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Actors River Mason Eromosele and Rylee Gabrielle escort EGOT Winner and Hollywood Legend Rita Moreno at the Bronx Children's Museum Gala

The Bronx, NY (May 8, 2019) — The Bronx Children’s Museum( hosted its third annual benefit gala on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in New York City at Manhattan’s Gotham Hall. The night was dedicated to the children of the Bronx – past, present, and future, exemplified by the Bronx-grown luminaries in attendance including honorees Rita Moreno, Shawn “Pecas” Costner, Gala Co-Chair Kerry Washington, The View’s Sunny Hostin, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, actress Sonia Manzano formerly Maria of Sesame Street, and Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria.

The benefit was a resounding success, grossing nearly $500,000 for the organization’s outreach programming reaching over 18,000 children annually, and its new state-of-the-art facility - the borough’s first-ever children’s museum - opening in 2020.


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2019 Bronx Children's Museum Honorees | Landscape architect Jonathan Marvel, Shawn "Pecas" Costner and Rita Moreno. Image by Johnny Nunez

The ceremony, hosted by Bronx native, museum board member, and host of The View, Sunny Hostin, celebrated the contributions of Bronx innovators from across generations and sectors who support the institution, and are committed to inspiring children and their families. Ground-breaking Hollywood icon and EGOT recipient, Rita Moreno, delighted guests with a personal story of her arrival in the Bronx as a young child from Puerto Rico, and encouraged those in the audience to dream big.


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TV Icon Sonia Manzano takes the stage to award Rita Moreno as 2019 Bronx Children's Museum Honoree | Image by Johnny Nunez

"It is important for all children to have a museum available to them for every reason in the world that you can think of - for creative reasons or reasons of curiosity, " said Moreno.


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Kerry Washington | Image by Angie Vasquez.

Attendees included Bronx-natives, Gala Co-Chair Member, Kerry Washington, returning for a third year to showcase her support for the museum’s mission, and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“Museums were a huge part of my upbringing but I always had to go outside of my neighborhood to be enriched in this way. I am truly humbled by the possibilities of what will come out of this beautiful museum. By supporting the museum, you are not just supporting a building, you are supporting the inner self-worth of an entire borough of children,” remarked Washington.


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Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz | Image by Johnny Nunez

The Borough President introduced the Bronx-born, Roc Nation Executive and Hip-hop community leader Shawn “Pecas” Costner to the stage, presenting him with one of the three 2019 Bronx Children’s Museum Imagination Awards given out that evening.

“I am so proud of the work being done by Bronx Children’s Museum. We believe in this vision because we know what happens when you give a Bronx girl or a Bronx boy an opportunity. It allows them to dream, to expand their imagination. Shawn Costner is a reminder, talent is abundant – but opportunities are not – yet with our Bronx DNA, they can go out there and conquer the world,” added Diaz.


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Carolyn Schwartz, Development Director Bronx Children's Museum with Honoree, Shawn "Pecas" Costner and Carla Precht, Founding Executive Director at Bronx Children's Museum | Image by Johnny Nunez

Costner is an influencer of global trends and has enhanced the career trajectories of megawatt artists like Jay Z, Rihanna, DJ Khaled and athletes like Yankee pitcher, CC Sabathia.


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Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. and New York City Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson attend 3d Annual Bronx Children's Museum Gala | Image by Johnny Nunez

Also in attendance were New York City Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, philanthropist Amber Sabathia, the Voice of New York, Angie Martinez, former Def Jam executive Steve Bartels and retired New York Giant, Victor Cruz.

Prolific landscape architect Jonathan Marvel, a force behind the Bronx’s Mill Pond Park, and Brooklyn’s Navy Yard was also recognized for his innovation and environmentally conscious design. His award-winning firm has steered the revival of multiple public spaces across the nation and is piloting ambitious solar energy projects in his native island of Puerto Rico in response to the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria.