On Monday, June 5, 2023, the French-American Foundation welcomed 250 members of the FAF community to our 2023 Gala at the Rainbow Room in New York City. The Annual Gala is the FAF’s largest fundraising event, and this year’s marked the most successful in the Foundation’s 47-year history. The 2023 Gala recognized two phenomenal honorees who have made valuable contributions to the French-American relationship: Dina Powell McCormick (Young Leader 2005) and Yves-André Istel. In addition to our esteemed honorees, we also had more than 30 Board members, Young Leader alumni, and Transatlantic Forum members in attendance.
The ceremony opened with warm welcome remarks from Chairman of FAF-US Allan Chapin and Chairman of FAF-France, Alain Papiasse. Tory Burch, Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Tory Burch LLC, introduced the evening’s first honoree, Dina Powell McCormick, Global Head of Sustainability and Inclusive Growth and Global Head of Sovereign Business, Goldman Sachs. Tory spoke about Dina’s outstanding accomplishments as a global leader and presented her with the FAF’s Young Leader Award in recognition of her enduring commitment to the mission and ideals of the French-American Foundation Young Leaders program.
Raymond J. McGuire, President, Lazard, took the stage to introduce the evening’s second honoree: Yves-André Istel, Co-Founder, French-American Foundation; Senior Adviser, Hanseatic LLC; Formerly, Vice Chairman, Rothschild & Co.; Formerly, Deputy Chair, Richemont. Ray shared touching introductory remarks about Yves-André and the impact that he has made on the business world and on his own personal career trajectory. Ray presented Yves-André with the Extraordinary Contributions to French-American Friendship Award. As a special surprise, Yves-André was treated to a live performance of Édith Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien.”
The evening also celebrated the tremendous lives of two long-time Board members and founding members of the Foundation: Michel David-Weill (1932-2022), and Ambassador James G. Lowenstein (1927-2023). Gaëtan Bruel, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy and Director of Villa Albertine, honored Michel David-Weill with remarks that touched on his extraordinary achievements in business and philanthropy. Constance Jewett Ellis, Former Vice President of the French-American Foundation, honored Ambassador Lowenstein’s storied career and lifelong dedication to transatlantic relations.
During the evening’s festivities, the French-American Foundation also announced a change in leadership. We are proud to share that Edward C. Wallace, the Foundation’s current Vice Chairman will be taking over the role of Chairman of the French-American Foundation—United States as of July 1st, 2023. He succeeds Allan M. Chapin, the Foundation’s longest serving Chairman. After fifteen years as Chairman, Allan will become an active Chairman Emeritus of the Foundation. Thank you, Allan and Ed, for your unwavering leadership and dedication.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who helped to make this year’s Gala a smashing success and recognize our Platinum and Silver level corporate sponsors: BNP Paribas, Lazard, Rothschild & Co., L’Oréal, The Starr Foundation, and Greenberg Traurig.