November 16, 2006
Powerful Trio; House is a Home
It was a night to acknowledge accomplished women Nov. 1, when 300 people celebrated the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) 12th annual Deborah Awards. This year's honorees, Louise Bryson of Lifetime Entertainment, Shelley Freeman of Wells Fargo Bank and Monica Lozano of La Opinion, were honored for their commitment to philanthropy, community and diversity. The event, which raised more than $200,000 for the ADL, included a speech from Caitlin Lang, a former ADL intern and Sugihara Fellow, who spoke about the A World Of Difference Institute educational program and how her life has changed through her work with the ADL.
House Is a Home
Los Angeles Family Housing (LAFH) raised $500,000 at its seventh annual awards dinner attended by 400 supporters Oct. 19 at Universal Studios. More than 400 attended the event to fund housing for the homeless and low-income Angelenos. The dinner, chaired by Deborah Kamins Irmas and Matthew Irmas of Santa Monica, honored founding board member the Rev. John Simmons and Los Angeles Business Council President Mary Leslie. Comedian Paul Rodriguez entertained the crowd.
The crowd stood and applauded as Simmons, an 89-year-old Lutheran minister from Burbank received the Sydney M. Irmas Outstanding Humanitarian Award named for LAFH's original donor. With Irmas' help, Simmons and a number of clergy and others took a blighted North Hollywood motel and turned it into the organization that today includes 21 facilities in the San Fernando Valley and East and South Los Angeles, and has served 100,000 homeless and low-income families. Admonishing the audience that "if you care, you must share," Simmons said LAFH wouldn't exist without the continuing generosity and commitment of the entire Irmas family.
Emmy-winning actor Edward Asner remarked, "Popular or not, John is always on the side of justice."
Asner gave money to Simmons' 1986 and 1988 congressional campaigns.
"Not enough!" Simmons joked, who lost both races.
LAFH board member and president/CEO of Century Housing G. Allan Kingston of Culver City presented the L.A. Family Housing Legacy Award to Mary Leslie of Cheviot Hills. Leslie joked she was "way too young" for a legacy award, saying "whether what's motivating you is morality or monetary gain, it's in our best economic interest to provide safe, affordable housing to attract and retain a strong workforce and housing for wage earners at every economic level."
Guests enjoyed the music of the Oakwood School Jazz Band of North Hollywood and The Pat Longo Orchestra while chowing down on a sumptuous dinner catered by Wolfgang Puck.
For more information about L.A. Family Housing go to www.lafh.org.
A Bit of a Bite
The food was the star of the evening at Morton's last week when the Bogart Pediatric Cancer Research Program presented an Inaugural Epicurean Celebration, a dinner to benefit the charity dedicated to supporting research into effective treatments and cures for children's cancer, leukemia and AIDS. More than $100,000 was raised to help the children, as well as enough to buy them holiday gifts for their annual holiday party.
James Beard award-winning chef Daniel Joly, owner and executive chef of Mirabelle at Beaver Creek, prepared a sumptuous "Trilogy Dinner" accompanied by wines for each course. The evening was co-chaired by Robert Hollander and Pam Morton, along with event committee members Mike Brzostowski, Paula Doherty, Sara Duffy, Bonnie Engle, Dan and Luana Romanelli and I.H. Sutnick.
For more information about the Bogart research program, call (323) 330-0520.
Hadassah's Unity With Israel
A group of 60 participated in Hadassah's Unity Mission to Israel, where they traveled throughout the north, visiting with families affected by this summer's war with Hezbollah, and down to Sderot, the Israeli town on the border with Gaza, that is still being shelled daily. Above, Los Angeles residents Shelly and Bruce Sobol plant a cedar sapling to replace the trees that burned when Hezbollah Kaytusha rockets set forest fires. As one of its responses to the war in Lebanon, Hadassah furnished the Jewish National Fund with a state-of-the-art fire truck with a self-contained water tank, invaluable in areas without ready water supplies, like much of Israel's northern forestland.