Wall Street Bids to Battle Cancer

Wall Street is calling on traders to commit a little capital to help children in their fight against cancer.

Members of the buyside, sellside, vendor and exchange communities are invited this Thursday to participate in the 20th annual Taste of New York. The event will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in Memphis, Tenn.

Taste will feature cuisine from 17 New York restaurants, cocktail bars, live and silent auctions and live jazz music.

For Michael Lynch, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s head of Americas equity execution services, it will be an important night. Thursday will mark his seventh year as one of the co-chairs on the Taste of New York committee, which is comprised of more than 60 members who hail from brokerages and institutions.

"It’s a great opportunity for Wall Street people," he said. "The hospital is spectacular in what they provide. But there’s obviously a cost that goes with that. We’re hoping we can raise a very significant amount of money."

The various auction prizes will include a Ford Mustang, a visit for four to the set of NBC’s hit comedy, "The Office," the chance to watch a New York Rangers game from a luxury suite with hockey legend Mark Messier and a private plane to a villa in the Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club. Also up for grabs will be a vacation at a private home in Umbria, Italy, and a dinner at Rao’s, the fabled Italian restaurant and New York institution.

Among those restaurants on hand for the evening include Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, Capital Grille, Harry’s, Naya and Vermont Butter & Cheese Co.

Even though 2008 was an incredibly difficult year for Wall Street, last year’s Taste raised $1.7 million. And more than 600 guests attended the event. Since Taste’s inception 20 years ago, the Wall Street community has raised more than $28 million for St. Jude. And this year should be even better, Lynch said.

"With a larger committee working on it this year and more people getting involved," he said, "I’m optimistic that we could have a record year."

Lynch said he hopes Taste donations to St. Jude will surpass the $2 million mark.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened in 1962. Its mission has been to find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.

At St. Jude, families don’t pay for treatment that isn’t covered by insurance. And no child is denied treatment because of a family’s inability to pay. St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world.

Taste of New York will take place from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., on Thursday, Nov. 12, at Pier Sixty at the Chelsea Piers, in New York City. Those who want to learn more or attend the event can call St. Jude’s Caroline Gould at 212-239-3239, or visit the Web site at www.stjude.org/tasteofnewyork.