Friday, August 5, 2011

Precocious Charity

Friday, August 5, 2011
Patrick McMullan

Cameron Payne and Spike Lee

The youth division of the Points of Life Institute, generationOn, on Thursday honored Laurie M. Tisch, Spike Lee and his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee, Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner and six young philanthropists ranging in ages between 7 and 17, who were dubbed Community Action Heroes. The evening raised more than $900,000.

Silda Wall Spitzer founded generationOn, which promotes volunteerism in children, 15 years ago.

Owen Hoffman/Patrick Mcmullan

Margi and Kevin Arquit

Mrs. Spitzer, in a figure-snugging white dress, admired her husband's blue, iridescent tie. When Eliot Spitzer was asked if he'd had any philanthropic impulses as a child, he said, "I don't want to pretend that I did. I was a typical kid."

The kids at this event were not typical at all. Max Wallack, 15, from Natick, Mass., is the founder of PuzzlesToRemember, which has collected more than 7,000 puzzles and distributed them to elderly patients with Alzheimer's.

Owen Hoffman/Patrick Mcmullan

Barbara and Brian Goldner

In the past two years, Riley Hebbard, from Mechanicsburg, Pa., has shipped 18,000 toys to Lethoso, Zambia and Zimbabwe. She's 7 years old.

But these children aren't just kind-hearted. They're pint-size power brokers, each with his or her own website, business card and polished pitch.

"I don't even have a card," said Sigourney Weaver.

Perhaps the inimitable Mr. Lee had displayed comparable philanthropic impulses.

"No," he said, "as a kid in Brooklyn, I was just trying to get another piece of candy."

—Lizzie Simon

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