NYC Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott, founder and president of Urban Tech and IBM veteran Pat Bransford, CBS2 anchor and Master of Ceremonies Maurice DuBois

*On Tuesday, September 20, 2011 more than 300 guests attended the National Urban Technology Center (Urban Tech) annual benefit at Capitale in New York City honoring New York Knicks legend, NBA All-Star and founder/president of the John Starks Foundation, John Starks; Jessica Isaacs, Head of International Small and Medium Enterprises for Marsh, Inc. and chair, Executive Leadership Council; and South Bronx Principal of Intel School of Distinction MS223, the Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, Ramon Gonzalez.

Guests mixed and mingled at a cocktail reception followed by fine dining which was preceded by warm welcoming remarks from Urban Tech’s founder and president and IBM veteran Pat Bransford.

During the awards program, New York City Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott presented the rising education star and recent White House “Champion of Change” honoree Gonzalez with the esteemed education leadership award.

Starks received the distinguished humanitarian award, in absentia, from Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, president of the New York Board of Rabbis.  Christopher Wallace, chairman, CEO and founder of the Williams Capital Group and Morgan Stanley’s Carla Harris presented Isaacs with the coveted corporate leadership award.

CBS2 News anchor Maurice DuBois served as Master of Ceremonies.  The gala was chaired by Mrs. Michelle Paige Paterson with Vernon E. Jordan Jr. and Hugh B. Price serving as honorary chairs; and attracted many head turners including HBO’s “Nurse Jackie” star and stage veteran Dominic Fumusa, his wife, actress Ilana Levine, hit TV series “Spin City” star Richard Kind, Food Network star and executive chef of Café Napoli, Chris Nirschel, actresses Nadia Dajani and Callie Thorne as well as Broadway producers Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey.

Honorees, Jessica Isaacs, Head of International Small and Medium Enterprises at Marsh, Inc. and MS223 Principal Ramon Gonzalez, with gala chair and former NYS first lady Michelle Paige Paterson

*Urban Tech formally announced the launch of the Adopt-a-School Support Network (ASN).  This network is an online community of schools and donors that highlights the specific needs of each institution providing a platform for ongoing interaction between Urban Tech, the schools and supporters to deliver help to schools and students quickly.

The educational evening celebrated Urban Tech’s sixteen years of success in transforming 460,000 young lives through the implementation of 750 computer training centers and (creation or foundation) of 200 youth development programs through technology and training.

Urban Tech is a 501(c) (3) non-profit education technology corporation.  Their mission is to transform lives and communities through the power of technology.  They accomplish their mission by partnering with schools and community-based organizations (CBOs) to implement two flagship programs: Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) and SeedTech.

Proceeds from the event benefit YLA that supplements core academic subjects by strengthening the students’ social and emotional skills, computer literacy, and higher-order thinking abilities, which are essential for shaping the academic performance and career outcomes of the young.  For more information visit  (Photos by Monika Graff)

About John Starks

John Starks was a team leader of the New York Knicks and an NBA All-Star.  Mr. Starks is a national advocate for underprivileged children and youth and has been an Urban Tech supporter for many years and on the board of Urban Tech for 2½ years, where he has supported Urban Tech’s community programs addressing youth leadership, character education, bullying, financial literacy, technology training, substance abuse prevention, healthy habits, and HIV awareness.  Urban Tech celebrates his impact as a great humanitarian.

About Ramon Gonzalez

Ramon Gonzalez is the principal of MS223 the Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, where he has successfully created an exceptional educational environment.  He champions education as a civil right, going beyond the call of duty to ensure that his students are academically, financially, and socially prepared for success.  Urban Tech celebrates his exceptional leadership in promoting education.

About Jessica Isaacs

Jessica Isaacs is the Head of International Small and Medium Business Enterprises for insurance corporation Marsh Inc. Jessica is dedicated to revitalizing America’s financial industry and its disenfranchised communities from the economic crises, serving as an exemplary role model for young and upcoming leaders.  Urban Tech celebrates her impact as a corporate leader with an unyielding commitment to youth.

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area

Audrey J. Bernard