive relationships, through St. Mary’s Home for Children & Family Services, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence and Button Hole.
About the Newport International Polo Charity Ball: The Newport International Polo Charity Ball found its start at the turn of the millennium to extend the goodwill of the Westchester Polo Club (Newport Polo’s playing member body) and the Newport International Polo Series to provide lasting community benefit. One of the most anticipated events in the Newport season, the annual sell-out charity gala brings together the polo community for a lively celebration to support worthy charitable organizations. Festivities carry on throughout the weekend as Team USA faces the international team of honor featured at the gala, concluding with the annual Lobsterbake by the masters, McGrath Clambakes & Catering. Annual beneficiaries continue to receive elevated awareness and support through additional fundraising opportunities that arise over the course of the year and beyond. Through its 30 year history, Newport Polo has helped raise over $1.5million dollars for civic & charitable nonprofits through initiatives including the Polo gala and other fundraising events, charity polo Matches, and countless ticket donations to the Newport International Polo Series.
The Bon Voyage Ball auction committee gratefully recognizes the generous donors, without whom, the evening could not have reached such success.
76ers, Alessandra Dolnier, Aquidneck Club, Arnold Hackett, Boch Center Performing Arts, Bose, Boston Bruins, Casa De Campo, Capital Grille, Cheryl Petteruti, Roaring Fashion, David Pump, Davios Restaurant, Doc Rivers, Eddie Cooley, Fairmont El San Juan, Farmaesthetics, FCP Diamonds, Foxwoods, Goslings Rum, Greg Mercurio Jr., Hannoush Jewelers, Hard Rock Cafe – Punta Cana, DR, Herb Chambers Exotics, Heron Luxury Charters, Hotel Viking, Hyatt Faneuil Hall, James Adelstein – Metal Dynamics, Jeffrey Osborne, Katerina Morgan, Kimberly Puccie Atelier & Vault, Kurt Dolnier Fine Art, Jim Gray, LA Clippers, Larry Drew, Leslie Strueli Private Chef, Mancini Beverage Company, Marlene Rose, Metal Alchemist, New York Yankees, Ocean State Charity Events, OptEyewear, Oscar de la Renta, Peter de Savary, Plant City, PPAC, Rafael Lago, Raphael Macek, RI Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School, TD Bank, Tom Brady, Tradewind Aviation, WIMCO Villas.