Vanessa Gordon, a longtime Hamptons resident, has extended her philanthropic efforts throughout her local community by dedicating time and assisting in raising funds for a wide range of Long Island-based non-profit organizations from animal shelters and children’s community centers to the local community hospital and women’s shelter. Her dedication and persistent efforts took full form when she founded and initiated the planning of her annual summer event series, the Hamptons Interactive Brunch in March of 2018.
The concept for the Hamptons Interactive Brunch began with a conversation with Palm Beach-based event planners, Brian Kelly and Sean Koski of Ticket2Events. Before speaking with them, Vanessa had envisioned putting on an intimate networking luncheon for women who spend their summers in the Hamptons.
“I had this concept in my mind that I wanted to bring like-minded women together and curate some fun activations while sharing ideas and getting to know one another during an intimate summer afternoon,” explains Vanessa. “However, when I spoke with Sean, I remember him saying ‘you can do something so much more than that’! I had already attended several of the events that they produced in the Hamptons over those last few summers, so I was already well acquainted with their attention to detail and ability to curate and put on a spectacular event. So it came as no surprise that I decided to partner with them to execute the inaugural Hamptons Interactive Brunch in July of 2018.”
Vanessa knew she wanted to partner with a local nonprofit not only to help raise awareness but to help raise funds while also planning a fun outdoor event. The inaugural Hamptons Interactive Brunch, which took place at Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, partnered with The Retreat, a local women’s shelter in East Hampton. The Retreat is a safe haven for women and families in crisis and for those suffering from domestic abuse situations. Additional local non-profit partnerships include Bideawee and the Children’s Museum of the East End.
The Hamptons Interactive Brunch is currently in the decision-making process for selecting this year’s beneficiary. “For the first time this year, we want to curate a special intimate event that is solely dedicated to raising funds for our chosen beneficiary,” explains Vanessa. “The goal is to maximize fundraising efforts while allowing brunch guests the opportunity to learn more and become acquainted with the selected local non-profit organization.”
In addition to the Hamptons Interactive Brunch, Vanessa has continued to work closely with The Retreat, including helping to curate their annual holiday dinner and Christmas morning breakfast for the women and families at the shelter. To help create something extra special, she leveraged her relationships with several local chefs, restaurants, and caterers to create /a bountiful and gorgeous holiday spread. “It really means a lot that I am able to have this opportunity to give back,” explains Vanessa. “As my children are getting older, I also invite them into the planning process and allow them the opportunity to give back as well.”
Many of Vanessa’s close relationships with local businesses stem from her work as CEO and Publisher of East End Taste, a digital sustainable travel, food, and lifestyle publication based in the Hamptons. East End Taste was founded in 2016 and originally began as a personal blog to document her experiences in the Hamptons and on the North Fork of Long Island with her family, including coverage of various events, highlighting visits to local farms, and exploring the region's natural reserves. “I never expected East End Taste to segway into a business and a platform that generated a steady stream of income until a close friend of mine who worked as a marketing executive encouraged me to transition the blog into a publication. He explained that I had the platform to do so and the kind of skills I needed to work on to make it a success.”
As an owner of both East End Taste and the Hamptons Interactive Brunch, Vanessa leverages both businesses to highlight and promote local non-profits. East End Taste regularly sponsors and acts as a media partner for several notable events and causes, including Project Most’s annual Empty Bowls event, the annual Summer Fête and Ladies Night event to benefit the Children’s Museum of the East End, St. Jude’s Hope in the Hamptons gala, and Stony Brook Southampton’s annual summer gala.
“A particular goal for this coming high season or summer season in the Hamptons, is to become even more actively involved in fundraising events, galas, and non-profit initiatives,” says Vanessa. “For instance, I have already accepted the opportunity to be a committee member of two separate gala events and hope to sponsor and create a media partnership with additional events in order to support non-profits that are near and dear to me.”
I recently connected with another local animal shelter and an organization that supports emerging young artists. It is my hope that my philanthropic efforts will become even more impactful as both East End Taste and the Hamptons Interactive Brunch expand and gain an even greater presence within my local community and beyond.”