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CoachArt held its annual Gala of Champions at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Thursday evening, honoring this year’s champions — ICM Partners’ Ted Chervin and Chris Silbermann for their contributions to the nonprofit organization.
During the cocktail hour, Chervin spoke to The Hollywood Reporter with regards to his involvement with CoachArt, specifically related to the arts.
“I got introduced to CoachArt through Chris Silbermann. Art is transformative in a lot of ways. When I was a kid I used to love to draw. I wasn’t that good at it, but I loved doing it, and I would take a sports magazine and draw the football players,” he said. “I’m not an artist, but I appreciate art.”
Having much to celebrate, Chervin expressed why although he is involved with many different organizations, he has a unique connection to CoachArt.
“I love the idea of helping children who are chronically ill and underprivileged and trying to give them some temporary relief from their suffering. I think art and sports are things that kids love. It’s so basic and fundamental and simple, and it works so great,” Chervin said.
He added, “We’re privileged and we have an opportunity to help people that are less privileged, and I think that that’s an important part of being blessed to be able to be in this position, to give back and to use your success to help others.”
CoachArt was founded in 2001 by longtime friends Leah Bernthal and Zander Lurie. The name of the organization was inspired by Lurie’s father Arthur Lurie, who passed away from cancer. CoachArt focuses on pairing children with chronic illnesses with volunteer coaches from arts and athletics. The goal is to have the children continue their lives with a sense of normalcy, regardless of their condition. CoachArt also gives support and resources to the families and siblings who are also impacted.
Co-founder Leah Bernthal, alongside her 9-year-old daughter, shared the story of Arthur Lurie and how she has never lost inspiration in the program, 16 years later.
“[Art] passed away of cancer, so the inspiration was very much that while he was dealing with his cancer and while he was going through this, all of the children he would see whose lives were being [impacted]. They were not able to do anything and [he] was very much inspired by what makes childhood. What makes childhood [are] your sports teams, your after-school activities, your friendships, your role models, whatever you’re into,” she said.”
She continued, “What Zander and his father saw in those medical centers was that all of that went away, and so the inspiration was, can we bring back the things to live for — socialization, art, athletics, things to open your mind to help your psychosocial side and your emotional side.”
Wine and cocktails were served throughout the evening and guests enjoyed live music from PostModern JukeBox as they were guided to their seats. Each table had one of four books, including a Beauty and the Beast selection, as their centerpiece.
Upon Silbermann and Chervin receiving their Heart & Humanity Award, the entire room erupted with cheers and applause. The duo, showing their gratitude on stage, started off with a personal story.
“Zander and I have been friends for years and we did first get to know each through business conferences and then when you meet people through business conferences over time, if you like each other, you actually become real friends, so I liked him and we became friends,” said Silbermann.
Silbermann, who is close friends with Lurie, also explained why the entertainment industry has a civic duty to continue contributing to organizations such as this one.
“We know how lucky we are to make our living in the entertainment industry, so it’s been a priority of ours, as I know it is for all of you, to really give back to our community. Our main way of doing this is through our ICM partners foundation — we give charitable grants, we host nationwide days of service and we support events like this dinner tonight that are so important and really strengthen the bonds of our community.”
The CoachArt Gala of Champions is sponsored by Alibaba Group, BET Networks, Hulu, ICM Partners and Oath.
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