Party Benefits

These entertaining, star-studded charity events will give you a good reason to party while doing good.
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Who doesn't like to party and hear live music, enjoy a cocktail or gamble?

But wouldn't it be great if you could do all these for a worthy cause?

People may be attracted to benefit events for the celebrities, the networking opportunities or even the food, but the good that comes out of them is immeasurable, regardless of motivation.

And no matter what your taste in parties -- cozy concerts, glamorous sporting events or lavish dinners -- there's a benefit for you. Read on for a few standout ones coming up in New York City.

Let the Music Play

Fans of rock band

Maroon 5 should check them out playing a rare live acoustic set at

Sotheby's in New York City on March 30.

The event will raise money for

Musicians On Call, an organization founded in 1999 that brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in health care facilities.

Musicians On Call has several programs, most notably bedside performances in which the artists perform for sick patients in hospitals (such as New York's Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Kravis Children's Hospital at Mount Sinai and the Lutheran Medical Center).

The organization also provides patients with recordings through its "CD Pharmacy." And "Project Playback" gives patients the opportunity to record their own music.

Individual tickets (available online) are $150 for standing room, $250 for seating, $500 for stageside reserved seating and $1,500 for reserved seating and a "meet and greet" with the artists.

Sponsors include Grey Goose,

People

magazine and local radio station 106.7 FM.

And why host the event at Sotheby's? "They have been incredibly generous to us and it made sense because part of the event is a live auction," says Leslie Faerstein, executive director of Musicians On Call. Faerstein has been with the organizations since July 2000, after seeking a career change from her mental-health field specialty.

Any music fan in attendance will be getting much more than just the concert. The accompanying auction items include autographed guitars by Bon Jovi and Paul Simon, and two tickets to meet and see Barry Manilow at a concert in Las Vegas.

In an

online auction, people can even bid for a "Weekend in New York," which includes a night at a hotel, dinner, a cruise around New York, two front-row tickets to the show and a chance to meet the members of Maroon 5.

Although it sounds like quite an undertaking, "We planned the event in only two months -- that's what happens every year. We wait to know when the musicians have an opening in their schedule," says Faerstein.

Virtuous Vice

Do your tastes run more toward Vegas-style entertainment? Then check out the

Box NYC: Round 3. This flashy, three-year-old event will be held on April 26 at Manhattan's

Hammerstein Ballroom, which will be transformed into a dazzling replica of Sin City.

Guests will have the opportunity to watch boxing, as well as drink and gamble the night away.

"My friends on Wall Street are always searching for new ways to entertain their clients, and when I was at a fight, it hit me. I came up with the idea of taking boxing and making it high-end and exclusive so that these big guys on the Street can feel comfortable entertaining their clients," says Jed Weinstein, 30, founder of the event and owner of

Jed Weinstein Presents.

Just like the real Vegas, this event will cost you. Tables start at $2,000 for eight -- which includes a four-course gourmet dinner, top-shelf open bar and cigar bar -- and run up to $8,000 for a 10-guest platinum table with ringside seats. For any scragglers, upper-level seats can be purchased for $50.

However, this money goes to a good cause. A portion of the proceeds goes to

The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which uses sports as way to effect change, such as giving inner-city children an opportunity to play sports five days a week to build skills of discipline and teamwork. In addition, Box NYC is presenting the organization with a check for $25,000.

There's some guaranteed celebrity presence as well: Past guest have included music industry executive Damon Dash and "The Gastineau Girls" -- Lisa and Brittny Gastineau. This year, actor Billy Crudup and legendary tennis player John McEnroe have already RSVPed.

What else draws people to Box NYC? "It's a great networking event. We have people from

age 25 all the way up to 55 coming

to the event," says Weinstein.

Tickets are selling quickly. "The first year we sold 58 tables, last year, we maxed out 64 and this year we increased the

number of tables to 85," Weinstein adds.

If you're not in New York, stay tuned: Weinstein hopes to bring the successful formula to San Francisco, Boston and Chicago next.

Smile Time

Events for

Operation Smile contribute to "giving children the opportunity to be integrated and live a normal life," says Dee Dee Sides, Northeast regional development director of the nonprofit organization.

Operation Smile's volunteer doctors perform life-altering reconstructive surgery on children afflicted with facial deformities such as cleft palate and cleft lip, and have changed the lives of more than 100,000 children around the world.

In May, the organization is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a black-tie event at a new premier event space in downtown Manhattan. The committee members include big names -- presidential niece Lauren Bush, Lauren Davis, Matt Dillon and Lydia Hearst, among others. The master of ceremonies is Billy Bush, host of "Access Hollywood."

The event is $10,000 for a table, $1000 for an individual ticket and $250 for just the cocktail hour. Previous years' festivities have attracted celebrities like Jessica Simpson, Mariah Carey and Donald and Melania Trump. Big-name sponsors are also drawn to the organization, such as

UBS

(UBS) - Get Report

,

Wachovia

(WB) - Get Report

,

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

and Sephora.

For those on the West Coast, check the Web site for details on another star-studded fund-raising dinner in October.

Think about it: these events will not only help others out, but will also give you an opportunity to rub elbows with your favorite celebrity or listen to an intimate acoustic show by a Grammy-award winning band. Consider it money well spent.

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