Hillsides, a Southern California foster care charity, raised $370,000 during its annual gala, themed Las Flores de Hillsides, held on February 25 at The Langham Huntington Pasadena. Some 360 guests enjoyed cuisine, drinks, décor and entertainment with a Latin American flare as they raised money for the 13,000 children, youth and families Hillsides serves.
“It was wonderful to see so many of our supporters at our gala, which is our largest fundraiser of the year,” said Hillsides president and chief executive officer Joseph M. Costa. “It is an especially exciting time for Hillsides due to our recent affiliation with Bienvenidos, which has more than doubled the number of children and families we provide programs and services to. The money raised will help us create lasting change in the lives of children in foster care, youth transitioning from foster care and families in need.”
The gala was chaired by Pasadena resident and financial professional Sara Simpson. Simpson choose the theme, Las Flores de Hillsides, out of her twin loves of flowers and nature and her passion for helping children.
NC4 Weathercaster Fritz Coleman and TV personality and award-winning journalist Jose Ronstadt were co-emcees of the live auction. Guests were also treated to a surprise performance by Nancy Wilson of the rock band Heart and John Mahon, percussionist and vocalist for the Elton John Band. The two performed Heart’s classic song, “These Dreams,” and Elton John’s “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.” Also attending the gala were US Congresswoman Judy Chu and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Kathryn Barger, among other notable guests.
Another highlight of the evening was the keynote speech by Hillsides employee, Randall Trice. Acknowledging his challenging childhood in foster care, Trice spoke about how he learned to transition from foster care to adulthood through living at Hillsides’ housing program for transition-aged youth, Youth Moving On. He then went on to become a campus supervisor and athletic director at Hillsides, and is also currently a junior in college studying to become a social worker.
He concluded his speech saying, “Even though I was not born with a great family, I was blessed with a new family at Hillsides, who blessed me with more than what I could imagine.”
The gala was made possible by many generous sponsors, including Bolton & Company, Sherm and Marge Telleen, The Walt Disney Company, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Mario and Shelly Fiumani – Pin USA, Linda and Stephen Gill, The Havner Family Foundation, Jacob Maarse Florists, Kaiser Permanente, Paul Rusnak – Rusnak Auto Group, Kim and Rob Shepherd, and Western Asset Management Company.
Hillsides provides high quality care, advocacy, and innovative services that promote safe, permanent environments where children and youth can thrive. Headquartered in Pasadena, the agency and its affiliation with Bienvenidos serves 13,000 children and families in Southern California throughout its 35 sites, including school-based mental health offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Baldwin Park. Foster care and adoptions services in approved resource family homes serve families in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. To learn more about both agencies, visit www.Hillsides.org and www.Bienvenidos.org. Visit Hillsides on Facebook @hillsideschildren, on Twitter @Hillsides, or on Instagram @HillsidesPasadena.