NEW YORK — Inscribed high on the granite walls of Gotham Hall are the following words, “Waste neither time nor money, but use both for your own and your neighbor’s good.”
>The words were meant for customers of the building’s original tenant, the Greenwich Savings Bank, when it opened in 1924, but as Emmy Award-winning producer Lindsay Shookus noted during her role as host for the second annual USA Lacrosse Foundation Gala on June 7, they rang true for the more than 400 attendees at the event. The gala both honored coaching legends Jenny Levy and Bill Tierney, but also serves as a key fundraiser to fuel USA Lacrosse sport growth initiatives.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the formation of USA Lacrosse, which has invested more than $300 million into the sport since its formation. This year’s gala raised $760,000 for the organization, bringing the two-year total for the event to over $1.3 million.
“The USA Foundation Gala provides the community of lacrosse the rare opportunity to unite together for one night, under one roof to celebrate the sport we all love,” said Serena Black Martin, one of the co-chairs for the event. “This year’s gala proved to be another successful evening of accomplishing our philanthropic goals while hosting the most electric lacrosse event of the year. It was a privilege to honor Jenny Levy and Bill Tierney, two of the greatest figures and contributors in our game.”
“Last year was our first gala and we learned so much from it, particularly as we were returning to normal life after the pandemic,” said event co-chair Brian Carcaterra. “This year was the culmination of last year’s experiences and the previous five years of planning and perseverance. While we remain humble and responsive as to how to make it even better, we feel like we have established the flagship social experience in the game of lacrosse. We are so thankful for everyone’s support and involvement.”
“The positive energy felt all night was inspiring,” said USA Lacrosse CEO Marc Riccio. “Old friends reuniting, new relationships being formed — all because of this great game. We are so grateful for the support from the lacrosse community and are honored at the trust they've shown in us to help move this sport forward.”
Levy and Tierney share many similarities — they’ve each won multiple national championships, they’ve both led a U.S. national team to a gold medal, they’ve both been inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame — but more so, they’ve both had a tremendous impact on the growth of the game, and the individuals they’ve coached.
Levy spoke of her experience last summer in leading the U.S. team to a world championship while raising the visibility of both the women’s game and the national team program. Tierney spoke of his decision to leave Princeton and take on a new challenge at Denver, where he was tasked with both building a championship program will helping the sport flourish in a new region, both of which he’s accomplished.
The evening also included a prime example of what happens when USA Lacrosse is able to plant seeds for future growth.
Matt Hanna, a former Johns Hopkins lacrosse player, was one of the beneficiaries of a USA Lacrosse grant. As a young coach in 2009, he received assistance in the form of a First Stick Grant that helped him both start a boys’ lacrosse program at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore and launch a non-profit, Next One Up.
This year, Next One Up will open a new $3 million facility that will enable it to keep transforming the lives of Baltimore City youth. Hanna spoke at the gala, thanking USA Lacrosse for its support in its formative years and Ronald Carney, an alum of the program who later served as a team captain at Ferrum College, spoke about how much the sport impacted his life, all made possible in part due to USA Lacrosse.
The festive atmosphere of the event was punctuated with a rousing send off for the U.S. Men’s National Team, which will begin defense of its world championship later this month in San Diego. The majority of the team was in attendance, joining the list of lacrosse luminaries at the gala — all coming together to benefit their neighbor’s good.