In NewsWhistle’s weekly question-and-answer series, Clara Morgan speaks with some of the world’s top beauty and style influencers and finds out more about their lives and career.
This week, Clara speaks with Bonnie Pfeifer Evans, trustee of the Charles Evans Foundation. The foundation hosted a tennis tournament and gala in conjunction with the Prostate Cancer Foundation that raised over $4 million for cancer research in the Hamptons the weekend of Friday, August 28 to Sunday, August 30th, 2015.
Evans is the widow of Charles Evans, for whom the charity is named, which donates to causes that were important to him throughout his life including fire safety, Alzheimer’s research and prostate cancer awareness.
In addition to her work with the Charles Evans Foundation, she previously worked in the non-profit sector fundraising for pediatric AIDS research and modeled for designers including Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan.
For more information on The PCF Pro-Am Tour, visit: www.pcfproamtour.org
1. What inspired you to begin your career working on behalf of non-profits?
Growing up in Maryland with six siblings, our Mother always encouraged us to get involved & to give back to our community. In the early 90s I started the DISHES Project for Pediatric AIDS, the modeling industry’s first non-profit. We had a great Board (Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, etc.) ALL the models gave of their time, image & money.
In the late 90’s we merged with Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS where I started their Children & Families Initiative. Since then I have served on dozens of non-profit boards & committees & received numerous awards & honors, including being commended by the White House for private sector service.
2. Your husband Charles Evans was renowned for his philanthropic endeavors. How have you carried on his legacy?
After the death of his wife & 2 young daughters, Charles underwrote the R&D (& fought for mandatory legislation) for the smoke detector as we know it today. In his memory, the Charles Evans Foundation (CEF) underwrote the CE FDNY Fire Simulation & Safety Building [along with] 2 fire simulation vans which host hundreds of school children visits daily.
Charles’s father had Alzheimer’s, so we are very involved with the Alzheimer’s Association. Also, Charles’s sister, Alice Shure, & I sit on the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation Board of Governors. In addition, CEF sponsored the Alzheimer’s Fellow @ the NY Stem Cell Foundation.
*Charles would have really loved our exciting four city Charles Evans Tennis Pro-Am for the Prostate Cancer Foundation! Four of his favorite cities and a sport he loved!
3. If you could meet anyone in the world, who do you want to meet? And why?
I am sorry that I missed meeting them:
CoCo Chanel, who personified grace & beauty & who defined the classic feminine silhouette.
Maya Angelou, whose beautiful words touched & inspired the minds & hearts of the nation & the world.
4. Who influences your personal style?
I like the casual yet elegant style of American designers, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karen, Calvin Klein, Michael Kohrs….. (Having been one of all of their first models, I love everything they do, plus I know the clothing will fit my body & my lifestyle perfectly.)
5. Proudest career moment?
Oh boy, another tough one…. So many!
For my non-profit world: I would say every time someone thanks me for helping to save the life of her child, husband, mother, father, brother, sister or friend.
In my real estate world: It wasn’t so bad to list and sell the most expensive co-op in Manhattan history a few years ago!
6. If you were not the Chair of the Charles Evans Foundation, what would you want to be?
I was one of 6 CEF Trustees. I proud to have helped ensure that my husband’s legacy of giving lives on.
** My business is as an associate broker with the Corcoran Group, but my passion & life’s work will always be for my non-profit work.**
TROPHY PRESENTATION (left to right): Former tennis pro Luke Jensen; amateur competitor Jesse Lee; Charles Evans Foundation trustee Bonnie Pfeifer-Evans; Prostate Cancer Foundation founder Michael Milken; Prostate Cancer Foundation CEO Dr. Jonathan Simons; Photo courtesy of… (c) Johnny Nunez / WireImage.com
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Who knows, one day I might even retire, but I will never stop fighting for those you need my help! I love to travel & hopefully I will have a house on the beach somewhere in the world. (I have visited 16 countries this year alone & countless US cities!)
8. Any advice for others entering your profession?
There are so many ways to help. Everyone has a different motivation & they are all valid if they help advance science or direct care or the arts, education… you name it. Yikes, there are so many inspiring & focused professionals & volunteers! I am also always thankful to all the amazing talent for donating their time & talents (& money) to help us raise awareness & funds!
Selfishly, it is very rewarding to know that you can touch & improve other peoples’ quality of life. On a more practical community level, it is so important & yet so simple to give & to improve our community’s quality of life. I was quite sickly as a child so I know the positive personal impact that medical professionals & volunteers can make.
Just think of how something as simple as your smile or as powerful as your checkbook can help enhance or even change a person’s life. You have a touching gift to share: HOPE!
There are so many ways to help … you can do it!
9. Best international dining experience you’ve ever had?
Yikes, that is a hard one! Having just spent a month on a yacht in the Mediterranean off the coast of Turkey, I will say: freshly caught fish & freshly picked vegetables, grilled or cooked simply, along with the local wine or local beer.
10. Favorite vacation spot and hotel?
Anywhere around the Mediterranean, especially the South of France. Hotel du Cap.
11. Three items that can always be found in your handbag?
iPhone, dark chocolate & water. Hydrate! Hydrate!
12. What song can you listen to on repeat?
Imagine by John Lennon. (It is my ring tone!)
Lead-In Image Courtesy of Bonnie Pfeifer Evans