How to Navigate the Benefits Scene

Donna Karan in the Hamptons.
Donna KaranPhoto: Globe Photos

Super Saturday 7
A designer garage sale benefiting the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
Where and When: Nova’s Ark Project, Water Mill, July 31, 1–6 p.m.
Who: Fashionistas and designers: Past attendees include Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Kate Spade.
How Much: General admission, $375; early access, $500; tables, $2,500–$15,000. Over $1.3 million raised last year. Call 212-268-1002.
Survival Tip: Get there as early as possible to snag deals. Wear a bathing suit—no changing rooms.
Reason to Go: Better than any sample sale. Staggering discounts for high-quality clothes and accessories.
Reason to Stay Home: Fiercely competitive shoppers will snatch the last Marc Jacobs handbag from your grip.

Sarah Jessica Parker at a Hamptons benefit.
Sarah Jessica ParkerPhoto: Globe Photos

The 11th Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit
An art auction and dinner, sponsored by LVMH
Where and When: The Watermill Center, 39 Watermill Town Road, July 31, evening
Who: The artsy crowd. Philip Glass and Donna Karan are the honorary chairmen. Last year, Sarah Jessica Parker attended.
How Much: $750–$1,500; tables, $10,000– $15,000. About $700,000 raised last year. Call 212-253-7484.
Survival Tip: Wear comfortable shoes to walk around the wacky art installations created in the woods by artists-in-residence.
Reason to Go: Semi-clothed models posing in trees, scary puppets perched on branches, Blair Witch Project–inspired sculptures—and great, colorful outfits on the guests.
Reason to Stay Home: Sticker shock at dinner-table price. And it’s unclear just how the money is used.

The 46th Annual Summer Party to Benefit Southampton Hospital
Dinner, cocktails, and dancing
Where and When: Wickapogue Road, next to the hospital, August 7, evening
Who: Park Avenue set: David and Julia Koch, Somers and Jonathan Farkas, Tory and Chris Burch.
How Much: $450–$50,000 for dinner; $150 for dance party. About $1 million raised last year. Call 212-843-1720.
Survival Tip: Make an appearance for cocktails, but skip the buffet—there’s a feeding frenzy.
Reason to Go: The emergency room just started charging extra for VIP status—it helps to get attention if you’re a supporter.
Reason to Stay Home: Cops wait to catch drunk drivers on Wickapogue Road immediately after the party.

Boys & Girls Harbor Annual Fireworks Benefit
Fund-raiser for the Harbor’s Environmental Resource Center and Camp
Where and When: The Duke House, Springy Banks Road, East Hampton, July 17, evening
Who: Alec Baldwin, Chevy Chase, and Tom Wolfe have shown up in previous years.
How Much: $50 for kids, $25,000 for a poolside reserved table for twelve. Over $700,000 raised last year. Call 631-537-8647
Survival Tip: Bring a sweater (it gets cold by the water), and keep track of the kids—it usually draws 1,000 people.
Reason to Go: Grucci is the Gucci of fireworks.
Reason to Stay Home: No more George Plimpton, the longtime master of ceremonies.

The Parrish Art Museum Mid-Summer Gala
Drinks, dinner, and art
Where and When: Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, July 17, evening
Who: The ladies who lunch: Sloan Barnett, Pamela Gross, Debbie Bancroft, Holly Peterson, Beth Rudin DeWoody.
How Much: Dinner tickets, $500 and up; tables, $10,000 and up; after-party, $175. $700,000 raised last year. Call 631-283-2118.
Survival Tip: Take the car and driver. Parking is a fiasco.
Reason to Go: Being seen helps with the admissions committee at the Bathing Corporation.
Reason to Stay Home: Nauseating display of Steven Stolman pink and Lily Pulitzer dresses.

Lizzie Grubman in the Hamptons.
Lizzie GrubmanPhoto: Globe Photos

Mental Illness Prevention Center Summer Benefit
Afternoon lawn party
Where and When: Denise Rich’s estate, Southampton, August 7, early evening
Who: Marty Richards and Lizzie Grubman.
How Much: $150–$10,000. Call 212-404-3693.
Survival Tip: Wear something from Intermix or Scoop to fit in with the baby socialites.
Reason to Go: 19-year-old Russian “It” girl Anna Anisimova makes her debut as hostess.
Reason to Stay Home: Skip the surely crowded after-party at the Star Room.

Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge
Opening match to benefit Southfork Breast Health Coalition
Where and When: 849 Hayground Road, Bridgehampton, July 17, 4–6 p.m.
Who: Kelly Klein, Kelly Ripa, and Star Jones come every year.
How Much: $20 bleachers; invite-only VIP tent. About $30,000 raised last year.
Survival Tip: Leave early or get picked up by the gate—traffic out of the parking lot after the game is insufferable.
Reason to Go: Sultry Argentine polo player Nacho Figueras.
Reason to Stay Home: The VIP tent gets crowded with bottle-blonde, husband-hunting publicists in skimpy sundresses.

How to Navigate the Benefits Scene