Misty Copeland – First Black Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theater – to Keynote 25th Annual Luncheon for FCCF’s Fund for Women & Girls
Feb 17, 2023
NORWALK, CT (Feb 7, 2023) – History-making ballet dancer and philanthropist Misty Copeland will serve as the keynote speaker for the silver anniversary of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s (FCCF) annual celebration of the Fund for Women & Girls.
The 25th anniversary event will be Thursday, April 27 at the Greenwich Hyatt. It will kick off with an opening reception and vendor marketplace at 11:00 a.m., followed by the luncheon and program from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. The event will be live streamed with tickets for virtual attendance available.
“This year’s event theme – Change in Motion – not only embodies Misty Copeland and her extraordinary career, but it also exemplifies this evolutionary moment for our organization as we commit to advancing racial equity in the region,” Fairfield County’s Community Foundation President and CEO Mendi Blue Paca said. “Breaking glass ceilings, confronting biases, challenging expectations of what it means to be a woman or a person of color, while opening doors and increasing access to opportunities for all young people – this is what we strive to do as a Community Foundation, and this is what Misty Copeland has done throughout her life.”
Copeland, the first Black woman to be promoted to Principal Dancer in the 75-year history of American Ballet Theatre, has performed some of the most iconic classical ballet roles, including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake; Juliet in Romeo & Juliet; Giselle; Manon; Coppelia; Kitri in Don Quixote; and Firebird.
She earned popular acclaim through her 2019 performance with Taylor Swift at the American Music Awards. At the 2020 Grammy Awards, she performed alongside Camilla Cabella, Common, Ben Platt, and dancers from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, as well as in the televised tribute to Prince with award-winning recording artist H.E.R.
The 2021 recipient of the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s highest honor, Copeland is currently working on Flower, a silent arts activism film using dance to help raise awareness about homelessness.
Copeland serves as an ambassador of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, of which she is also an alum, as well as MindLeaps, an arts education program based in Rwanda that helps young people get off the streets and into academic settings to help enhance their lives.
“As the new Director of The Fund for Women & Girls, I can’t think of a more inspiring speaker than Misty Copeland for the Luncheon,” said Mary Grace Pagaduan, who started in the role in January. “Misty’s grace and resiliency in the face of racial and gender bias is a testament to her courage and commitment to make her dreams come true. Fairfield County young women and girls facing similar circumstances can look to Misty as an inspiration as they pursue their own dreams.”
Copeland is the New York Times bestselling author of Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, as well as Ballerina Body, Black Ballerinas and a children’s picture book titled, Bunheads. Her most recent book, The Wind at My Back: Resilience, Grace, and Other Gifts from My Mentor, Raven Wilkinson (Nov, 2022) reflects on the importance of mentorship, shared history, and respecting the past to ensure a stronger future.
Celebrating 25 years of strengthening families and communities, the Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls is the largest women’s fund in New England and has improved the lives of tens of thousands of women and girls in the region with more than $9 million in grants.
Its popular luncheon annually attracts more than 700 supporters and has featured prominent speakers such as Dr. Anita Hill, Dr. Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Billie Jean King, and Tracee Ellis Ross. Serving as the flagship fundraiser for supporting the Fund’s work, the luncheon will also spotlight its newest signature initiative, the emme coalition — an innovative program that works at the intersection of physical wellness, behavioral health and case management to connect women and girls with lifelong tools for wellbeing that can be passed along to future generations.
About the 2023 Fund for Women & Girls Annual Luncheon
Tickets and tables for the in-person luncheon and program, or virtual live-stream, can be purchased here. Available sponsorships can also be purchased online or set up by contacting Rebecca Mandell.
About Fairfield County’s Community Foundation
Fairfield County’s Community Foundation is partnering with our community to create a county where every person has an equitable opportunity to thrive. We work closely with community organizations, nonprofits, businesses, and philanthropists to address challenges and identify opportunities to create a stronger, more vibrant community. Informed by three decades of partnering with and serving our community, we have awarded more than $390 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond.