NYC & Company Foundation Hosts 20th Annual Gala, Supporting Arts & Culture

December 6, 2022

The NYC & Company Foundation honored leaders of the City’s aviation, business, hospitality, and cultural industries at the 20th annual Visionaries & Voices Gala.

The Gala will take place at The Plaza Hotel last night after a two-year hiatus. The gala celebrates distinguished leaders who have made significant contributions to New York City’s tourism industry and its recovery.

This year’s honorees are The New LaGuardia Airport (accepted by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Rick Cotton, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, and Vantage Airport Group Chair and CEO George Casey); Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce (accepted by President and CEO Lloyd Williams) and Shelly Fireman and the Fireman Hospitality Group. 

Ellen Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. The NYC & Company Foundation is NYC & Company’s 501(c)(3) charitable organization that helps sustain New York City’s nonprofit arts community through cultural tourism development, audience education and outreach projects across all five boroughs.

“Our 20th annual Visionaries & Voices Gala honors distinguished leaders who have contributed to New York City’s dynamic tourism economy and its recovery as a travel destination,” said Fred Dixon, President, and CEO of NYC & Company. “We are so pleased to bring back this critical fundraising event after a two-year hiatus. The work of the Foundation was a lifeline for many local arts and culture organizations throughout the pandemic and will continue to be an important source of support that ensures New York City’s cultural tourism diversity and vibrancy across all five boroughs.”

New York City is without question the arts and culture capital of the world, and the Visionaries & Voices Gala supports the NYC & Company Foundation’s mission to provide vital funding to this important sector of the tourism industry,” said Charles Flateman, Board Chair of NYC & Company and Executive Vice President of The Shubert Organization. “The Borough Culture Grant Program ensures that diverse and innovative experiences across the City remain available and accessible for travelers and New Yorkers.” 

The New LaGuardia Airport has been front and center in New York City’s tourism recovery with a historic transformation made possible by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Delta Air Lines, and Vantage Airport Group.

A comprehensive plan to construct an entirely new LaGuardia Airport—a gateway to New York for travelers from across the US, Canada, and Mexico—was unveiled in 2015 with the goal of creating a world-class 21st-century passenger experience featuring modern customer amenities, state-of-the-art architecture, more spacious gate areas, and a unified terminal system.

The $8 billion project broke ground in 2016 and was completed earlier this year. The airport’s Terminal B was the 2021 recipient of the UNESCO Prix Versailles, the global architecture and design award, for the best new airport in the world.

The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2022, is the oldest continual business organization in upper Manhattan.

The not-for-profit business, civic and community development organization focuses on commercial development, educational services, small business development, arts, culture, and tourism industries—and is committed to providing leadership, resources, and opportunities that help ensure that Harlem continues to serve as the historical and cultural capital of Black America.

The Fireman Hospitality Group, founded by Bronx native Shelley Fireman, debuted in 1974 with Cafe Fiorello, expanding to focus on operating restaurants in high-traffic entertainment destinations and cultural centers, including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Broadway in Times Square.

Today, the Fireman Hospitality Group’s portfolio of iconic restaurants includes Bond 45 New York, Brooklyn Delicatessen, Redeye Grill, Cafe Fiorello, and Brooklyn Diner, a new location of which opened at the new LaGuardia Airport Terminal B in the summer 2022.

Ellen Futter has helmed the American Museum of Natural History, one of the City’s iconic cultural destinations, for more than 30 years; she was also the first woman to head a major New York City–based museum when appointed in 1993. 

Ms. Futter was appointed to the position after making history as the president of Barnard College at age 29, where she was the youngest person to assume the presidency of a major American college.

The Visionaries & Voices Gala has honored distinguished leaders across industries that support New York City’s vibrant tourism sector for more than two decades.

Past honorees include former Citigroup and Time Warner CEO and Chairman Richard Parsons, American Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg, the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, former New York City Deputy Mayor, and Sidewalk Labs co-founder Dan Doctoroff, Carnival Corporation, Union Square Hospitality Group founder Danny Meyer, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, Delta Air Lines, Hilton Hotels and many others.

The NYC & Company Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit incorporated in 1999 to educate domestic and international audiences about New York City’s diverse and vibrant cultural community. 

Since 1999, the Foundation has provided more than $4 million in grants across the five boroughs through its Borough Culture Grant Program, which is administered by offices of the City’s five Borough Presidents. 

Grant recipient initiatives include the addition of new parks on Staten Island (Fresh Kills Park Alliance), creating citywide access to buildings and unique spaces (Open House New York), highlighting the music and dance of Queens’ diverse populations (Magar Association’s Himalayan Summer Street Festival, Queensboro Dance), and nurturing literary culture (Brooklyn Book Festival).

NYC & Company is the official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the City of New York, dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide.

For the official source on all there is to see and do in New York City, go to

Here are the fabulous photos from the event:

Photo credit: 1 -16) Matt Papa

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