PHOTOS: 2018 Gala for post-Rikers reentry nonprofit “Getting Out and Staying Out” marks record fundraising year

At 2018 Gala, post-Rikers reentry nonprofit “Getting Out and Staying Out” marks record fundraising year; honors Brooklyn author Jim St. Germain, corporate philanthropists Matthew Galligan and Gabriel Hamani and employer partner The Horticulture Society of New York

CNN’s John Berman hosted the event at Chelsea Piers on 4/25ill join thousands around the country to honor the victims of the Parkland shooting and call on Congress to pass common-sense gun legislation


Harlem, New York City—Thursday, May 3, 2018—Last Wednesday evening at a gala hosted by CNN’s John Berman at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers, post-Rikers reentry nonprofit Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO) celebrated a record year of fundraising, the achievements of the young men they serve and a successful service expansion—which has included opening a new education center in Harlem and increasing program enrollment citywide. GOSO for the first time honored its hardworking volunteers, who come from many different industries and help GOSO clients with essential workforce skills.




GOSO serves more than 2,000 formerly incarcerated and justice system involved young men ages 16 to 24 annually and, since 2004, has worked to level the playing field and empowered thousands of young men to gain financial independence and succeed by providing access to education, employment and counselling services. Several young men were on hand to speak about the services GOSO has provided.

GOSO Board Chair and Goldman Sachs VP Reginald André gave a stirring speech about the struggles young men in poverty go through. He described GOSO as a path to a different life for many young men. Said Andre, “Success is the norm at GOSO.”

Honoree, author and activist Jim St. Germain, whose book A Stone of Hope: A Memoir told his own story of growing up in Crown Heights, and commended GOSO for the important work they do for at-risk youth.

The Horticultural Society of New York, represented by Sara Hobel, Executive Director, was honored for its close partnership with GOSOWorks as an employer of formerly incarcerated youth. The award was presented by Davon, a young man who was placed in a Horticultural Society internship after participating in GOSO’s job readiness program, subsequently working his way to a full-time job as Workforce Development Manager.

“GOSO is proud to have celebrated the successes of the hard-working men we serve, as well as another record-breaking year for our organization,” said Mark Goldsmith, President and CEO of Getting Out and Staying Out. “This year was the most successful and well-attended fundraiser for GOSO to date, which will allow us to serve more young men in our East Harlem office, our new education center and on Rikers Island and give them opportunities to level the playing field and thrive in their communities. We are so grateful for the generosity of our supporters and volunteers who give life to our critical programs and help young people get the robust job training, mental health treatment and educational foundation they need to prevent them from going back to prison.”

Law firm Debevoise & Plimpton was awarded the Corporate Partner of the Year award for their hard work volunteering to prepare GOSO clients for entrance into the work force, by participating in mock interviews and interview skills workshops. Debevoise has also provided pro bono legal representation to GOSO clients.

“It is an honor to be recognized by this life-changing organization,” said Debevoise partner Sean Hecker, who accepted the award on behalf of the firm. “We look forward to our continued partnership.”


About the Honorees:

Jim St. Germain – Author of the memoir, A Stone of Hope: A Memoir, and co-founder of P.L.O.T. (Preparing the Leaders of Tomorrow), Jim St. Germain works with juvenile justice-involved youth and their families in NYC. He is on the Board of the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) and was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Coordinator Council on Juvenile and Justice Delinquency Prevention (CCJJ). Previously, St. Germain was a youth care worker at a juvenile facility, where he was once a resident. Additionally, he was a youth advocate for people living with mental illness at the Mental Health Association, Inc. and a member of New York State’s Division of Criminal Justice Services Youth Advisory Council.

Matthew Galligan – President of Real Estate Finance for CIT Group, Matthew Galligan has consistently been named one of Commercial Observer’s “Power 50” in real estate finance. He sits on the Commercial Real Estate Board of Governors for the Mortgage Bankers Association. Previously Galligan erved as managing director and Head of U.S. Property Finance for Bank of Ireland, and he has been named to the Commercial Observer’s “Power 50” list of the most important figures in real estate finance. Galligan is committed to criminal justice reforms and serves on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity New York City.

Gabriel Hamani – CEO of BHI, the U.S. activity of Bank Hapoalim, Gabriel Hamani has over 25 years of experience across banking, finance and management. He is instrumental in establishing and growing the commercial banking platform for BHI. Gabriel began his career at Bank Hapoalim in Israel and held many positions throughout the U.S. organization before his current role as CEO. He currently serves on BHI’s Advisory Board, the Board of Hapoalim Securities and the Board of Directors of the American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Gabriel is a champion of giving back to the local community, and has been influential in promoting community service among his employees at BHI.

The Horticultural Society of New York (Employer Partner of the Year): Founded in 1900, the goal of the Horticultural Society is to develop a holistic understanding that plants are inexorably linked to the health of people, wildlife and our environment—from helping New Yorkers grow gardens to supporting urban farming, rooftop gardening, container vegetable production, bioremediation, storm water abatement, landscape design, vocational training, horticultural therapy and environmental literacy.

Debevoise & Plimpton (Corporate Partner of the Year): Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a premier law firm with market-leading practices, a global perspective and strong New York roots.

Volunteers of the Year: Sam Fremont-Smith, Kwame Fynn, Robert Harwood-Matthews, Julia Milch, Cindee Rifkin and Ari Shapell.


Captions for photos are as follows (Photo credit appears after each caption):

1. 2018 Social Justice Honoree Jim St. Germain addresses Chelsea Piers crowd during 2018 gala ceremony. (Photo credit: Studio Brooke)

2. Jim St. Germain, author and 2018 Social Justice Honoree, shakes hands with GOSO President and CEO Mark Goldsmith. (Photo credit: Steven Barall)

3. GOSO President and CEO Mark Goldsmith with Matthew Galligan, 2018 gala honoree. (Photo credit: Studio Brooke)

4. Gabriel Hamani, BHI CEO and 2018 gala honoree, is introduced by GOSO President and CEO Mark Goldsmith as gala honoree. (Photo credit: Studio Brooke)

5. Sara Hobel, Executive Director of The Horticultural Society of New York — 2018’s Employer Partner of he Year — addresses the GOSO gala crowd. Hobel was introduced by Davon (right), who was placed in a Horticultural Society internship after participating in GOSO’s job readiness program, subsequently working his way to a full-time job as Workforce Development Manager. (Photo credit: Steven Barall)

6. Dos Toros Taqueria (2017’s Employer of the Year) co-founders Oliver and Leo Kremer (at left) and team shows their support at GOSO’s 2018 gala. (Photo credit: Steven Barall)

7. GOSO Board Chairman Reginald André welcomes guests to 2018 GOSO gala at Chelsea Piers. (Photo credit: Steven Barall)

8. GOSO client Martin shares about his personal journey and the support he received from GOSO in reshaping his future, the theme of the 2018 gala. (Photo credit: Steven Barall)

9. GOSO client Davon addresses the hundreds-strong audience at Chelsea Piers during the 2018 gala ceremony. (Photo credit: Steven Barall)

10. Sara Hobel (Executive Director, The Horticultural Society of New York) accepts the award for 2018’s Employer Partner of The Year from Horicultural Society employee (and former GOSO jobs readiness program participant) Davon. (Photo credit: Studio Brooke)

11. Debevoise & Plimpton partner Sean Hecker (left) poses for pictures with GOSO Board Chair Reginald André. Debevoise & Plimpton were named 2018’s Corporate Partner of the Year. (Photo credit: Studio Brooke)

12. GOSO Board Chairman Reginald André (back) celebrates at the 2018 gala with GOSO clients. (Photo credit: Studio Brooke)

13. GOSO clients arrive at the 2018 gala hosted at Chelsea Piers’ Pier Sixty. (Photo credit: Studio Brooke)


About GOSO:
GOSO was founded in 2004 by cosmetics executive Mark Goldsmith, who had visited Rikers Island through the “Principal for the Day” program and connected strongly with the young men he met there. He believed that they already had many of the tools they needed to be successful but needed opportunities for education, employment, counseling and practical support to achieve stability upon reentry. He began to mentor these young men at Rikers and then upon their release. Meetings were held at a local coffee shop until Goldsmith secured funding to open the nonprofit’s community-based East Harlem location and develop the strong network of partnerships with NYC agencies, community organizations and local businesses that exists today.

With a staff of licensed social workers, GOSO has established a reentry model that promotes education and vocational training, provides job readiness training and employment assistance, and offers supportive counseling and social services from the day of a participant’s incarceration until he is fully integrated back into the community outside of prison.

Today, GOSO is proud to serve over 2,000 young men, both inside Rikers and beyond, by connecting them with educational and job training opportunities imperative to their success. GOSO added a Cure Violence program (SAVE – Stand Against Violence East Harlem) in 2016.

Through its GOSO Works program, GOSO has developed partnerships with employers throughout the city and provided young men with paid internships and jobs. Fewer than 15% of GOSO participants return to jail, compared to a national average of 67% for this age group.

In 2017, GOSO opened a new education center on 5th Avenue in Harlem. Its flagship location is located on 116th Street in East Harlem.


Maya Kremen, Geto & de Milly, Inc.
(212) 686-4551 /