BY ALLISON RUPPINO
New Jersey’s Celebrity Magnet Tom Murro and “The Real Housewives of New Jersey’s” Kim Granatell attended a very worthwhile charity event for the Worldwide Orphans Foundation at a penthouse apartment in New York City last Thursday night. Emmy-nominated Actress Amy Poehler joined guest of honor Maplewood N.J. resident, Founder and CEO of Worldwide Orphans Foundation Dr. Jane Aronson for a night of entertainment, hors d'oeuvres, and cocktails to support the cause.
According to the WWO’s official Web site, the organization works to “transform the lives of orphaned children by taking them out of anonymity and helping them to become healthy, independent, productive members of their communities and the world.” They accomplish this by addressing the needs of orphaned children through medical, developmental, psychosocial, and educational programs, nurturing these children with love and attention, and encouraging partnerships to extend the organization’s reach.
Before the two socialites headed over to the WWO event, they first hopped on the ferry from New Jersey and stopped at the USS Intrepid to help support the Wounded Warriors Family Support Initiative with 2,000 other people. They made their way to the flight deck of the historical wonder, for the event, which was named An Evening Aboard the Intrepid where they were greeted with tall flutes of champagne.
“What a beautiful night for a party on a battleship,” said Murro. There were mostly young professionals all maxed out in their best couture. Among those present were an uncle of Lindsay Lohan, a former MTV VJ, and the 2009 Miss Rhode Island, Sabrina Dandridge, who wore her sash. The event included a special performance by The Roots, as well as words from the Keynote Speaker Captain Paul “Bud” Bucha. Murro and Granatell did what they do best: mingled, took a few pictures, and conducted interviews before they headed over to the WWO party.
WWO board member and well-known Manhattan real estate developer Matthew Blesso held the 3rd Annual Birthday Celebration for WWO at his penthouse suite. Sweet would be the best way to describe his award-winning apartment and his demeanor. “Both Blesso and Aronson were very gracious hosts,” said Murro. “Matthews penthouse is beautiful and has amazing rooftop views.” The evening included musical and artistic performances by The Energy, the Ethiopian jazz band Arki, Chloe Temtchin, Irwin Thomas, DJ Vito Fun, acrobatic and aerialist team RI KI KAI and more. Brooklyn-based artist Andrew Ohanesian re-enacted his critically-acclaimed bar installation, Mandies, for the benefit.
“Parks and Recreation” star, Poehler, served up some laughs when she spoke alongside Aronson. Founder Aronson spoke passionately to the crowd about the work the organization does. Aronson is quite influential in her efforts, being a pediatrician; this founder was recognized as one of Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year 2009 for her work in drawing attention to the predicament of the world’s orphans.
Overall, it was a night of charitable success for the two organizations. Murro and Granatell made notable donations with not only with their money but their time. They did a good job showing the Big Apple that the Garden State isn’t just a state full of table-flippers!