"We started this together 12 years ago," Lee Simmons said. "I hosted it every year forever and then I had to turn over the duties, and now we are back as a family and we are so excited. It is a great night."
The couple's two daughters attended the event, as well as Lee Simmons' partner, actor Djimon Hounsou, and their son. The Simmonses divorced in 2009.
The evening wasn't just family affair. Singer Mary J Blige, actor Ed Norton and fashion icon Tamara Mellon were honored for their work with the organization.
"It seems like a banner year, and that is really how you measure it," Simmons said of the fundraising efforts, which totaled more than $1 million before the event.
During the gala, Norton took to the microphone to express why he supports the cause.
"When you don't invest in the inventors of tomorrow, the economist of tomorrow, the doctors of tomorrow won't emerge because you haven't taught people to think in their individual creative ways," he said. "Creativity fuels everything that makes America dynamic."
Guests were later entertained by Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, who performed three songs. They also had the opportunity to bid on a variety of items, including artwork and a chance to meet Justin Timberlake.