Taking their cue from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, Andrew Lack’s colleagues paid tribute to him by asking the question, “What would the world be like without Andy Lack?” They gathered at UJA-Federation of New York’s Broadcast, Cable & Film Division annual event on April 9th to honor Lack, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group.
Through a video that was by turns tongue-in-cheek and heartfelt, they concluded that Lack has certainly changed the world for the better. In accepting the award, Lack spoke about how much better the world is for the presence of UJA-Federation.
The event broke past years’ records for both attendance and funds raised, with more than 250 guests and nearly $425,000 raised.
“Andy’s generous spirit extends to his philanthropic work,” said Katie Couric, syndicated talk show host and special correspondent for ABC News, who attended the event to present Lack, a long-time leader in the television news and music industries, with the award. “[He] really understands what it means to pay it forward.”
Before the event, Lack had visited Bronx House Jewish Community Center, a UJA-Federation beneficiary agency. He called out the vital work that he saw taking place during his visit, saying Bronx House has “been around for 100 years. It serves 1,000 people every day, from senior citizens to preschoolers, and it’s exactly the kind of organization that would really be struggling if it were not for the support from UJA-Federation.”
Matt Lauer, host of The Today Show and master of ceremonies for the evening, echoed Lack’s sentiment that UJA-Federation is a “wonderful philanthropic organization that provides for New Yorkers of all backgrounds and cares for the Jewish community around the world.” From providing nutritional meals for those who are hungry to offering job training and counseling to the unemployed, and supporting the elderly, including Holocaust survivors, “They do amazing things,” he said.
Alisa Doctoroff, chair of UJA-Federation’s board, also thanked Lack for his support and spoke about the organization’s long history of responding to crises, most recently its rapid response to Hurricane Sandy.
The evening also included a vivacious performance by legendary singer Tony Bennett, a favorite artist of Lack’s who sang his own signature songs, such as “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” as well as standards associated with other artists, such as Frank Sinatra’s “The Best Is Yet to Come.”