Who:Shannon Rotenberg, Florence Sloan, Barbara Davis, Norah Weinstein & Kelly Sawyer Patricof
"You can have the best committee in the world," said Davis, "but in the end, you do it yourself." That's not something these women duck. Davis -- a grande dame of L.A. philanthropy and the widow of 20th Century Fox owner Marvin Davis -- on Oct. 20 will throw her famed Carousel of Hope Ball for the 26th time. The event, which this year honors George Clooney, has raised more than $75 million to benefit the Children's Diabetes Foundation and Colorado's Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, which she founded during the 1970s when her daughter Dana was diagnosed with the disease.
Photo by: Kwaku Alston
The School Reformers
Who: Megan Chernin, Antonio Villaraigosa & Leslie Moonves
"The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education challenges the wealthy in L.A. to remember how wealth is built," says Mayor Villaraigosa of the nonprofit devoted to improving the L.A. Unified School District. "Education is a major part of the economic ladder." Founded last summer by Chernin -- wife of Peter, former News Corp. president -- with LAUSD superintendent John Deasy, the L.A. Fund has raised $9 million in private donations.
Photo by: Austin Hargrave
The Water Bearers
Who: Rene Jones, Daphne Zuniga & Harry Chandler
"My first question was, 'We have a river? You mean that cement thing?' " says actress and longtime environmental activist Zuniga, recalling what she said when the city's Deputy Mayor Romel Pascual asked if she'd serve as a founding board member of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation. The not-for-profit development group, which also counts UTA Foundation director Jones and film producer Jordan Kerner as board members, is seeking to make the river, which runs 51 miles from the San Fernando Valley's Canoga Park to Long Beach, a continuous open space that's central to the life of the city.
Photo by: Joe Pugliese
The Veteran's Supporters
Who: Amy Gravitt & John Mayer
In May, a coalition of studios, agencies, guilds and networks unveiled Got Your Six (a military term for "I've got your back and you've got mine"), an ambitious program that aims to change perceptions of veterans and increase job opportunities. The effort has pulled in veterans including Universal president and former Marine Ron Meyer, WME agent and Navy man Brandt Joel and Gravitt, a comedy vp at HBO who served in a noncombat role for three years aboard the U.S.S. Constellation in the late '90s. Mayer, working on his own, has made helping veterans his primary philanthropic mission since visiting North Carolina's Camp Lejeune four years ago