Bita is a mother who, along with her husband, Paolo, acknowledges the many opportunities and privileges her family enjoys, but believes whole-heartedly in her responsibility to support those who need help, particularly children.
A chance encounter encouraged her to plan her first UNICEF fundraiser in Montreal. Inspiration came from the story of Emmanuel
Anassis, founder and chairman of DAC Aviation International. Twenty-five years ago, as a brush pilot with one plane, he signed a contract with a UNICEF-run consortium in Sudan to deliver medical supplies. Since then, his company has grown to include a fleet of more than 30 aircraft.
After meeting Anassis, Bita began planning a gala to commemorate Universal Children’s Day in 2015. It was a remarkable evening of emotional and inspiring presentations by notable guests, including David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada.
Music was a big part of the event, which ended with a private concert by some of Montreal’s finest musicians: concertmaster, Andrew Wan, principal cellist, Brian Manker, principal trumpet, Paul Merkelo of the MSO, and Prix Goyer recipient, Philip Chiu.
A live auction of teddy bears proved an original way to allow people to show their generosity, raising $60,000 for the children of Syria. The amount was matched by the Canadian government, bringing the total donation to $120,000.
Following this first success, Friends of Unicef has joined with Montblanc, which will serve as primary sponsor of the 2017 edition of the gala, being held April 18 at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal. The event will celebrate the 70th anniversary of UNICEF, and be attended by Sylvain Costof, president and CEO of Montblanc North America.
Bita Cattelan, board member of UNICEF Canada, and chair of the Friends of Unicef committee in Montreal, has made it her personal mission to raise awareness and funds for the organization in Montreal. You are all invited to attend the gala and reconnect with your inner child!