April showers bring May flowers. What do the May flowers bring? According to the New York Society for Ethical Culture, they bring truth, justice and the American way. The rain didn’t stop those who gathered at the Central Park West location for the presentation of the Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross Public Service Awards to former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

The setting, intimate yet prestigious, was most fitting for the event that brought out U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), who received the 2016 Rising Star Public Service Award; Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, who made tribute remarks; President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Sherrilyn Ifill; New York City Law Department Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter; and author, commentator and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson. Also gracing the stage to give a special tribute was Congressman Charles B. Rangel, who attended the event, accompanied by his wife, Alma. Whether it was tracing their roots back to Barbados, growing up in Queens or passing through the halls of the justice department, each speaker praised and shared highlights of their relationship with Holder.

After humbly accepting his award, Holder sat down on stage for a brief one-on-one conversation with Harry Smith, correspondent for “NBC Nightly News,” “Today” and “ NBC Dateline.” Holder shared that what has inspired him most throughout his career, when adversity sets in and challenges seem insurmountable, is remembering how hard the struggle has been for those who have come before us. From Holocaust survivors to Black men and women in chains, just the mere thought is fuel for Holder to persevere stronger and smarter than before.

According to its description, the NYSEC Public Service Award honors public servants who exemplify good governance while making a transformational impact on changing communities and the nation. The award is named for and acknowledges the lifetime achievements of Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross, a psychiatrist and pediatrician, who is currently serving as a commissioner for the New York State Commission of Corrections and chair of its Medical Review Board. She has long been a dedicated and outstanding public servant, particularly in the area of incarceration and community mental health. Holder is the 82nd honoree to receive this prestigious award.

The NYSEC was founded in 1876 by Dr. Felix Adler, and has since played a major role in the formation of many public service organizations, including the Visiting Nurse Association, the Legal Aid Society, the NAACP, the Urban Leagues, the American Civil Liberties Union.

The event was tastefully coordinated without a hitch by Linda Zango-Haley, who not only added a nice ambiance to the evening but also hosted, along with others on the host committee. Music was provided by the acclaimed Danny Mixon Jazz Trio. Catering was by Madiba Restaurant. Also in attendance were Joyce and David Dinkins, and Susan Tatum, whose daughter Elinor served as award collaborative.

Nor did the rain deter the ladies who lunch who attended the 34th Annual Frederick Law Olmsted “Hat” Luncheon, held each year in the Conservatory Garden, 105th Street and Fifth Avenue. For most, it is the only time they venture this far north into the park, but the much anticipated event is for a worthy cause, so they brave it. In fact, this year set a record attendance for patrons and hats, which are de rigueur, with more than 1300 guests. Funds from the event, which totaled approximately $3.9 million, are used to maintain our beautiful Central Park from end to end, east to west. The Central Park Conservancy was founded by four women during the 1980s, who made it their mission to clean up and preserve the park. This year’s honorees were Fred and Stephanie Shuman, who gifted the Conservancy with $5 million to be used for maintaining/upgrading the track around the reservoir. Yes, it was a rainy, dank day and rather chilly, but when did that ever stop anyone from having a good time?

The New York-Presbyterian Hospital held its annual gala benefit, raising approximately $4.7 million to support their premier spine services department. Although the gala, hosted by Dr. Steven J. Corwin, president and CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, was the usual cocktails, dinner and awards, musical entertainment was provided by The Doobie Brothers. The Doobie Brothers! Where did they come from?

Perhaps the best event of them all was the 50th Anniversary Gala Celebration of the Storefront Academy Harlem. The tuition-free private school payed tribute to several notable individuals, including founder of Atlantic Records Ahmet Ertegun, philanthropist and designer Mica Ertegun, educator and author Elsie V. Aidinoff, co-founder of Sesame Workshop and Sesame Street Joan Ganz Cooney and New York Times best-selling author Holly Peterson. Ford Foundation President Darren Walker served as the gala’s honorary chair.

The evening was emceed by Fox 5 New York meteorologists Mike Woods and Audrey Puente and featured performances by Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Karrin Allyson and Grammy-nominated jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis, with composer and Peabody Award-winning radio host Bill McGlaughlin. What good is a charity event without a luxury live auction by Robbie Gordy of Christie’s? SAH was founded in 1966 by poet Ned O’Gorman as a safe space for neighborhood children to learn as they play and grow into inquisitive adults and productive members of society. Today they have expanded and last fall opened Storefront Academy South Bronx, in the Mott Haven section.

Also celebrating their 50th anniversary at the Big Night Out was the Manhattan Country School. The evening was made extra special because it was the last celebration of MCS at their current East Side location. Beginning next fall, MCS will relocate to the West Side. So it is adios and bien venido all in one twist of the salsa, music of which was provide by the Red Rooster’s house Latin band.

Until next week … kisses.