Obama Joins Star-Studded Crowd at Ripple of Hope Dinner


The Ripple of Hope Awards dinner celebrated its 50th Anniversary on Wednesday, December 12, 2018, at the Hilton hotel in grand style. The honorees were nothing short of spectacular with President Barack Obama, CEO of Discovery David Zaslav, Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy, and CEO of Humana Bruce Broussard gracing the ballroom along with thousands of attendees. It is rare for Obama to join a New York City gala and the crowd went wild. Obama's complaint to photographers and attendees that the flash was blinding him went unheeded-he eventually went backstage to avoid the crowds.

Peter Frampton

The star power in the room was equally astounding as guests such as Robert De Niro, Jon Bon Jovi, Julianna Margulies, Keegan Michael Key, John McEnroe, Paul Sorvino, Scott Wolf, Chris Tucker, Sam Waterston, Kate Mulgrew, Chad Lowe, Peter Frampton, Catherine Keener, and dozens of other luminaries joined for a historic night.

Robert De Niro

The cocktail hour began at 5:30 PM with press and guests arriving to take pictures on the red carpet and socialize with the illustrious crowd. The $2,500 ticket cost was pricey but not unreasonable considering the guest list.

Dee Dee Benkie and Paul Sorvino

Emcee Alec Baldwin who hosts every year had the crowd in stitches as he rattled off the names of all the Kennedys saying he could have just named a Dublin phone book nobody would have known the difference. Baldwin said Ethel Kennedy couldn't attend because she had bronchitis and wished her a speedy recovery. There were a couple of other glaring absentees including Hilaria Baldwin, Michelle Obama and Grace Hightower (oh yeah she and De Niro are getting divorced.)

Jean Shafiroff and Kerry Kennedy

A woman who was very present was Kerry Kennedy, who heads the organization, and remarked that with the help of David Zaslav she was taking her father Bobby's message of "peace, justice, and compassion" to the classrooms with more than 3 million teachers and 30 million students learning her curriculum. Kerry looked stunning with her new blonde tresses and sexy diamond necklace.

Kory and Phil Griffin with Lesley Stahl

Supporting her in her efforts to free Rikers Island inmates was Robert Smith, the wealthiest African American, who said that 75 percent of people in jail haven't been convicted of a crime they are just too poor to make bail, and he was working on bail reform especially for laws that negatively impact women and youth.

Keith Lieberthal and Julianna Margulies

The money-raising portion was exhilarating as Alec Baldwin whipped out his Donald Trump impression imploring the crowd in his Trump's voice just to text their pledges and remarking that he and Melania were donating $10 to this great cause-Alec will never be rid of this character.