President's Commentary: Support the Next Generation of CPAs at the Moynihan Fund Gala, May 17

F. Michael Zovistoski
Published Date:
Mar 10, 2017

Thirty years ago, NYSSCPA Past President Bert N. Mitchell, founding partner of Mitchell Titus, the largest minority-owned CPA firm in the country, established the NYSSCPA’s Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession (COAP) program after commissioning a study that documented the extent to which people of color were underrepresented within the profession. The program’s mission: to increase racial diversity within the accounting profession in New York by introducing young people of color to accounting early, while still in high school, with the intention that the five-day, overnight college readiness course at some of the state’s top colleges and universities would serve as the first step to an accounting career for the next—and more diverse—generation of CPAs.

This May, we will honor Bert and his contribution to the profession in New York state with the NYSSCPA Lifetime Achievement Award at the second annual Moynihan Fund Gala. We will also honor Past President David A. Lifson, a partner at Crowe Horwath LLP, with the David J. Moynihan Award. This award honors individuals who have demonstrated unwavering support for NYSSCPA Past President David J. Moynihan’s contributions to mentoring the next generation within the accounting community and the community at large. David Lifson was one of the earliest supporters of the Moynihan Fund when it was launched in 2015.  He was the donor who challenged NYSSCPA members to raise $10,000 by the night of the annual dinner with the promise to personally match that amount if the challenge was met. It was. The following year, David's firm, Crowe Horwath LLP, was one of the gala's premier sponsors, donating $25,000 to the fund. 

Like the Moynihan Award, the gala is named to honor the memory of David J. Moynihan, who devoted much time and energy to expanding opportunities for students who major in accounting. The gala is an annual black tie-optional fund-raiser that supports the Society’s Excellence in Accounting Scholarships and its COAP program, while also providing a fine dining and entertainment experience for a broader group of Society members and the general public. The Fund is about the next generation of young people who have made a decision to follow in our footsteps into the profession. As CPAs, we have an obligation to help them get there.
This year, the Moynihan Fund Gala will take place from 5–9 p.m., on Wednesday, May 17. It will be held at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers, a stunning event space along the Hudson River in midtown Manhattan. Attendees will enjoy cocktails on the waterfront, with sunset views of the Statue of Liberty, and then dinner prepared by one of New York City’s best-known celebrity chefs, Abigail Kirsch. They can also participate in a silent auction, which will raise additional money for The Moynihan Fund. As for entertainment, this year’s attendees will enjoy the hits of “Piano Man” Billy Joel, when members of the six-time Grammy Award winner’s own band perform as Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot. 

The inaugural Moynihan Fund Gala last year raised more than  $220,000; it was the single largest fund-raising event in NYSSCPA history. This year’s gala is already shaping up to be more successful than in 2016. Our goal is to raise $500,000. Many of the tickets available will be spoken for by corporate and firm sponsorships. As a result, individual tickets will be limited to four per person. If you are interested in attending, please buy a ticket now. We anticipate that the event will be sold out, as last year we had to turn away last-minute orders. The $350 ticket price includes dinner, a 5–9 p.m. open bar and attendance at the performance by Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot. In the interest of encouraging young professionals to attend and recognizing that the cost should not be prohibitive, the fee for high school and college students is $150. Those interested in corporate sponsorships, please contact CJ Orr at Individual tickets may be purchased here.

I hope that many of you are making plans to attend the Gala, which promises to be an exciting evening for celebrating the profession and reconnecting with other NYSSCPA members.

I also urge you to vote in the annual election; the nominated candidates and their bios are listed here, and all members will receive their ballots by April 17—via email if the Society has your email address on file, or by U.S. mail if we don’t. Please take this opportunity to provide the Society with your email address, if it is not already on file.  In addition, this is the time when the NYSSCPA Board of Directors solicits votes on potential bylaws amendments. I urge you to watch for these proposed bylaws changes and vote on them as well. Once the proposed bylaws changes are available, we will post them to the Exchange.

Click here to see more of the latest news from the NYSSCPA.