Los Angeles residents Alexis Alagem, 25, and Jackie Winnick, 27, pulled together the support of their social networks at a private back lounge of Bar 210/Plush in Beverly Hills the night of March 12, as a fundraiser for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) relief program in Haiti.
For Winnick, this is a continuation of her relationship with the JDC, forged two years ago when she went on the JDC’s Jewish mission to Cuba and then co-chaired a charity event for the JDC’s program there.
“About a month ago, when they heard about what we were planning, Jay Sanderson at The Jewish Federation pulled us into his office. We didn’t know what to expect, but he said,
‘We’re very impressed by what you girls are doing, and we will provide matching funds for what you can raise at your event,’ ” Winnick said.
Winnick pointed to the guests streaming in — well-dressed recent college grads and their families. Among those in attendance were Winnick’s husband, Adam Winnick; her sister, Michelle Flesh; and many members of the Alagem, Flesh and Winnick families. Each guest paid $100 to attend, and proceeds from the event went to JDC’s educational program — the JDC has partnered with the Prodev Foundation to operate 10 temporary schools for displaced children in spontaneous settlements in Port-au-Prince. JDC representative Sarah Eisenman, who is based in New York City but was in Los Angeles for the event, said the program costs $10,000 per month to run, and they expect the proceeds to help keep the program running in Haiti for the next five months.
Winnick said she did not host a fundraiser last year because she was preparing for her wedding but hopes to continue to further what she calls “Gen D,” an effort to engage young people in philanthropy.
Winnick and Alagem took the stage. “Stay all night if you want,” Alagem said, and the audience clapped as the young women thanked family and friends for their support.
Mouth-watering mushroom appetizers and tuna tartar in miniature waffle cones were passed around the room, a dimly lit violet lounge and dance floor, with music by DJ Politik and the bar sponsored by Grey Goose Vodka. A slideshow in the back corner stood as a reminder to the attendees why they were there — a large projector displayed images of Haitian children in classrooms.
Eisenman said the event was attended by about 150 people and raised more than $25,000, which is being matched by The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles in support of JDC’s programs for children, creating schools in the tent cities.