Innovative Philanthropy With a Heart

Insight Articles
Insight Donor Stories
June 13, 2017
By: 
Erin Rowley, Writer and Content Coordinator

Salvatore Principe’s heart paintings have been seen all over the world, including in the homes of many a celebrity, and at LBBC’s 25th Anniversary Butterfly Ball, in November 2016.

Three couples — Marcia and Barry Kaufman, Ellen and Eric Gechter and Robin and Paul Rashkind — commissioned a painting called Debbie’s Heart and donated it to the event’s live auction. The painting honors their friend Debra Strauss, a longtime LBBC volunteer and past gala honoree who lived with metastatic breast cancer for more than 30 years. Debra passed away in January 2017, shortly after the Butterfly Ball.

The couples spent $1,000 on the painting. It turned into a donation to LBBC of 10 times that when it sold for $10,000 at the auction. 

“We were blown away,” Ms. Kaufman says. “We were just beyond thrilled and excited because it did what we wanted it to do and it did it in such a beautiful way. It was such a beautiful way to honor her and to raise money for LBBC at the same time.”

Debra was unable to attend the event due to illness, but her family attended and took video of the auction to share with her.

“For them to have seen this, I can’t even begin to tell you how emotional and just wonderful it was,” Ms. Kaufman says.

Michael Durbin, chief strategy officer and chief inspiration officer at Manchu Times Fashion, was the highest bidder on the painting. He bought it as a gift for Donna Noce Colaco, president of White House Black Market, a long-time LBBC supporter and an honoree at the previous year’s gala.

“The painting’s theme — the heart and the butterfly — spoke to me about Donna’s special relationship with LBBC and their work,” he says. “My thought was it could hang as an inspiration and reminder of this special organization and all it means to Donna and her staff at White House Black Market.”   

Living Beyond Breast Cancer must raise its entire budget every year, and the Butterfly Ball is our single biggest fundraising event. Without the funds raised from it, including the funds raised by the auction of the painting, LBBC could not meet our mission of connecting people with trusted breast cancer information and a community of support.

It was a great way to underscore LBBC’s mission and honor a woman who lived so well with metastatic breast cancer for so many years and helped so many others.

Living Beyond Breast Cancer CEO Jean A. Sachs, MSS, MLSP, calls the commission and donation of the painting “innovative philanthropy” and says “it was a great way to underscore LBBC’s mission and honor a woman who lived so well with metastatic breast cancer for so many years and helped so many others.”