Irish American charitable Kelly Gang's annual event raised over $100,000 in support of Wholesome Wave, a national non-profit that addresses America’s dietary crisis.

The Kelly Gang hosted their 14th annual St. Patrick’s Day Benefit on Thursday, March 15.  The event raised over $100,000 in support of Wholesome Wave, a national non-profit that addresses America’s dietary crisis by making fruits and vegetables affordable for families living in poverty. The benefit drew over 200 guests to Michael’s Restaurant in Manhattan.

The Kelly Gang’s annual fundraiser is held each year around St. Patrick’s Day with the goal of advancing the group’s mission to “help those who need it most.” Attendees are predominantly leaders and influencers in the media and publishing industries.

The 2018 beneficiary, Wholesome Wave, was founded 10 years ago by four-time James Beard Award winning chef, Michel Nischan.  Wholesome Wave unlocks affordability by increasing the value of food stamps when spent on fruits and vegetables and works with doctors to write prescriptions for fruits and vegetables. They believe that when produce is made affordable, people will buy it. In 2017, Wholesome Wave’s programs ran in 49 states and impacted over 550,000 people living in poverty.

“Tonight, everyone is a Kelly,” said Ed Kelly, Co-Founder and President of The Kelly Gang. “I’m honored that the Kelly Gang has such amazing supporters, who continue to give every year to those who need it most.”

The evening included a live auction featuring four field level box seats to a New York Yankees games courtesy of YES Network; a sightseeing boat cruise for four with pre-cruise drinks at Toro Loco along with complimentary cheese, cracks and wine basket followed by dinner at Broadstone restaurant courtesy of Des O’Brien; two round-trip tickets to Ireland courtesy of The Points Guy;  two round-trip flights courtesy of JetBlue; lunch at Michael’s restaurant with Lilac Girls author Martha Hall Kelly; and two VIP tickets to Megyn Kelly Today with a meet & greet photo opportunity with Megyn Kelly, courtesy of NBC.  Guests were entertained by harpist Maria Banks and bagpiper John Graney.

“I’m incredibly thankful to be chosen as this year’s beneficiary,” said Michel Nischan, Founder and CEO of Wholesome Wave. “Funds from tonight’s event will be instrumental in expanding affordable access to healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables. A sincere thanks for the Kelly Gang for making all of this happen.”

The Kelly Gang began in the late 1990s as an impromptu group of media types with the surname Kelly who happened to land a few good jobs. Tragedy struck in 2003 when journalist Michael Kelly, one of the original members, became the first American journalist killed in the Iraq War. On St. Patrick’s Day 2004 – which would have been Michael’s 47th birthday – the Kelly Gang held a benefit to raise money for the Tom & Jack Kelly Education Fund, benefiting Michael’s sons. Since then, the St. Patrick’s Day Benefit has grown to include hundreds of participants, most of them actually not named Kelly.

To date the Kelly Gang has raised over $900,000 for groups including the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, the Alzheimer’s Association New York Chapter, The Bowery Mission, Breezy Point Disaster Relief Fund, The Kelly Cares Foundation, City Harvest, Concern Worldwide, The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, Tuesday’s Children, Catholic Relief Services in Haiti, The Doe Fund, The Hunter’s Hope Foundation, The Wounded Warrior Project, New Orleans Catholic Charities Crescent House, Operation Helping Hands, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the Annie Moore Memorial Project, and The Tom and Jack Kelly Education Fund.  All of the proceeds go directly to the beneficiaries.

Kelly Gang members in attendance included Ray Kelly, former NYPD Commissioner; Megyn Kelly, Host, NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today; Keith Kelly, New York Post’s “Media Ink” columnist; Greg Kelly, Former Good Day New York anchor; Ed Kelly, Co-Founder and President of The Kelly Gang; Kate Kelly Smith, SVP, Publishing Director of the Hearst Design Group; Colleen Kelly, CEO of Concern Worldwide U.S.; Erin Kelly, Account Executive at Fox News/Fox Business, Brian Kelly, Founder and CEO of The Points Guy and Mike Kelly, CEO, Kelly Newman Ventures. 

The evening’s sponsors included American Media Inc., Bloomberg Philanthropies, Bonnier Corporation, Condé Nast, DKC, Ed and Janet Kelly, Google, Kelly Newman Ventures, Meredith Corporation, NBC News, New York Post, Penske Media Corporation, Quantcast, Rubenstein, The Points Guy, Time Inc., Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Wholesome Wave Board of Directors and Zinio.