Once again, LaLaScoop was on hand to witness another million-dollar event in Beverly Hills.
Well… $1,007,373 to be exact.
That’s the total amount raised at auction Friday night, October 19, at the Beverly Hilton for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles (BBBSLA) when they honored outstanding members of the Los Angeles community at their annual Big Bash Gala.
The amount was a new record for BBBSLA, with attendees bidding on silent auction items ranging from sports and music memorabilia to vacation packages, wine, art, and more. There were also donations throughout the evening, with guests digging deep to donate to a worthy cause.
The awards recognized individuals who are inspiring and positive role models to young people. Chris Silbermann, Founding Partner of ICM Partners, was presented with the Walt Disney Man of the Year Award, LAPD Police Commission President Steve Soboroff and his Little Brother Terry A. Williams received the Golden Legacy Award, self-made inventor and entrepreneur Lori Greiner was honored with the Sherry Lansing Award, and actor Michael B. Jordan with the Trailblazer Award in absentia.
After the red carpet was walked, photos were taken, and auction items bid upon, it was time for the show to get underway. Comedian Orny Adams was the emcee and got the ball rolling, earning some laughs before introducing a well-received performance by young students from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.
The dance was followed by a short speech from Laura Lizer, Chairman of the Board of Directors for BBBSLA, who unveiled the new organization logo and explained the renewed mission. We were then treated to a wonderful example of that mission- as Big and Little matches Miles LeBlanc and Reginald Leslie came onstage for an interview with Adams to talk about their relationship and what the program has given each of them. In an unplanned twist, when young Miles confessed to being a basketball fan, Adams asked the crowd if there were any Lakers season ticket holders in the house and if they’d be willing to donate two tickets to a game. Sure enough, one attendee stood up an donated his seats- a nice moment.
Stephen Galloway, Executive Editor of the Hollywood Reporter came up next to present the Sherry Lansing Award to Lori Greiner; inventor, investor, and philanthropist, also known as the “Shark with a Heart”, from Shark Tank, ABC’s hit show. He was accompanied by two young women, Judith Chavez-Cardenas and Alyssa Rae Villa, who told their heartwarming stories of overcoming their underprivileged backgrounds through help and mentorship from Lori and are now attending college. A few tears were shed onstage and in the crowd.
In her acceptance speech, Greiner praised the women, extolled the virtues of the program, and stressed the importance and responsibility of successful people to give guidance and a helping hand to the next generation.
Next up, news anchor Pat Harvey of KCBS and KCAL9, introduced LAPD Police Commission President Steve Soboroff and his Little Brother Terry A. Williams, for the Golden Legacy Award. Soboroff and Williams were celebrating the 50 years they have been matched as Big Brother and Little Brother. In 1968, Steve and Terry became one of the first interracial matches in the history of Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. In 2016, Steve worked alongside BBBSLA to launch the Bigs in Blue Program, a partnership for LAPD officers to become Big Brothers and Big Sisters to children in the communities they serve, to positively impact the relationships between police and communities of color.
The stories shared by Soboroff and Williams inspired a new round of giving, and it wasn’t long into the paddle auction that donations started to approach record numbers.
After that, it was time to honor the recipient of the Trailblazer Award, actor Michael B. Jordan, who received his award in absentia (no doubt due to work demands and being incredibly in-demand and successful.) Jordan accepted his award via a pre-recorded video, and it was presented live by comedian and actor Tommy Davidson. During the release of the movie CREED, starring Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, Jordan created an Omaze campaign benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters and visited BBBSLA to meet the Littles.
The finale of the evening was the presentation of the Walt Disney Man of the Year Award to Chris Silbermann, the Managing Director of ICM Partners, one of the world’s leading entertainment agencies. It was presented by Lorrie Bartlett, ICM Partners Partner & Co-Head, Talent. In an industry often criticized for being cutthroat and narcissistic, it’s always refreshing to see a major Hollywood Player being recognized for giving time, effort, and money to a cause he’s long believed in.
And Silbermann doesn’t just stop with BBBSLA – he’s also actively involved in helping communities through foundation grants, generous charitable giving and employee volunteer days of service. If that weren’t enough he is the Chairman of the Board of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), which raises hundreds of millions of dollars through fund-raising initiatives, including its signature semi-annual Stand Up To Cancer national event telethon and many more cutting-edge programs.
To add another feather in Silbermann’s cap, Adams closed the night by revealing that while Silbermann was being honored, a Big Bash record was also being set – $1,007,373 raised for Big Brothers Big Sisters Los Angeles.
And let’s not forget that pair of sweet Lakers tickets!
By Mike Siegel