“If you can do it, you’ve got to do it.” That’s the mentality that sets Diana and Jeff Kerbel apart and has made them two of the Nanny Angel Network’s most dedicated supporters. “We have been fortunate, and want to make sure that others can feel the same,” Diana says. Diana and her husband, Jeff, President and CEO of Brampton Brick, have given the Nanny Angel Network a new understanding of the word philanthropy through their generous contributions to the organization. In 2015, Brampton Brick donated $100,000 to NAN – the largest amount the organization has ever received from one donor.
Brampton Brick’s support is critical to NAN’s expansion across the GTA. “Jeff and Diana Kerbel are truly Guardian Angels of our organization. Their investment in the Nanny Angel Network is changing the way moms and their children endure the stress of a cancer diagnosis,” says NAN Founder, Audrey Guth.
If you ask Diana and Jeff about why they chose NAN, they’re quick to answer. “My mother had cancer and I saw what it cost for her care. I can’t imagine how young families do it. There are people there for palliative care and other services, but no one else is out there looking after the families,” says Jeff. The Kerbels emphasized the importance of organizations like NAN in their community and stressed their ongoing commitment to support the growth and success of the Nanny Angel Network.
After volunteering on the Angels & Heroes Event Committee for the inaugural gala, Diana joined NAN again in 2017 as a Co-Chair. “I had been to so many charity events over the years and part of so many committees, I wasn’t looking to do any more, but Audrey kept pursuing me. She would not let me go,” says Diana, laughing as she recalls Audrey reaching out. “It’s been a rewarding experience.”
When asked what they would want to share with people who are just learning about NAN, Jeff answered. “NAN is a great organization. I would love to see people make space for NAN in their giving.” Their interest in sharing NAN with their community has been monumental for NAN’s growth and development. At the inaugural Angels & Heroes Celebration, Diana and Jeff Kerbel were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the organization.
After a week of the Nanny Angel Network team anxiously checking the weather reports and peering nervously up at the sky, Friday morning dawned bright and clear, and we collectively breathed a sigh of relief. Following a morning of checking and double checking that everything was ready for that evening, the NAN team headed out for our offices to the gorgeous Palais Royale on the lakefront. The perfectly sunny day set the lake alight, and the air was filled with the sounds of pedestrians out taking advantage of the beautiful day. In front of the doors was a stretch of brilliant pink carpet that drew the eye to the first sign of the event’s 60’s theme: an adorable retro Mercedes-Benz.
As guests arrived, they were greeted by a crowd of paparazzi calling out in excitement. Guests grinned in delight as they posed for a souvenir photo. Doormen dressed in period garb ushered VIP guests to the back of the building, where the deck beside the lake awaited them. In the bright sunlight, and accompanied by the wonderful voice of Canadian singer/songwriter Kenny Munshaw, guests mingled and sipped on cocktails. Among them were adorably dressed retro cigarette girls selling angel wing necklaces and raffle tickets.
Guests moved inside for dinner, reluctant to leave the sunshine behind. However, the inside of the venue was as perfect as the exterior, and everyone had soon happily found their seats. The evening’s emcee, Stefano DiMatteo introduced the guests to the Nanny Angel Network’s founder, Audrey Guth. She focused on the story of one of the evening’s attendees, Pawan Sharma, whose late wife Priyanka and her children had been the recipient of NAN’s services prior to her death. His two young daughters have continued to receive visits from Nanny Angels throughout the past year as they grieved the loss of their mother, and as their father struggled with the loss of his wife. Audrey spoke of how Priyanka inspired her. Tears filled her voice, and it was easy to spot others in the audience wiping at their eyes. The story of Pawan and his family is just one among many that NAN has helped in the GTA, something demonstrated by what Audrey next introduced, the 2016 NAN Impact Video.
After this video, you would have been hard pressed to find a dry eye in the crowd. Audrey took the stage again, thanking our title sponsors, Jeff and Diana Kerbel, longtime supporters of NAN whose impact upon mothers with cancer in the GTA is truly immeasurable. She thanked Paul Bailey of Bazil Developments, our Entertainment Sponsor, Barbara Weinberg of MLSE for all her hard work and passion for NAN, David and Jenni Belford of Surplus Freigh who, as a major sponsor, supplied the jet for Michael Feinstein et al. along with being an event sponsor. She also thanked OMDREB for their ongoing support of NAN, and all of our corporate sponsors who made the evening possible. She emphasized what an incredible impact donations to the Nanny Angel Network have – for every dollar that you donate to NAN, we are able to provide two dollars of specialized, in-home relief childcare to mothers with cancer.
Adam Moskowitz provided auctioneer services for the evening. The fast talking Adam got the crowd so excited they were quickly breaking the rules of a live auction, guests shouting out to draw attention to their bids. The prizes on offer were incredible thanks to the generosity of those who donated them, and the auction was a resounding success, raising over $35,000. One prize, a dinner for ten, was so successful that the donor offered a second one, which went for the same price of $10,000 each! After the excitement of the auction, the time had finally arrived for the evening’s headliner, and Michael Feinstein took the stage.
The two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy nominated artist was accompanied by a nineteen piece Swing band, and captured the audience’s hearts with his beautiful renditions of Frank Sinatra. Clips from Michael’s performance can be found on the Nanny Angel Network Instagram page, as well as other behind the scenes images from the night.
Following Michael’s wonderful performance, the raffle was held to great excitement from the guests. Many lucky winners took home incredible prizes, including a private film screening of a theatrical release complete with popcorn and drinks for 40 guests from Warner Bros. Canada, and a trip to Nicaragua at a luxury resort.
Following remarks from co-chairs Joyce Frustaglio and Kendryn Hutt, the evening concluded. Guests were given a copy of the first edition of NAN’s Halo magazine as they headed out into the night, full of warmth and the joy of having helped support an amazing cause.
For more photographs from this wonderful evening, be sure to check out our image gallery.
There are a growing number of ways to support your favourite causes, from donating at point of sale to fundraising through events. With some organizations, you can even donate your used vehicle! The Nanny Angel Network has just added another way for you to support them, thanks to their partners at Shoppers Drug Mart. Now, by using your Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Card, you can help NAN get the supplies and resources they need for programming simply by donating your points!
I talked to NAN’s Stewardship Officer, Rebecca Babcock, about this new program, and why NAN has chosen to partner with Shoppers Drug Mart for this new and different way of giving. In our conversation, Rebecca was quick to emphasize how important donations are to the continued operation of the Nanny Angel Network, stating that “donations are the lifeblood of NAN. They are important to running our programs and necessary to bring our Nanny Angels to families across the GTA.” Without the help of donations, it would be impossible for NAN to provide their free, specialized in-home relief childcare to mothers’ with cancer in Toronto and throughout the GTA.
Rebecca delved into what benefits there are for donors in giving their Optimum Points as compared to other methods, stating “the Optimum Points program is an awesome opportunity for the person who can’t give financially right now to contribute to a cause they are passionate about.” She emphasized, however, that this program isn’t just for people who can’t afford to give through traditional methods. “For the donor looking to go above and beyond in their contributions, this is a great way to have an impact,” she said, adding that “sharing your rewards allows us to purchase necessary items and gift cards.”
This new program doesn’t just have benefits for NAN’s supporters. “Shoppers Drug Mart is a proud partner of the Nanny Angel Network, and we are thrilled to have this program as part of our partnership,” Rebecca said. She went on to explain why charities are now choosing to utilize new and non-traditional giving methods. Rebecca commented that “giving people more ways to give allows us to engage more people and expand our impact.” When asked what NAN hopes to achieve by implementing this program, Rebecca focused on the ways it allows NAN to engage new people. “As technology grows and our interactions change, we want to provide as many opportunities as possible for supporters to have an impact.”
The Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points program in particular is an easy avenue to engage supporters, as rewards programs are something that most people are already familiar with. “Being able to gift those rewards to causes we care about is a great way to turn your every day actions into ongoing philanthropy,” Rebecca explained, adding that they hope this program will help with the cost of supplies for their Nanny Angels. Nanny Angels go out to client’s homes with their famous Green Bag stocked full of toys and supplies for the children, and they can always use more, which is where the Optimum Points will come in. “This program will help us with the cost of supplies, especially through gift cards, toys, and other supplies,” Rebecca concluded.
Interested in donating your Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points? It’s easy! Simply log into your Optimum Account on www.shoppersdrugmart.ca and click the Donate/Transfer Points tab. From there, simply scroll down the list of charitable partners until you find NAN. Enter the amount and just like that, your points will be transferred to their card to help with purchases to support their programming!
Text: Jensine Jones Photo: CNW Group/Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation