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As the more seasoned and perspicacious Quest reader will note, this annual issue marks the fifteenth consecutive year that we pause to salute the stalwart individuals in our society who continue to make a difference in the communities and institutions they inhabit and command.

Although some wags have bellowed about town that such lists – indeed “society as we once knew it” – are as dead as Ward McAllister’s prized walnuts, Quest prefers the more enlightened view of our editor-in-chief, David Patrick Columbia, who five years ago equipped: “Whereas Mrs. Astor’s subjects were distinctly old-family members of old New York, the Quest 400 is distinctly the jet-age family members who can find themselves here, there and everywhere on any given day.”

As Quest’s list has always been more rooted in philanthropy than celebrity, we are provided wit an annual opportunity to recognize a handful of these eleemosynary organizations that continue to excel in their remarkably high standards of caring, giving, and building onto their heritage. Mirroring the tidal ebb and flow of the aforementioned social standings, a few of the once revered “old-line” philanthropies have sadly lost their way, allowing their original missions to be compromised, if not corrupted by their quest (apologies, dear reader!) to post ever bigger numbers and dollar amounts in the endless Calcutta of charitable fundraising. Ahh,,,one can almost hear the founding forebearers groaning from their graves!

Fortunately, there are a number of new altruistic endeavors poised to supercede those once venerable, but now atropic institutions. In last year’s 400 Issue, Quest recognized “The Next Generation of Giving,” tipping our hats to a half dozen fresh-faced charities. Zibby Right, the article’s author, pointed out that, with so many charitable causes to choose from, there was absolutely “no excuse for apathy.” We endorse this conclusion and will continue to report on its charitable progress.