— De Shields to be honored alongside Wayne Ho, President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council, and Mukund Padmanabhan, Founder of the Guru Krupa Foundation — 

Flushing Town Hall will hold its annual gala, Around the World & Home Again, on Thursday, June 15. The gala will celebrate the Smithsonian affiliate’s mission to bring people together through arts and culture from around the globe. This year, the gala will honor Broadway Deity André De Shields, President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) Wayne Ho, and Founder of the Guru Krupa Foundation Mukund Padmanabhan. Veronica Y. Tsang will be the presenting sponsor for this year’s gala.

The evening will consist of a cocktail hour, a sit-down dinner in the theater, and live entertainment, including a show-stopping performance from none other than De Shields himself. 

As the nonprofit’s main benefit event of the year, the Gala raises critical funds for Flushing Town Hall.

“Like all of our programming at Flushing Town Hall, our gala is an opportunity to bring the community together in celebration of the arts and our borough’s rich, global culture. It is also a chance to celebrate the remarkable individuals who, through their leadership, generosity, and extraordinary craft, have helped Flushing Town Hall to thrive and educate and inspire our audiences,” said Ellen Kodadek, Executive & Artistic Director at Flushing Town Hall. 

“The shifting cultural paradigm calls for every artist to advocate for Foundational Democracy–the doing of the greatest good for the greatest number of people. During the month of February in both 2021 and 2022, Flushing Town Hall provided the forum for my demonstrating the intersection of art and activism by inviting me to perform my tribute to Frederick Douglass–Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory–in commemoration of Black Heritage Month. Accepting the Award for Life Achievement and serenading the audience with song are my expressions of immense gratitude.” says André De Shields

“Flushing is a melting pot of people with diverse backgrounds, and Flushing Town Hall provides a venue to celebrate all groups. This year we honor three exceptional individuals who have a tremendous impact in their fields and the communities they serve,” says presenting sponsor Veronica Y. Tsang. “I am proud to be the Presenting Sponsor for this gala. I encourage more people to support Flushing Town Hall and our gala by being a sponsor, placing an ad, purchasing tickets, or donating to Flushing Town Hall.”

About the Honorees

André De Shields

André De Shields has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, activist, educator, and philanthropist. His legendary career has resulted in a treasure trove of accolades, the most recent of which is the 89th Annual Drama League Award for Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre. He was the triple crown winner of the 2019 awards season, garnering Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Grammy Awards for his acclaimed role as Hermes in Hadestown, followed by a paranormal portrayal as Ben Loman in the 2023 revival of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Perennially known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway musicals—The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin (Emmy Award), Play On!, and The Full Monty—Mr. De Shields has achieved the status of “Broadway Deity.”

Wayne Ho 

Wayne Ho is the President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC), the nation’s largest Asian American social services agency. With a mission to promote the social and economic empowerment of Chinese American, immigrant, and low-income communities, CPC serves over 280,000 community members in education, family support, and community and economic empowerment at 35 locations throughout New York City. 

Since the pandemic started, CPC has led successful advocacy efforts to secure $20 million from the State and $5 million from the City to promote Asian American recovery and safety, spoken out against the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, led the #Providers4FairPay campaign in support of living wages for home care workers, distributed over $7.4 million in cash assistance and over 400,000 pounds of food to community members, and has been quoted in over 250 news stories. 

Most recently, Ho served on the transition teams for Mayor Eric Adams, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, and the joint nonprofit procurement task force of Mayor Eric Adams and Comptroller Brad Lander. Previously, Ho served as Chief Strategy and Program Officer for the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), an association of 200 community and faith-based member agencies aiming to promote upward mobility of underserved New Yorkers, from 2013-2017, and was the Executive Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), the nation’s only pan-Asian children’s advocacy organization, from 2004-2013. 

Ho has been recognized by City and State in the inaugural Asian Power 100 in 2020, in the inaugural Nonprofit Power 50 in 2018, and as a member of the 40 Under 40 New York City Rising Star in 2014. He was one of 10 leaders invited to meet with President Obama during the White House’s Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration in 2011. Ho serves on numerous boards, including the Human Services Council and Coro New York Leadership Center. He has also been appointed to several New York City and State advisory boards, including the NYC Independent Budget Office. 

Mukund Padmanabhan 

Dr. Mukund Padmanabhan is the founder of the Guru Krupa Foundation. Padmanabhan received a bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, all in Electronics and Electrical Engineering. After UCLA, he worked as a Research Scientist at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Lab. Then he pivoted to Wall Street, applying his technical expertise at the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies. Dr. Padmanabhan’s work has been published prolifically in several international technical journals. He is also a recipient of the Professional Achievement Award from UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Kharagpur. 

In 2007, Dr. Padmanabhan used his financial success to give back to the community and his alma maters when he founded the Guru Krupa Foundation. The foundation takes a holistic approach to charity and philanthropy, addressing various issues from social, educational, cultural/spiritual to environmental. GKF gives grants to partner organizations in the United States and India. GKF handed out over 70 grants in 2022 alone. 

GKF’s social projects assist vulnerable groups to help them break out of the cycle of poverty. The projects address child welfare (funding orphanages, schools, and book banks), food insecurity (funding food banks), and youth, women, and disabled empowerment (funding skill training programs). GKF’s higher educational projects provide scholarships to students at institutions of higher learning. GKF’s cultural/spiritual projects support preserving Hindu traditions and promoting cross-cultural integration and collaboration. Their environmental projects focus on water preservation and cleanup in India. 

Single gala tickets cost $375, and table packages range from $6,000 to $15,000. Gala ads are also available for purchase and range from $600 to $4,000. 

For more detailed ticket, sponsor, and advertising information or to make a contribution, visit https://www.flushingtownhall.org/gala or contact Jessica Peña, Director of Development, at jpena@flushingtownhall.org

For the venue’s full schedule of 2023 Spring events, visit: https://www.flushingtownhall.org/fth-presents

COVID Policy: 

Flushing Town Hall no longer requires visitors or performers to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19; wearing a mask is optional but recommended. For more details, please visit www.flushingtownhall.org/covid-safety

Support Global Arts with a Gift Today!

All gifts of $50 or more give you exclusive Flushing Town Hall Circle of Friends membership benefits, including a Smithsonian membership, ticket discounts, and more! Donations in any amount are appreciated to support the artists and the nonprofit cultural organization as they continue to provide programming and entertainment across New York and the world. https://www.flushingtownhall.org/circle-of-friends

Flushing Town Hall is a not-for-profit organization and receives major support in 2022 from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; New York State Assembly Member Ron Kim; The City of New York, Mayor Eric Adams; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Commissioner Laurie Cumbo; Queens Borough President Donovan Richards; The New York City Council, Speaker Adrienne E. Adams, and New York City Council Members Sandra Ung, Tiffany Caban, Shekar Krishnan, Linda Lee, Vickie Paladino, Lynn Schulman, and Jessica Won; Howard Gilman Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Guru Krupa Foundation, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation. The Mini-Global Mashups are funded in part by the Center for Cultural Vibrancy.

To view current donor lists, please visit www.flushingtownhall.org/donor-listings

About Flushing Town Hall

Flushing Town Hall (FTH), a Smithsonian affiliate, presents multi-disciplinary global arts that engage and educate the global communities of Queens and New York City in order to foster mutual appreciation. As advocates of arts equity since 1979, we support local, immigrant, national, and international artists, developing partnerships and collaborations that enhance our efforts. As a member of New York City’s Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), we serve to restore, manage and program the historic 1862 landmark on behalf of the City of New York. FTH celebrates the history of Queens as the home of Jazz by presenting the finest in Jazz performance. We are committed to arts education and hands-on learning for the arts-curious, arts enthusiasts, and professional artists. We serve one of the most diverse communities in the world and strive to uphold the legacy of inclusiveness that has defined our community since the Flushing Remonstrance of 1657.

Flushing Town Hall is a proud member of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), a collective of 34 nonprofit museums, performing arts centers, historical societies, zoos, and botanical gardens across all five boroughs with a distinct private-public partnership with the City of New York and a commitment to serving all New Yorkers.

Land Acknowledgement:

Flushing Town Hall acknowledges that we are on the traditional land of the Matinecock People, one of the original tribes of New York and the first people of Flushing, Queens, who live and work on this land to this day. Flushing Town Hall honors their elders who have stewarded this land throughout generations.