With the Centennial Convention celebrating City of Hope's volunteer fund-raisers, we take this opportunity to highlight a few...
By Roberta Nichols
Lisa Kaye Fuld first heard about City of Hope while growing up in the heart of “Mad Men” country – 1960s New York.
Her parents, Randy and Jeanne Kaye, who both were in the fashion industry, belonged to “The Mr. and Mrs. League,” a chapter that raised money for City of Hope through couples’ events such as dances and supper club concerts.
Though that chapter dissolved, her mother re-engaged with City of Hope in the 1970s through the East End Chapter/ Phyllis Dropkin Foundation, and eventually became its president.
“My mother and her friends were a significant force,” Fuld said. “They raised a lot of money through the Spring Woman of the Year luncheons.” Along with her sister, Kathy, Fuld began her involvement in the chapter when she was conscripted to assemble gift bags for the luncheon. When Fuld was in college her mother would buy a table at the luncheon and invite Fuld and her friends to populate it. “It was sort of mandatory attendance,” she recalled with a smile.
In 1986, Jeanne Kaye was diagnosed with bladder cancer, a struggle she lost in 1988. Following her death, her friends approached Fuld and her sister, seeking their help recharging the chapter by recruiting more young people. In 1992, “we managed to gather 15 women” who became part of the East End Chapter/Jeanne Kaye League. Like her mother, Fuld became the group’s president.
Today, the East End Chapter/Jeanne Kaye League has evolved into an organization of more than 500 New York women representing all facets of the city’s business, philanthropic and cultural communities. Their annual Spirit of Life Spring Luncheon held at the Plaza is regarded as City of Hope’s signature East Coast event. Past honorees have included celebrities such as Katie Couric, Cindy Crawford, Brooke Shields and Meredith Vieira, as well as executives from companies such as Disney and Universal Music.
Fuld and her fellow board members sought to expand and reinvigorate the East End chapter by creating two pipelines for younger members. They invited their own children along with other students in private schools in New York to become “Teens for Hope.”
They subsequently launched “Future of Hope,” made up of former Teens for Hope who had graduated from college and begun their careers (including Fuld’s children Jamie, now 26, and Ryan, 24). The group has been raising money and exposure for City of Hope through its own trademark fundraiser, the Halloween Ball.
“My kids have known about City of Hope since they were little,” Fuld said, recalling their days as trick-or-treaters passing out penny rolls for City of Hope. “I was trying to engage them and get them involved in doing something for good and to help other people,” she said. She wanted to create the same lifelong bond with City of Hope that her mother had instilled in her.
When her children were young, Fuld and her husband took them to California to tour the City of Hope campus. They found the experience so meaningful that Fuld later invited eight chapter board members on a “road trip” to Duarte to personally experience the place they had been promoting for years.
“Even though they understand and they read and they know everybody’s out there working together, City of Hope is very far away,” Fuld said. Meeting City of Hope researchers and seeing their laboratories was transformative. “It was really important because it’s very hard to engage people in something they can’t see, touch or feel.”
She remembers the visit vividly, including their hard-hat tour of the under-construction Helford Clinical Research Hospital. “Everybody came back just totally inspired, totally understanding what they were doing. Now it was something they truly could believe in, talk about and understand.”
As she deepened her involvement with City of Hope as a member of its Ambassador Leadership Council, Fuld has been eager to return to the Duarte campus where she and fellow conventioneers were inspired once again by the City of Hope story.