February 2, 2023
Gift for Life names 2023 Bert Tonkin Gift of Giving Award recipient

AIDS Walk co-captains Su Hilty (left) and Caroline Kennedy at the 2018 event.
AIDS Walk co-captains Su Hilty (left) and Caroline Kennedy at the 2018 event.

Industry veteran Su Hilty will be honored with Gift for Life‘s 2023 Bert Tonkin Gift of Giving Award on Feb. 6 at 10 a.m. online via Zoom and in person during NY NOW at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The Gift of Giving Award, which is named for the late Bert Tonkin, industry benefactor and president of Western Exhibitors, recognizes philanthropic industry endeavors and sustained selfless efforts.

In connection with the presentation of the award, Gift for Life also will host a fundraising campaign for AIDS Walk New York, an event which Hilty has supported for more than a decade as a both a participant and co-captain of the Gift for Life team. Currently, Hilty is battling PSP (progressive supranuclear) palsy, a degenerative disease, and has moved into long-term assisted care in Sarasota, Florida, to be near family members. Donations in Hilty’s honor will be accepted starting in early March.

“Su has been instrumental in growing both participation and fundraising for AIDS Walk New York,” said Cole Daugherty, chair of Gift for Life. “We are delighted to recognize Su not only for her passionate contribution to AIDS Walk New York, but also for the significant impact she has made on our industry.”

Hilty’s other philanthropic industry endeavors include serving as a longtime member of the Gift for Life board — including one term as chair — participating actively in the NY Chapter of IFDA (International Furnishings & Design Association) and working with her University of Wisconsin Alumni Association. Despite her ‘”retirement” in 2011, she has been a constant and actively engaged member of the industry. Her professional experience includes long stints in sales and marketing at Bloomindales, Gucci America, Liz Claiborne, as well as 225 Fifth Avenue and 7W, where she played an active role in the New York Market Coalition, promoting gift, tabletop and home textiles markets in New York City.

Hilty is stepping down as AIDS Walk NY co-captain and will serve as captain emeritus for the Gift For Life/NY NOW team. For the 2023 event, co-captain Caroline Kennedy will partner with industry veteran Kelly Bristol to lead the team’s organization, inspiration and fundraising. Information and registration for AIDS Walk New York 2023 will be available in mid to late March.

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