The Starlight Children’s Foundation
Founded in 1982, it provides clothing, games, and deliveries directly to hospitalised children through a network of more than 700 children’s hospitals and medical centres in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia.
Emily has been the co-chair on its board for the past eight years, which seems unlikely – the foundation’s headquarters are in Los Angeles, it doesn’t have co-chairs, and its board is made up people with high profiles in medicine, finance, and media. I think we are meant to assume this is a (fictional) local fundraising branch for Hartford.
The Black and White Ball is their main fundraising event. This is a masquerade ball in which everyone is dressed in either black or white. They are intended to be extremely glamorous and exclusive events, with high ticket prices.
Hartford Zoological Silent Auction
A fictional organisation of which Emily is a board member. Hartford doesn’t actually have a zoo. The nearest Zoological Society is in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to support Beardsley’s Zoo.
A silent auction is one where bidders write their bids down on a sheet of paper, with the highest bid winning. They are common at charity events.
The Mark Twain House Restoration Fund
The Mark Twain House is a museum in Hartford, once the home of the author of Huckleberry Finn. Restoration began on the house in 1963, and its fundraising arm is the Friends of the Mark Twain House and Museum. They’ve been fundraising since 1954. This must be the organisation that has Emily as a board member, and is holding the charity luncheon Emily has been forced to turn down.
Harriet Beecher Stowe Literacy Auction
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was an American author and abolitionist, best known for her 1852 anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The Harriet Beecher Stowe House & Center is in Hartford, next door to the Mark Twain House and Museum. Emily seems to be on the board of both these museums.
Emily’s strong community involvement, which is the major part of her social life, is very much like Lorelai’s enthusiastic support of every festival and celebration in Stars Hollow, right down to a cat’s wake. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree in this case.