On Wednesday Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) hosted its annual spring luncheon at the Stamford Marriott Hotel in Stamford.
The event featured a powerful dialogue with trailblazing women’s rights leader Gloria Steinem and welcomed Dr. Leana Wen, the new President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA).
More than $850,000—a record-breaking amount—was raised at the event, with donations still coming in.
More than 750 Planned Parenthood friends, advocates and supporters were in attendance.
PPSNE President and CEO Amanda Skinner led the discussion with Ms. Steinem, the noted writer, lecturer, and activist, who has been at the forefront of the women’s rights movement since the 1960s and ‘70s.
Steinem was a co-founder of Ms. magazine—a voice for women, by women—which challenged the social and family-life norms of the day.
Steinem organized Voters for Choice, a political action group that became the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in 2004.
Steinem was named one of the “25 Most Influential Women in America” by Biography magazine and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama in 2013.
“There is no organization in this country, or maybe on earth, more important than Planned Parenthood,” Steinem said. “You are addressing the basic equality from which all other equalities spring. Male or female, we get to make decisions over our own physical selves. Nothing is more important than that.”
“We are so grateful to Gloria Steinem for joining us today, inspiring our crowd of supporters and challenging us to envision a world beyond oppression as we continue the fight for reproductive freedom for all people,” Skinner said. “I am in awe of the incredible generosity of today’s guests who help make our work possible. Thanks to them, we will not turn patients away because they can’t afford basic health care. Thanks to them, our doors will stay open.”
The PPSNE Spring Luncheon was co-chaired by Darien resident Anne Goodnow, Greenwich residents Danielle Eason, Katey Goldberg, Donna Moffly and Sheila Mossman, and Stamford resident Diane McEnroe.
The sold out-event with more than 750 attendees included notable guests, such as Attorney General William Tong, Senator Alex Bergstein, Senator Will Haskell, Representative Lucy Dathan, Representative Terri Wood, former Representative Lile Gibbons, Cynthia Blumenthal and Mary Himes.
Comedian Jane Condon, a longtime PPSNE supporter and audience favorite on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, returned to host the event.
The Spring Luncheon also welcomed Dr. Leana Wen, the new President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Dr. Wen is the first physician to lead Planned Parenthood in nearly 50 years.
“We need to speak the truth about how keeping people unhealthy is a tool of oppression, and that stigmatizing women’s health care is a tool of misogyny,” said Dr. Wen. “Abortion is health care. Reproductive care is health care, and health care is a human right.”
The Community Impact Award – given annually in recognition of an individual’s commitment to community service and social action – was presented to Greenwich resident Erica Buchsbaum. She has been a PPSNE supporter for nearly a decade, serving on the Board of Trustees as chair of the Philanthropy Committee and co-chairing the Spring Luncheon for eight years. Ms. Buchsbaum also served as the Capital Campaign Coordinator for Greenwich Hospital.
All proceeds from the Spring Luncheon support 17 health centers in Connecticut and Rhode Island and the care of 75,000 patients each year, regardless of their ability to pay.
PPSNE health centers provide a range of essential, life-saving services, including breast cancer screenings, Pap tests, birth control, PreP, and STD/STI testing and treatment.