Russian Children's Welfare Society

Benefit Gala

Celebrating Sport Heroes of the Past, Present and Future

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
Bonhams Auction House, 580 Madison Avenue

RCWS Benefit Gala

The Russian Children’s Welfare Society (RCWS), in collaboration with the General Consulate of the Russian Federation in New York, hosted its annual Benefit Gala on September 23, 2010, at Bonhams Auction House in New York City. Over 200 guests — including New York society, diplomats and RCWS benefactors — attended the star-studded event, which featured a silent auction of one-of-a-kind sports memorabilia, as well as a photo retrospective entitled, "Russia’s Olympic Glory" (courtesy of RIA Novosti), an exhibit of sport photographs from the 1960’s by acclaimed photographer Yuri Shalamoff, and a Russian and European art exhibits courtesy of Bonhams Auction House. Proceeds from ticket sales and from the auction, will go to purchase sports equipment for orphanages in Russia as well as to support other RCWS charitable programs. Among principal sponsors of the event were Orphans Outreach and Vodka Slavianskaya Inc.

Sasha Cohen,Viktor Petrenko,Evgeny Platov,Johnny Weir,Galit Chait Xenia Davidov, Sasha Cohen, Jevgeni Davidov
Sasha Cohen, Viktor Petrenko, Evgeny Platov,
Johnny Weir, Galit Chait
Xenia Davidov, Sasha Cohen, Jevgeni Davidov

IMG star figure skater Sasha Cohen (2006 Olympic Silver Medal-Winner) was the evening’s Guest of Honor. She passionately spoke about the importance of athletics in her life and the fact that sport teaches discipline and teamwork, which are crucial values in the lives of all children, but especially important for those who do not have parents or relatives to take care of them and to impart these values upon them.

Andrey K. Yushmanov, General Consul of the Russian Federation in New York, thanked the guests for attending the event to celebrate Russia’s winning bid to host 2014 Winter Olympics Games. In his speech, Mr. Yushmanov highlighted the long history of RCWS and important work the charity has done and continues to do for disadvantaged children in Russia.

The principal coordinator of the event, Anna Sergeeva, Director of RCWS’s New York Office, was able to wrangle a celebrity guest list which was a who’s who of athletic and artistic prowess. In attendance were: Viktor Petrenko (Figure Skating, 1992 Olympic Champion), Evgeny Platov (Figure Skating, 1994 and 1998 Olympic Champion), Johnny Weir (Figure Skating, three-time U. S. Champion), Galit Chait (Figure Skating, bronze medal at 2002 World Championship), Igor Lukanin & Kristin Fraser (Figure Skating, 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics), Jevgeni Davidov (Ballroom dancing, Russian National Champion 1995 and German finalist 2007, 2008), NBA star Vladimir Stepania, Tanya Adamovich (Fencing, 1972 Olympics), principal dancers Irina Dvorovenko, Maxim Beloserkovsky and Veronika Part of the American Ballet Theatre, Ashley Bouder of the New York City Ballet, and Sokvannara Sar (whose inspiring life story is the subject of the film «Dancing Across Borders»). Each celebrity guest gave a brief statement about the role which sports has played in their lives; and all commended RCWS on the work the charity has done to improve the lives of Russia’s underprivileged children.

Mikhail Petrenko Ekaterina Semenchuk Ashley Bouder
Mikhail Petrenko Ekaterina Semenchuk Ashley Bouder

Vladimir Fekula, RCWS President introduced Ekaterina Semenchuk, mezzo-soprano, and Mikhail Petrenko, bass, both stars of the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of "Boris Godunov". With kind permission of the Metropolitan Opera, Ekaterina performed Rachmaninoff’s "Ne Poy Krasavitsa, Pri Mne" ("Sing Not ‘Fore Me, Oh Beauty"), and the classic, "Ochi Chernye" ("Black Eyes"). Mr. Petrenko performed "Ona, Kak Polden', Khorosha" ("She Is as Lovely as Is Noon"). Pianist Craig Rutenberg accompanied the performers, and his STEINWAY piano was provided for the event by Steinway & Sons.

Silent auction items were actively bid upon. Among the items were: Sasha Cohen’s Olympic sweaters and ice skating boots; signed jerseys of legendary hockey players, Viacheslav Fetisov and Sergey Makarov; a private figure skating lesson with Viktor Petrenko; a signed poster by Johnny Weir; Diana Vishneva’s signed ballet pointed shoes; a tennis ball signed by Maria Sharapova; orchestra tickets to Metropolitan Opera productions of "Boris Godunov" and "Tales of Hoffma"; hotel accommodations for four days in Moscow provided by Russian National Group; and a slew of other valuable items.

Tom Wolfe and Vladimir Fekula Sasha Cohen and Anna Sergeeva
Tom Wolfe and Vladimir P. Fekula,
RCWS President
Sasha Cohen and Anna Sergeeva,
Director of RCWS New York Office

Guests mingled to the smooth sounds of a jazz quartet, and celebrity guests accommodated all autograph and photo requests from patrons of the event. Guests were treated to a delightful array of food and beverages provided by event sponsors, Vodka Slavyanskaya and Tatiana Restaurant.

The photos used in the article are made by Lev Radin
To view more photos of the Benefit Gala please click the buttons below.


The Russian Children Welfare Society expresses its sincerest thanks to those generous and wonderful people who have donated amazing prizes for the auction, put in numerous hours and tremendous effort to make this evening not only possible, but also special:

Tanya Adamovich
Vika Azarenka
Amy Baker, Bonhams
Nina Basharova
Sasha and Galina Cohen
Regina Davidoff, Steinway & Sons
Viacheslav Fetisov
Dr. Alexander Fish
Kristin Fraser
Teymuraz Gabashvili
Xenia Jung-Davidov
Irene Kharlamov and Gennady Kanevsky, Vodka Slavianskaya
Theresa Khawly
Boris Khurgin
Dmitri Klimentov
Michael Kolesnichenko and Yana Morozova, Russian National Group
Natalia Kosianova
Kristina Larina
Kate Litvinova
Igor Lukanin
Maria Shclover and Irina Shabshis, Maestro Artist Management
Sergei Makarov
Eugenia Makhlin
Edward Mermelstein
Julia Mineeva
Inna Nagibina
Natalia Nastaskin
Orphans Outreach and Mr. Blair Pogue
Yuri Pazelsky
Mikhail Petrenko
Viktor Petrenko
Sasha Poline
Natasha Ponomaryova
Sasha Ratmansky
Joannie Rochette
Maria Ross
Craig Rutenberg
Tatiana Sarandinaki
Raisa Scriabine
Dmitri Schidlovsky
Ekaterina Semenchuk
Yuri Shalamoff
Maria Sharapova
Anna Sibiryakova
George Tsikhiseli
Gary Swain
Tatiana and Tatiana Restaurant
Diana Vishneva
Marina Wells
Johnny Weir
Serena Williams
Yana Worthman
Maria Yakovleva
Galina Zoueva
Vera Zvonareva

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Sport projects supported by RCWS

Sport playground has been installed at the Opochka Orphanage in Pskov thanks to RCWS supporters. We need your help to support other RCWS projects!
Krasnogorodsky Specialized Orphanage, Pskov

Benefit Committee:
Yana Balan
Nina Basharova
Dr. Alexander Fish
Vladimir Gurvich
Yelena Harbick
Beatrice Fekula
Cynthia Kirchner
Dmitri Klimentov
Theresa Khawly
Boris Khurgin
Natalia Kosianova
Nadia Lipsky
Eugenia Makhlin
Edward Mermelstein
Julia Mineeva
Natalia Nastaskin
Natasha Ponomaryova
Maria Ross
Anna Sergeeva
Tatiana Sarandinaki
Anna Sibiryakova
Raisa Scriabine
Marina Wells
Maria Yakovleva
Galina Zoueva

Junior Committee
Natalia Baronina
Xenia Jung-Davidov
Kiril Kosianov
Kate Litvinov
Yana Worthman


Bohams Consulate General of Russia in NY
Bonhams Consulate General of Russia in NY
Maestro The Museum of Russian Art (MoRA)
Maestro Artist Management The Museum of Russian Art
Steinway & Sons
Steinway & Sons


Orphan Outreach

The Mission of Orphan Outreach is to improve the lives of orphans and at-risk children primarily in Guatemala, Honduras, India, and Russia through early intervention, education and evangelism, thus meeting the physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs of the children.
Visit their site

Slavianskaya Vodka Tatiana Restaurant Russian National Group
Vodka Slavianskaya Inc Tatiana Restaurant Russian National Group

Media Sponsors

NYMMG Global Advertising Strategies
New York Metro Media Group Global Advertising Strategies
RusInfoService LLC Radio Globus
RusInfoService LLC Radio Globus
Depesha magazine
Depesha Magazine

Photo Credits:
Viktor Petrenko’s — IOC Olympic Museum Collections/Claude Jenny
Sasha Cohen’s — Leah Adams and Sasha Cohen


What your donation
can do

Sports equipment (balls, racquets, etc)

$ 15

Christmas show ticket and a present for one child

$ 25

Sponsor one child’s lunch for a year

$ 50

A bike

$ 100

New bed (most beds are unsafe and old)

$ 150

New table tennis set

$ 250

New washing machine for 150+ children (now clothes are washed by hand)

$ 1500

Operation for a child with a severe facial deformity

$ 2500


Click the image to download the Benefit Gala program (pdf)

Benefit Gala Program

Enter to win the Sochi Mascot Competition*

Go to to submit your design. The winner will be selected on February 7, 2011.

*Entrants must be Russian citizens

Useful Links

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Sasha Cohen Johnny Weir Viktor Petrenko Evgeny Platov Igor Lukanin and Kristen Fraser Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky Galit Chait Mikhail Petrenko Ekaterina Semenchuk Maria Sharapova Vika Azarenka