"A night in Monte-Carlo" benefitting disabled children in North Carolina (January, 2010)

At the invitation of Mrs. Pat Farmer, Founder and President of the Allegro Foundation, “a Champion for Children with Disabilities,” the Ambassador of Monaco to the United States, Mrs. Gilles Noghès and Mr. Lorenzo Ravano, Counselor at the Embassy, visited Charlotte, North Carolina January 21 to 24, 2010. The Principality was honored at an evening gala organized by this association on January 23, an association which takes care of close to 500 physically and mentally disabled children.

With the theme, “A night in Monte-Carlo”, this evening of charity gathered close to 300 participants at the house of the major sponsor, Mr. Felix Sabates, an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and sports enthusiast. This “self made” Cuban-American man built an empire in luxury yachting (with a branch in Monaco that was present at the Monaco Yacht Show) and in the sale of prestigious cars. The numerous personalities that were present, belonging to the political and financial world, as well as the automotive industry, saluted the commitment of the Princely Family and the Principality in the domain of humanitarian work and thanked the Embassy for its support of this association, which was already invited several times to the White House. Those present included a member of the North Carolina Chamber of Representatives, Mrs. Sue Myrick, the Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina, Mr. André Bauer, the Secretary of North Carolina Department of Revenue, and Mr. Kenneth R. Lay, who read a letter from the Governor, as well as driver Juan Pablo Montoya who won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2003.

Mr. Felix Sabates (to the right) and his driver Juan Pablo Montoya (in the center) welcomed the Monegasque Delegation

Sponsored by Mr. Sabates, Wells Fargo bank, Mr. Alvaro di Molina, former Chief Financial Officer of the Bank of America, as well as Mr. Christopher Smith, CEO of a private real estate investment company (who hosted a reception the day before in his mansion for one hundred people), this annual event was held under the patronage of the Ambassador of Monaco to the United States and was decorated in the colors of the Principality. Sales from auctions accounted for the profit of the Allegro Foundation. The main attraction was a prize of two nights for two people at the Hôtel de Paris as well as two “three Marine treatments Discovery” at The Thermes Marins of Monte-Carlo (a top spa), from the “Société des Bains de Mers” and roundtrip transfers from the airport of Nice at Monaco for two people by helicopter from the Tourist and Convention Authority, which was auctioned off at $55,000.

The day before the gala, the Monegasque Delegation was able to visit Beverly Woods Elementary School, a school with various programs supporting the integration of disabled children, as well as the Children’s Hospital of Charlotte where the Allegro Foundation organizes weekly courses to advance the most disabled children.

Furthermore, the Ambassador hosted a lunch for twenty personalities, among which were notably the Chief of Protocol of Charlotte and of North Carolina, Mrs. Catherine Hansen, and the major sponsors.

This official visit has garnered further awareness towards the Allegro Foundation and its mission through coverage in various newspapers and news stations, such as The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte Living, Ballantyne Magazine, and Fox News.