by Michael dEstries
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Photo: Zak Hussein/INFevents.com

Showing just how powerful (and ridiculously wealthy) a gala filled with bankers and money managers can be, last night’s 10th annual charity dinner for Absolute Return for Kids (ARK) raised an astounding $28.1M. That’s $5M more than the organization raised last year, showing that for the mega-rich at least, the worldwide recession appears to be nearing an end.

While we groan about that last bit, at least children in desperate need are benefiting from ARKs fundraising smarts. The charity helps deliver programs in the areas of health, education and child protection to kids all over the world.

“Together we have achieved amazing things,” ARK’s chairman Ian Wace, told the crowd. “We’ve transformed the lives of thousands of children, most of whom you never see, you never meet and you will never know their stories.”

Along with all the money moguls, celebrity attendees included guests of honor Prince William and Kate Middleton (aka, the Duke and Duchess Of Cambridge), Kevin Spacey, and Elizabeth Hurley. Rock group Kings of Leon also performed a set – and auctioned off a really cool opportunity for a child to help write a song with the lead singer Followill. That went for $146,000.

Prince William announced a new venture at the event between ARK and the Princes’ Foundation to support young people in the UK and Africa.

“I know that I am very fortunate,” he said. “I have had a good education, a secure home and a loving and supportive family. So many young people, however, do not have these advantages and, as a result, can lack the confidence and knowledge to realise their full potential.”

“That is why I am so pleased that the Foundation and ARK are working together on this project to help young people who really need it. Programmes from this partnership will raise aspirations, broaden horizons and encourage young people to achieve what may have seemed to them unachievable. ”

Tickets to the event, which had a headcount near 1000, were each an astounding $16,000. Since its creation 10 years ago, the gala has raised almost $250M for ARK. Learn more by jumping here.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • Kyle

    How is this green?