A Philanthropic Spree

Woman’s Club of Rye, Children’s Philanthropy has been improving the lives of children for decades.

Published May 3, 2014 12:19 AM
3 min read


philan-thumbWoman’s Club of Rye, Children’s Philanthropy has been improving the lives of children for decades.


By Janice Llanes Fabry

philanthropWoman’s Club of Rye, Children’s Philanthropy has been improving the lives of children for decades. Its primary and single largest fundraising event, Designing Women of Rye and Beyond is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year with a boutique that’s bigger and better than ever. The date is May 7 from 10-8, the place is Apawamis Club.

“There’s going to be something for everyone at all different price points. We have a great diversity of vendors, which includes costume, vintage and high-end jewelers, ladies’ tunics, cashmere, dresses, handbags, shoes, chocolate, home accessories, balsamic vinegar and oils,” said Co-Chair Christa Liddy, who is chairing the event with Faiza Imam and Fiona Dogan.

The Philanthropy supports underprivileged families in Rye and raises college scholarship funds. It also generates funds for children’s programs at the Rye Free Reading Room, Rye Youth Council, Rye Arts Center, Rye Nature Center, Kids’ S.P.A.C.E., Rye Recreation, and Helping Hands for the Homeless. Each is receiving 20 percent of the Designing Women proceeds.

The new co-chairs are following in the footsteps of Helene Byrnes and Suzanne D’Ariano, who chaired the event for the previous seven years and brought it to Apawamis. As Dogan noted, “They’ve been the life and soul of Designing Women. It was always a very personal and family-oriented event for them.”

Originally, the philanthropic shopping event was the dream child of Judith Passannante, whose goal was to showcase the crafts of local women artisans. Always under the auspices of the Woman’s Club, the boutique had its inception at the Rye Free Reading Room, then Rye Recreation and the Rye Arts Center.

The Woman’s Club of Rye was founded in 1933 and established a Junior Club for fundraising seven years later for women ages 18-34 with a maximum of 25 members. The age restrictions and cap have long been eliminated and in 2004, the Junior Club was rechristened the Children’s Philanthropy.

President of the Children’s Philanthropy Young Kim noted, “We raise $35,000 a year through our various fundraising efforts and currently have 66 members. Our goal now is to attract younger members as the demographics in Rye have shifted.”

As Liddy, who joined the club a year after moving with her family from Canada six years ago, said “Our mission is to help families and children, but it’s also a good way to meet a lot of people. We have a great group of women to work with.”

In addition to Designing Women, the Children’s Philanthropy is also responsible for portrait photography, the rug sale, and window painting at Halloween, all annual fundraising events.

Right now, however, their focus is on the boutique, which typically attracts 3-400 shoppers throughout the day. Scouting about ten similar events throughout Westchester, Connecticut, and New York City, Dogan, Imam, and Liddy went on somewhat of a shopping spree themselves. It was hard work, but someone had to do it, and the ladies are looking forward to introducing new and exciting vendors to Rye.

Of course, more than a few of Rye’s own retailers will be on hand, including: Rye Eye Care, Hanni Fine Jewelry, Everyware Beach towels and wraps, Beautyproducts by Wendy Nagle, and Linda Lovett organic kids’ lounge wear.

The co-chairs are encouraging women to treat themselves and others a few days before Mother’s Day. Shoppers may also enjoy lunch at Apawamis from 12-2 for $25, as well as a Girls’ Night Out from 6-8 for patrons, who may want to mingle, enjoy hors d’oeuvres, and shop with a glass of wine. There will also be plenty of raffle items from each vendor. 

“Designing Women is a great night that brings out so many volunteers, vendors, and lots of different energies. It’s truly a group effort,” remarked Imam. “It means a lot to us that as an organization, we can help the children in Rye in any way that we can.”




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