CAA Raises $500,000 From 'School Day' Events in LA, NYC and Nashville

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Communities In Schools Executive Director Deborah Marcus flanked by Robert Downey Jr. and CAA's Richard Lovett

Agency gathers A-list clients, partners and friends for charity

CAA's second annual School Day campaign — a fundraising charge benefiting dropout prevention organization Communities In Schools and featuring A-list auction items and activities in partnership with Charity Buzz — culminated with a string of events in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville on Sept. 18, raising approximately $500,000 in the process.

At Beverly Hills power lunch spot Bouchon — a host of the initiative’s Lunch With a Leader auction component — winning bidders got the chance to dine and mingle with actors (Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Hamm, James Caan, Djimon Hounsou) executives (Ron Meyer, Stacey Snider), filmmakers (the Russo brothers, Jennifer Fox) and agents (Richard Lovett, Kevin Huvane). Other luminaries gathered for auction lunches at the Palm restaurants in New York and Nashville. The NYC efforts raised money for DonorsChoose, while the Nashville events funneled donations to Communities in Schools of Tennessee 

For her part, Berry told The Hollywood Reporter that showing up was a no-brainer. “I’m not only showing up to support my agency because they support me and all of my causes every single time I ask, but this is particularly important being a mom of two,” said Berry, who debuted long locks at the event, adding that her extensions are for an upcoming role in Kidnap. “Educating children and making sure that all children have the opportunities that my kids have, or other more fortunate kids have, is part of what we have to do. We have to be responsible for our community.”

Communities in Schools of Los Angeles executive director Deborah Marcus said that she was feeling "very grateful to CAA." "This is a big, heavy lift and they open their Rolodexes and they call their partners and clients and friends and they show up and we raised a ton of money … and the turnout is amazing,” she added.

CAA also opened its own doors on Thursday, inviting high school students inside the Century City headquarters for discussions and assistance involving the pursuit of higher education. "If you go into the CAA offices today, there are about 200 kids from [Los Angeles Unified School District] who are there to learn about college entrance and to hear from inspirational speakers,” said CAA's Darnell Strom. "We have college banners hanging; it’s a very festive atmosphere and the entire company is behind it."

The energy at Thomas Keller's Bouchon was festive as well, thanks in part to the new addition to this year’s event: teens from L.A.-area schools including Santee Education Complex, Mendez High School and Hamilton High School. Ten students from Santee logged time in Bouchon's kitchen during the lunch as part of an apprenticeship one-off, while the other students dined with notable guests.