Katrina and Don Peebles opened their Bridgehampton estate to bring more awareness – and Hamptonites – into the New York City Mission Society fold. Don was honored at the Mission gala this spring that Katrina co-chaired with Jean Shafiroff. Mission – the longest running privately funded NYC charity – has been on the frontline of the war against poverty since its inception in 1816, serving more than 13,000 children and families with their programs, services and events.
Peggy and John Bader, B. Michael and Mark-Anthony Edwards, Missy Kilroy ajd Jay Moorhead, and Leah and Stanley Rumbough were the evening’s host committee.
“I waited a long time after moving to NYC to pick a cause that truly helps me to do what I know is my larger focus here,” Katrina told the room. “That is to help kids – that there by the grace of God could have been me – who were born into difficult circumstances. They don’t have an example to show them that it’s important to study, that you can educate your way out of poverty.”
Getting to children when they are young can make a big difference, President Elsie McCabe Thompson, told the room. The desperation that lead to dropping out, turning to drugs and/or crime, incarceration and teen pregnancy can be traced back to the lack of a good early education. Kids need to learn to read between kindergarten and 3rd grade so that they can “start learning to learn. If you don’t learn to read,” she said, “you become bored at school and issues that you might have been able to overcome now become harder.”
With “too many failing schools” the education gap is growing. That’s where Mission steps up to the plate with after school programs and support. “We have transformed kids who are under credited and over aged,” Thompson said, “because we take some of the most difficult, the most challenging kids in the city and we give them possibilities, we give them a future. Every kid in our program goes on college visits, because we want them to think about college as a reality not just a possibility. We want to make sure they graduate from high school and get into college.”
As a result, Mission’s 85 percent college matriculation rate is twice the city average of 41 percent.
Colgate heir Stanley Rumbough said he is probably the fifth generation of Colgates and his son, Cole Rumbough, is the fourth generation of Rumboughs that have actively supported Mission. They say, Stan’s mother, the late Dina Merrill, was told by her mother-in-law, when she married into the Colgate family, it was time to take a cause. “Mom got involved in 1949,” he said. “My mother brought me up to Camp Minisink which was the first sleep away camp for African American children. I’ll never forget, I actually got to play tennis against Mayor Dinkins! He was a really good tennis player and it was a lot of fun. I joined the board in 1983 and I’m the 3rd generation. My son, Cole Rumbough is here: he’s the 4th generation. We believe my grandmother Colgate was influenced by her relatives going all the way to the Colgate toothpaste and soap company (in the turn of the 19th century) in Lower Manhattan.”
And speaking of mayors: Despite the entreaties of many guests and a tease or two in Page Six, Don Peebles said he is not running. For now.
For more information, visit www.nycmissionsociety.org.