GQ’s Bobby Graham on the Upcoming “School’s Out” Fundraiser

by Eddie Roche

The annual School’s Out event in East Hampton is set for June 11 this year with a major honorary host expected. GQ’s Bobby Graham (you know who he is) is co-chairing and fills us in on what to expect.

What’s School’s Out?
It’s Hetrick-Martin Institute’s [HMI] annual Hamptons season kick-off party to celebrate the achievements of HMI’s youth and programs and to raise funds for the organization’s ongoing work throughout the summer months. School may not be in session, but the youth HMI serve still deserve the best opportunities we can provide to help them succeed. It takes place every year on the second Saturday of June.

What’s the goal of the organization?
HMI believes all youth deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to thrive and reach their fullest potential. Sadly, many LGBTQ youth, in NYC and beyond, are not given access to the opportunities and resources one needs to succeed. Many of the youth we work with are homeless, having been rejected by their families when they came out. We create a community for them that provides the safety and support needed to develop into a contributing member of society. We hope to build systemic frameworks that can do the same for youth all over the world.

Where is it?
For the second year in a row, it will held at the East Hampton home of luxury interior design magazine GALERIE editor Lisa Cohen and husband James Cohen, CEO of Hudson Media. Through Elizabeth Blitzer, William Li, and myself, Lisa and James learned of the work HMI does to create a safe space for the at-risk youth of New York City as well as its programs and initiatives that work to create systemic change on the regional, national, and even global level. Seeing the impact our programs have in changing the lives of at-risk youth, they felt inspired to get involved in a big way. Lisa has also just recently joined the board of HMI.

What’s lined up for the event this year?
The evening draws approximately 450 influencers from the worlds of fashion, finance, interior design, entertainment, and more. Everyone is excited to be back out East after the long winter. School’s Out 2016 is co-chaired by myself, Ward Williams, creative director of MotherNY, and interior designer Malcolm James Kutner. This year we are also excited announce that [activist] Edie Windsor will be joining us as an honorary host! To highlight and support the life-saving work of HMI, we will feature a silent auction of one-of-a-kind life preservers designed by an amazing roster of artists including: Ralph Lauren Home, Matt Albiani, Laura Kaufman, Ashley Longshore, Donald Robertson, Gregory Siff, Jonathan Adler, Mickalene Thomas, Kelly Irvine, and Serena Dugan. So there will be lots of bidding wars going on!

What does one wear?
Summer chic, of course…It’s a lively, outdoor cocktail party.  Think colorful, fashionable, classic, elegant, and fun. The home is on Georgica Beach so the backdrop does not get much better than that!

What were you like in school? 
I was definitely someone that mixed well with all the crowds. A lot preppy but with a little edge.  My high school was very much like The Breakfast Club. I would have definitely been a cross between Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, and Judd Nelson. 

Get ticket info HERE.

A few pics from last year’s event (




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