UNICEF USA annual Snowflake Ball replaced with virtual Changemaker event


NEW YORK — The coronavirus pandemic has meant so many businesses have had to adapt or change the way they get things done in 2020.

It’s also responsible for big change this year for non-profit UNICEF USA, who is a PIX11 partner.

The organization’s famed Snowflake Ball is being replaced with a virtual event set for Dec. 1.

The annual gala is a premier event for UNICEF here in New York City, bringing out big stars every year and raising millions for the organization. Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas was honored at last year’s gala.

But this year, public health concerns, restrictions and even some lockdowns have put events like this one in 2020 on hold.

“We’ve done some wonderful virtual field visits, where we’ve taken people to places like Brazil and South Sudan and elsewhere to see the work in this virtual environment,” explained Michael Nyenhuis, the President and CEO of UNICEF USA.

Nyenhuis told PIX11’s Tamsen Fadal that the organization is changing gears this year, pivoting to “Changemakers” virtual event coinciding with “Giving Tuesday.”

“We need to raise funds, and the big fundraising events, the in-person events, were a big part of that fundraising,” said Nyenhuis, “not only to raise money for at that moment, but to introduce UNICEF to new people — so we’re recreating that in the virtual space.”

It’s also an opportunity for them to try things differently and reach new audiences, like it has been for many other companies and non-profits.

“We want to raise money we want to bring in new audiences to see what’s happening,” he explained, “and we want to just help people remember at this moment, when we’re all dealing with this here, that the needs around the world remain the same,” the CEO said.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is a humanity organization that provides education, healthcare, food, clean water and more to kids in 200 countries and territories around the globe.

PIX11 partnered with UNICEF USA earlier this year on a trip to the East African nation of Tanzania to get a first-hand look at the important work being done by UNICEF.

“This is kind of a “both and” moment. And what I mean by that is, we do need to respond to the COVID pandemic, we need to make sure we bring it to an end…we’ll play a critical role in this, but it’s not just about COVID. The work you saw in Tanzania has to go on,” Nyenhuis explained. “We have to continue to do the health, and education, and child protection, and nutrition programs we do, so it really is a “both and” moment, COVID and all the regular work as well.”

The UNICEF virtual Changemakers event is scheduled for Dec. 1st at 8 p.m. You can get tickets online by clicking here.

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