Thirty-five years ago, ML Galston and Susan (Sooky) Lassen had a concerned conversation about the famine in Ethiopia. They believed that by working together to raise awareness, the Long Island community would want to help children and families less fortunate.
ML and Sooky planned a chicken salad luncheon for which they charged a small donation to be given toward the crisis. They raised $50. Sooky was associated with Save the Children in the UK, so affiliating with Save the Children U.S. was a natural. Thus began Save the Children Long Island Council.
Subsequently, the L.I. Council’s inspirational founders gathered their friends to plan other events to raise awareness and funds. Holiday parties were held at the Storrs’s home with sales of goods made in the countries where Save the Children worked. There was a rowing regatta and a party on a tall ship with Sigourney Weaver!
Nineteen eighty-nine marked the beginning of the polo events orchestrated by Jane Greenleaf. In their heyday, the polo matches between the LaBranche & Co. and Land Rover teams attracted 800 attendees. Features of the event were a children’s tent and a fancy hat contest.
In 2007, the L.I. Council honored Jane Greenleaf with a double benefit: the last polo match and a dinner dance at The Meadow Brook Club. Every spring since then, except for two years at The Paramount in Huntington, we have continued to celebrate at The Meadow Brook Club and raise support for Save the Children. Our revenues have grown from the first $50 to more than $7 million over the past 35 years.
It is amazing what our two foresighted and energetic founders created and spawned! As we celebrate the L.I. Council’s 35th Anniversary, we look forward to pursuing innovative ways to fulfill our mission. A large part of the funds we raise are allocated to programs that provide the opportunity for preschool and elementary children to learn.