Moola at the Gala – HeARTworks, National Marfan Foundation’s 10th Anniversary Gala

HeARTworks at Cipriani's 42nd St, NYC

special performance by Tommy Tune, Broadway legend

Bright lights, lofty architecture, free-flowing caviar and champagne, silent auction items in the thousands of dollars, the most dedicated and talented medical researchers and surgeons in the country, Mayor Bloomberg, and Broadway legend Tommy Tune – all came together last month in support of the National Marfan Foundation’s 10th Anniversary Gala, at Cipriani 42nd Street.

Gala invitation, designed by Julia Reich Design

My design firm created all the collateral for the event (invitations, signage, program, and much more), so I was fortunate to be able to attend this fabulous event.

Julia Reich and Hoda Kotb

I even got to meet Hoda Kotb, news anchor with the Today Show and Dateline NBC!

About Marfan and NMF

The National Marfan Foundation is a non-profit voluntary health organization dedicated to saving lives and improving the quality of life of individuals and families affected by the Marfan syndrome.

Marfan syndrome is a connective tissue disorder that affects the heart, blood vessels, eyes, bones, joints and lungs. It is often, but not always, characterized by a tall stature and disproportionately long legs and arms. Other skeletal manifestations are curvature of the spine, a protruding or indented chest and loose joints. The most serious problem associated with the Marfan syndrome is its effect on the aorta, the main artery carrying blood away from the heart. In affected people, the aorta is prone to progressive enlargement, which can lead to tears in the aortic wall that require surgery. If aortic enlargement and tears are left undetected, the aorta may rupture, leading to sudden death.

Approximately 200,000 people in the U.S. have Marfan syndrome or a related connective tissue disorder. In most cases, the condition is inherited; one-quarter of people with Marfan syndrome are the first in their family to be affected.

While it is still too soon to gauge how successful this year’s gala was in raising funds to support for Marfan syndrome research, individuals and families affected by the disorder, and public awareness and education, in past years HeARTworks has raised nearly $7 million for The National Marfan Foundation.

Nonprofit Giving

Recent surveys show that giving has slowed – for instance, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that online giving, at least, continues to grow but at a slower pace. And findings from Convio’s Online Nonprofit Benchmark™ Study show “an increase in gifts drove fundraising gains” and that “Donors were still giving, but giving smaller amounts”. I myself was impressed to witness several individuals gifting BIG moola at the gala. Is recession relief in sight?

Design of the Gala Materials

NMF approached me to design their gala materials because they knew about our reputation working in the nonprofit sector. They showed me past years’ gala materials with the request that this year, the 10th Anniversary design needed to be more polished, more corporate, more festive. After presenting them with several options, the invitation design they chose featured celebratory fireworks bursting forth with hearts (hearts are a long-standing theme for the NMF gala) and stars. The invitation was printed in gold and silver foil on thick paper stock with a gorgeous column texture, and placed in a gold metallic outer envelope. All the other collateral for and at the event – down to the placeholder slide on the overhead screen and above the stage at Cipriani’s – utilized this same look and feel to achieve a branded consistency that felt worthy of a gala with seats starting at $500.

I care about the causes my firm promotes, and find meaning in the work beyond monetary rewards. My clients trust Julia Reich Design to help them achieve their mission, in many cases as long-term partners, since our values are aligned. I understand the clients served by my firm because I’ve been on “their side” – prior to starting my company I was an environmental educator who worked for various nonprofit education centers and museums. Through my company, I help organizations like National Marfan Foundation tell their story so they can have greater impact with their audience.


The materials you designed for our 10th Anniversary Heartworks Gala truly achieved the look we were hoping for! We received so much positive feedback from our guests – the fun and festive, yet elegant design really helped to convey the feel of the evening. We were so pleased with the results, and felt that changing the design used in previous years helped create new interest and peak the interest of those that have been supporters for years.”
—Kristin Braun, Development Associate, National Marfan Foundation

Branded signage

Mayor Bloomberg, Corporate Host Karen Murray, and "Hero with a Heart" Duke Cameron, MD

PHOTO CREDITS: Timothy D. Joyce

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