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How Passionate Animals Lovers Show their Love by Peggy Healy

You know Clara Kasavina and her husband and design partner Misha Berger for their luxurious, red-carpet evening bags and collectible designer jewelry, but did you know they are passionate animal lovers?  Each year they donate one of their priceless Swarovski-crystal embedded minaudieres to a fund-raising event in New York.

Mind you, this isn’t your garden variety fund-raiser.  Oh no, this event is in a class by itself.  And it’s not just one event -- it’s actually a series of dinner parties given over the course of a week by Clara’s and Misha’s friends, philanthropists Allen and Heidi Roberts at their beautiful Park Avenue home.

The funds raised go to a most worthwhile animal rescue center in South Africa, Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center (HESC).  Guest of honor at the dinner parties is founder Lente Roode, an Afrikaner who was raised with a baby cheetah.

Lente owns one of the great luxury safari camps in South Africa, Camp Jabulani, known as “the elephant experience.”  She started HESC originally to rescue injured cheetahs, but today the Centre is renowned for its work in saving and returning to the wild not just king cheetahs, but rare black-footed cats, wild dogs, and other injured and abandoned creatures.

But back to the fund-raiser.

For five nights running, Heidi and Allen Roberts entertain friends and followers eager to support HESC.  Tables are set with the most sumptuous flatware, fine china and sparkling crystal and highlighted with wonderful figurines of cheetahs and other animals.  Course after course appears over lively conservation and remarks by Lente on developments at Hoedspruit. Meanwhile, guests bid on silent auction items.  This year’s winner of the exquisitely-design Clara Kasavina “Samira” minaudiere was an editor of Town & Country Magazine.

Clara confided that, “Darling, I’m extraordinarily pleased that such a chic editor won my bag.  With it goes my warmest wishes.”