Brimming with Southern charm and grace, Gayle Benson has brought new meaning to the word ‘style’ when it comes to supporting causes that are near and dear to her heart.
A longtime businesswoman, the New Orleans-born Mrs. Benson began her career in the design business working for well-known New York-based costume jeweler Celebrity Jewelers.
Her passion for the ‘art of style’ drew her into a career as an interior designer that has spanned more than three decades.
From her first real estate purchase in 1978 in the Irish Channel to the public spaces on the upper levels of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in 2000, Mrs. Benson’s eye for design has transformed the interiors of many of New Orleans’ buildings.
Always a supporter of the area’s non-profit community, Mrs. Benson has in recent years selected causes that help lift the people of New Orleans and the city itself. Known for her commitment to her Catholic faith, much of her philanthropy has centered around faith-based institutions such as the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Catholic Charities and a host of churches and spiritual organizations.
She has been recognized for her volunteerism and support by many organizations over the years. In 2012, Mrs. Benson and her husband Tom received from Pope Benedict XVI the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award for outstanding service to the Church and the Pontiff, the highest Papal award granted to a lay person. She was recognized by the Girl Scouts of Louisiana East as a Woman of Distinction for her leadership and service to others. The Anti-Defamation League recognized Mr. and Mrs. Benson with the A. I. Botnick Torch of Liberty Award.
As a longtime supporter of healthcare, educational and cultural institutions in the city, Mrs. Benson, along with husband Tom, are finding ways in which to positively impact the lives of those in need. A quick look at her biography speaks volumes about her commitment to the city and people of New Orleans and the surrounding areas.
Now, Mrs. Benson has taken her commitment further: she has stepped forward as the 2015 Justice For All Ball Honorary Chair to support The Pro Bono Project in its efforts to help those who need access to the civil justice system within the six-parish area it serves.
At the kick-off luncheon in April, Mrs. Benson told the committee, “I am honored to serve as the 2015 Honorary Chair for The Pro Bono Project’s 27th Annual Justice For All Ball and know that the life-changing services that The Pro Bono Project provides to residents in need is inspiring and makes such a positive impact on our community. Those who choose to support this year’s Ball understand the importance of The Pro Bono Project’s work and the critical need to provide access to civil legal services to the many who need them in our community.”
This year’s Justice For All Ball Chair, Steven Lane, Managing Partner at Herman, Herman & Katz decided early on that his goal was to hit a high mark with the 2015 Ball. He wanted Mrs. Gayle Benson as Honorary Chair – nothing like setting your sights high.
“Mrs. Benson has shown herself to be an accommodating, caring and charitable individual. She has gone above and beyond to help those who are unable to help themselves. I felt that she would be the one person who could truly understand the mission and goals of The Pro Bono Project to provide civil legal services to the women, children, families, seniors and men in need within our community.
“People from all walks of life sometimes need legal help. There are far too many within our community who are unable to afford the services of a lawyer to help with such problems as representing minors, simple divorce, and collecting Social Security or Disability benefits or unpaid wages. They can’t solve these problems – but a lawyer can and The Pro Bono Project makes this happen,” explained Steve.
Steve has been looking for ways to bring his talents as a manager and skilled trial attorney to bear for The Project since joining the organization’s Board in 2013. The Justice For All Ball is just the kind of event that Steve could sink his teeth into and since day one he’s been “on go!” He’s excited about Mrs. Benson being a part of this year’s effort and along with the entire Board and Staff of The Project, is grateful that Mrs. Benson agreed to be a part of the legal community’s oldest fundraising event.
“Considering the number of obligations Mrs. Benson has, the many other worthwhile causes she supports and is asked to support each year, the fact that she chose to say ‘yes’ to The Project and take up its cause as Honorary Chair is a credit to all those who work so hard every year to fulfill the mission of The Project.
“They are unseen heroes, who do what they do on a daily basis to help metro area residents in need gain access to the civil justice system. Without the staff and volunteer attorneys, it would be difficult for The Project’s clients to receive fair and equitable results. Mrs. Benson’s recognition of the importance of the Project’s work, speaks volumes about her caring and compassion for those less fortunate and the many often hidden needs that exist in our community,” said Steve.
Mrs. Benson will preside over the 27th Annual Justice For All Ball on Friday, September 18, 2015 from 8:00 pm to midnight at the Saints Indoor Practice Facility, and at the private Patron Party, which precedes the Ball, in the Pelicans Practice Facility. We hope that you will join The Project for this fun event.
Single tickets are available for purchase now at: TICKETS
Download the multiple ticket packages and corporate sponsorships document at: JFAB 2015 SPONSORSHIP. Simply choose your package, download the pledge card at: JFAB 2015 PLEDGE and send with your check, payable to The Pro Bono Project, 615 Baronne Street, Suite 203, New Orleans, LA 70113.
For credit card purchases, and additional information on the packages and sponsorships, please email Executive Director Rachel Piercey or call 504.581.4043 x 202.