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February 16, 2007

GOAL Charity Sets Fundraiser

By Michael Scotti

For a good time, call 888-599-2682. Your reservations will be taken for a charity event that will benefit an after-school education program for New York City inner-city school children.

GOAL (Giving Open Access to Learning) will host its fourth annual cocktail party and charity auction on Thursday, March 1, at the Milk Gallery (15 West 15th Street at Fifth Avenue). The event-"Red Hot Brazil"-will have a festive Brazilian flavor from the music to the decor, according to Jeff Kaplan, head trader at Deerfield Partners, who is heading the event with Lisa Kelly, formerly of SG Cowen.

GOAL improves the skills of students who are behind in math and reading, says Kaplan, who founded the non-profit. Currently, 65 students from the third to the seventh grade are enrolled in the program at PS 171 in East Harlem. Kaplan says students have made strides in their scholastic performance. He credits that to specialized tutoring. "We're teaching critical-thinking skills, how to be resourceful and how to learn," Kaplan says. "By the end of this year, we'll be in a second school."

Expanding requires money to hire more teachers, the charity's primary expense. GOAL's fund-raising success has been a function of Wall Street support. All 20 corporate sponsors are Wall Street firms, while the 86-member benefit committee for "Red Hot Brazil" is almost entirely composed of Wall Streeters. "It's been a pretty good collaboration," Kaplan adds.

Kaplan is excited about the event and what's on tap next for GOAL. "We're getting young, energetic teachers, who want to put forth a really dynamic teaching module," he says. "We'd love to be able to hire [them]."

You can also register for "Red Hot Brazil" online at www.benefitoffice. org/goal. The non-profit's Web site is www.goal4kids.org.