October 31, 2014
Before starting a non-profit officially, we decided to test the waters (so to speak). We created a name for the organization, Friends of + POOL (shamelessly inspired by Friends of the High Line) we asked our friends at Storefront For Art & Architecture to fiscally sponsor us so we could take tax-deductible donations, we started building a board (hey Josh, Marc and Karen!), and the big one: we threw our first gala.
Like everything else with this project, we certainly didn’t know how to throw a gala, but we somehow pulled it off. On October 29, 2014, we gathered a hundred or so close supporters at the beautiful Jane’s Carousel (thanks, Jane). It was the perfect place. A view of the skyline, right on the water, hugged by both the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, and nestled in the center of the very park where we not only first rendered + POOL, but successfully tested our filtration in 2011.
Hosted by Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer Conor Dwyer and Co-Founders of Opening Ceremony (fitting!), Humberto Leon & Carol Lim, music by Ariel Grey Watson, oysters by Village fishmonger, beer by Ommegang, photos by BFA, carousel rides. It was insane. Conor gave an incredible speech, Kanye West showed up (check out the insane stage Dong and Oana designed for his Yeezus tour) and took a bunch of photos of Conor’s medal (and us with him), and were able to raise nearly $80K in one night—which we set aside to hire our first full-time staff.
We owe a massive thanks to our friends who believed in us early on: Iwan Baan, Alysia Reiner & David Alan Basche, Matthew Blesso, Capalino + Company, Jonathan Chu, Joshua David, Jack Dunietz & Kimberly Schamber, Bil Ehrlich & Ruth Lloyds, James Faraci, Gary Handel, Stephen Hirsh, HUGE, HUSH, David Larkin, Eric Lee & Cindy Chu, Rameet Chawla, Meryl & Joey Levin, Sara Groeber & Emily Coates, Anis Khalil, Cheryl Heller, Oasis Children’s Services, Joanne Wilson, Jeremy Davis, John Magovern, Joseph Mizzi, Jon & Alessandra Neidich, Openbox, Mike Perry & Anna Wolf, Alexis Soterakis, Esq., Dr. & Mrs. Dennis L. Spangler, Matt Spangler, Preeti Siratana, Ivy Tsang, Mo Koyfman, Karen Wong, Andrew Zuckerman & Nicole Bergen, Gabriel Einsohn, Ted Elmore, Eric Lee, Jason Adam Baker, Nomi Lu Baker, Jeremy Kaplan, Hunter Tura, William Butler, Anna Harrah, Christey Robinson, Marquise Stillwell and Brooke Schafran.