Share dinner and conversation with luminaries at LEAP benefit

Hosts throughout the New Haven area — including several from Yale — will open their homes for dinner parties, bringing together distinguished guests and supporters of LEAP (Leadership, Education and Athletics in Partnership) on Wednesday, Feb. 29.

LEAP logo

The annual LEAP Dinner event — now in its 17th year — is the biggest fundraiser for the program, which aims to make a difference in the lives of children and young people from challenged urban neighborhoods.

The guests of honor at each of the dinners include writers, performers, academics, and activists, who will lead conversations on diverse subjects — from cheese to China, dogs to dogma, economics to Egypt, museums to the military, and Josef Stalin to J. Edgar Hoover. Among this year’s luminaries are Egyptian ambassador Sallama Shaker (hosted by Vice President Linda Lorimer, who oversees Yale’s Office of International Affairs); poet and human rights activist Rose Styron; sports writer and broadcaster Jon Wertheim; and David Frei, host of the Westminster Dog Show.

Members of the Yale community who will be featured as guests, and the themes of their talks will be:

• Anne Fadiman, author of “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” and the Francis Writer-in-Residence at Yale, “Caught by the Spirit”;
Beverly Gage, associate professor of history, “Investigating the FBI”;
Nancy Yao Maasbach, executive director of the Yale-China Association, “East Meets West in New Haven”;
Katherine Miller, student and former West Point cadet, “No More Military Secrets”;
Mark Oppenheimer, director of the Yale Journalism Initiative, “Tricky Subjects Demystified”;
Marci Shore and Timothy Snyder, professors of history, “Could Totalitarianism Happen Here?”; and
Paul Solman, professor of economics and a PBS News correspondent, “Making Sense of the Economy.”

In addition, Yale professor and behavioral economist Dean Karlan, co-founder of StickK, the online “commitment store,” will be the guest at an alternate dinner for those who cannot attend the Feb. 29 event. This will take place on Wednesday, March 7; the theme of the evening is “StickK to Your Resolutions.”

The Feb. 29 event will begin with a cocktail reception provided by Culinary Concepts and the Wine Thief 5-7 p.m. at Hopkins School in New Haven. Guest authors will be there to sign their recent books. The dinners follow at 7:30 p.m.

Click here for a list of all of this year’s speakers and a downloadable invitation with ticket information. Or call the LEAP development office at 203-773-0770.

About LEAP

LEAP, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is an after-school mentoring program that engages children and youth in opportunities that promote educational success and inspire them to become good citizens and agents of positive change for their communities. LEAP hires, trains, guides, and supervises 70 college and high school counselors and 30 middle-school teachers-in-training to run year-round after-school programs for 300 children ages 7 to 12.

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