“I hate to see anyone suffering,” Michelle Harper told The Observer yesterday evening at the Wall Street Journal’s inaugural Donor of the Day gala. Collectively, the assembled crowd shared Ms. Harper’s sentiment, though each chose to express their benevolence in idiosyncratic and often personalized ways.
Ms. Harper, the sides of her petite head freshly buzzed for the occasion, explained that she promotes arts education, partly as function of her own upbringing. “I was always blessed to grow up around art,” she said, her bright lips pursed in thought (or pose, perhaps).
Jeff Koons, the evening’s host, explained his personal history with the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “In 1994 my son was abducted, a parental abduction, and through that experience I ended up always just kind of trusting that everything would work out. That the judiciary would return my son home. It never happened,” he shared. Mr. Koons was, of course, referring to the knock-down, drag-out court battle between his former wife, adult film star La Cicciolina, who fled to Italy with their son.
“I just realized that I couldn’t help my son but I wanted to try to help other children, and so I got involved,” said Mr. Koons, speaking softly as his heavily pregnant wife, Justine, looked on. Mr. Koons admitted that personal tragedies often color our charitable inclinations. “Some of that comes from what happens to you in your life and your own personal events,” he said. “But across the board people care about their families and they care about children… I think almost everybody in some manner probably tries to help the rights of children.” Read More