The Signature Event Recap

The Signature Event Recap





                On October 18, START hosted our annual Signature Event fundraiser, and this year’s version was a huge success!

                Held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Midtown, we were able to raise over $110,000 to support our efforts to end the opioid epidemic! Featured throughout the course of the evening were three special guests whose contributions to the world of public health and START have been extraordinary.

                First, our house for the evening was Debra Fraser-Howze, the founder of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, who spoke at length about the early work by START (then the Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation) and founder Dr. Beny J. Primm to address the AIDS epidemic as it pertained to those living with, and contracting HIV through, heroin use. She also spoke about her relationship with current START CEO Lawrence S. Brown, Jr., MD, MPH, DFASAM, whom she referred to as her “little brother” and whose efforts at the helm of our organization she lauded.

                We were also able to honor two exceptional people. First, the Dr. Beny J. Primm Humanitarian Award was presented to Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez, the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. In her role as Commissioner, Ms. Gonzalez-Sanchez has been instrumental in shaping the state’s response to the opioid epidemic and has saved countless lives through the programs she’s implemented and awareness she’s spread. Neither START, nor the entire population of those living with addiction in this state, would have come as far as we have without the diligent and highly effective leadership of Commissioner Gonzalez-Sanchez. Upon accepting the award, the Commissioner, too, spoke highly of Dr. Beny J. Primm and his early leadership in addressing the last opioid epidemic in the United States following the Vietnam War, before going on to commend START’s current role in serving some of New York’s most vulnerable citizens.

                Finally, we honored Frank Mullady, who represented Heritage Administrative Services, our Corporate Partner Award recipient. In his role in leading Heritage, Mr. Mullady has been a tireless ally to START, donating his time and expertise, while making significant contributions to various fundraising efforts and helping connect START to many other valuable partners. Mr. Mullady and Heritage Administrative Services have had as much of an impact on START as almost anyone, and it is beyond question that a long-lasting legacy of healing and recovery has come, and will continue to come, as a result of that support.

                Furthering the special night, we had plenty of great hors d’oeuvres to go around, refreshments, a live jazz band, and a silent auction that saw guests going home with paintings, New York Giants and Knicks tickets, a Masters flag signed by Jack Nicklaus, a trip to Los Angeles to see Jimmy Kimmel Live! from the backstage Green Room, and even a 7-day vacation to an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

                Now that this event has concluded, we can look back with fondness on everything that took place. There were too many who helped make this night special to be able to thank in one place, but rest assured, we are sincerely grateful for the contributions of each of our speakers, guests, volunteers, and supporters who helped make this event so special. See below for pictures, and if you’d like to contribute to START’s mission in the wake of the Signature Event, you can always do so at

                Thanks again to all involved, and please enjoy some of the photos from the evening below, and check out the full album now on our Facebook!


P.S. – If you enjoyed the video we premiered at the event (or missed it), you can watch it here:, and we encourage you to share it in advance of the full-length version premier coming soon!