Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services 11th annual Celebrating Children Spring Gala fundraiser was reimagined as a virtual event, providing hope, recognizing champions and celebrating the impact of philanthropy. More than 400 guests tuned in to the livestream event on March 13 and joined together to support the critical work Hathaway-Sycamores is doing in the midst of the pandemic to address the mental health needs of low-income children, young adults and families – including those who are in foster care or are experiencing homelessness.
The gala was also an opportunity for friends and supporters of Hathaway-Sycamores to virtually gather and celebrate. Multi-Emmy Award-winning journalist Peter Daut served as emcee and there was a special appearance by legendary Broadway singer and actor Davis Gaines.
The one-hour program, filled with inspiring stories and testimonials, included a heartfelt video featuring the personal stories of Lizzet and Martine, two young adults who experienced homelessness before joining the Hathaway-Sycamores Transition Age Youth Program.
“What an amazing mission statement to cultivate hope,” said state Sen. Antony Portantino. “Hope is something we all need to find in our lives – and all need to share when we have it – and that’s what Hathaway-Sycamores does. It takes a holistic approach to the family, not just helping children but helping everyone in need.”
Board Chair Michael Galper introduced the heart of the event – the presentation of the Hathaway-Sycamores’ Celebrating Children Award. Said Galper: “As we gather tonight to support Hathaway-Sycamores, one of the wonderful aspects of our annual Celebrating Children Gala tradition is having the opportunity to recognize those in our community who exemplify the ideals and values of integrity, leadership and commitment to improving the lives of children, young adults and families.” Both 2021 Celebrating Children honorees, local philanthropist Elizabeth Hoxworth and Los Angeles City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, certainly meet that criteria.
Hoxworth has been an active supporter of Hathaway-Sycamores for over 30 years, first as a volunteer and later as a board member, including two terms as board chair. Assemblymember Chris Holden joined with Hathaway-Sycamores President and CEO Debra Manners and Elizabeth’s daughter, Elle Hoxworth Brickman, to celebrate Elizabeth’s many accomplishments and impact. In accepting her award, Elizabeth stated, “When I first became engaged with Hathaway-Sycamores, a very simple philosophy was shared with me – for a child to succeed in the world they need to know that someone in the world cares for them. Hathaway-Sycamores endeavors daily, to make sure every life they touch knows that there are those who care deeply about them. For all of the thousands of lives who have been improved by the Hathaway-Sycamores, I thank you.”
Ridley-Thomas has distinguished himself as an effective leader and advocate for structural change for residents of Los Angeles for nearly three decades. Currently serving as councilmember for the city of Los Angeles, he notably authored and led L.A. County’s unprecedented effort to end homelessness through Measure H. In accepting his award, Ridley-Thomas shared his passion for ending homelessness, and his belief that it is the crisis of our time. He concluded his acceptance of the award by addressing the virtual audience, “As is the case for so many endeavors, nothing ever gets accomplished alone, so I say thank you again for your partnership and commitment to this work. We’re much better because of your efforts.”
Following the presentation of the Celebrating Children Awards, guests were treated to a special appearance by Davis Gaines, Los Angeles’ longest-running Phantom of the Opera, and his recorded performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Special thanks are extended to the Gala Committee: Co-Chairs Rita Henderson and Karen Palmersheim, Elizabeth Hoxworth, Stephanie Miller, KD Shaughnessy, Tanuja Singeetham, and Carina Walker.
Celebrating Children major sponsors included the Hoxworth Family Trust; American Business Bank; Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.; Lewis Bogan; Dana & Albert Broccoli Charitable Foundation; Capital Group; Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; the Freer Family; Kaiser Permanente; Roger W. Stephens; Synoptek Inc.; Western Asset; Harriet Boyd & Harold Fike; CBE Office Solutions; Dignity Health; Gayle and Michael Galper; Dr. Jim Guy and Joan Laidig; Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors; Lucas/Horsfall; Morrison & Foerster Foundation; Parsons Federal Credit Union; Preferred Partners Insurance Agency; Atlas IP; Beach Law Group; Kathy and Rick Beckendorf; Cigna; Michele and Todd Doney; Enterprise Fleet Management, Inc.; Fuze; GHJ; Nestle USA, Inc.; Netsmart Technologies, Inc.; and media sponsors Outlook Newspapers and Pasadena Now.