Chris Silbermann Leads Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater L.A. Gala to Fundraising Record

Chris Silberman Big Brothers Big Sisters - Getty
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Sherry Lansing, Dana Walden and Jeffrey Katzenberg were among those who helped in the fundraising efforts on Friday night.

The elite of Hollywood’s C-Suite turned out to the Beverly Hilton on Friday night to celebrate at the Big Brothers Big Sisters Gala of Greater Los Angeles. ICM managing partner Chris Silbermann, former Paramount chief Sherry Lansing, 20th Century Fox CEO Dana Walden and Jeffrey Katzenberg were all on hand to raise funds for the organization that provides mentors to disadvantaged L.A. youth. 

Silbermann was honored with the Walt Disney Man of the Year award and it was announced that he had raised more money for the organization than any previous honoree. Others recognized included Steve Soboroff, president of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, Shark Tank host Lori Greiner and Michael B. Jordan, who was honored in absentia with the Trailblazer award.

Soboroff was the recipient of the Golden Legacy Award for his more than 50 years of involvement with the organization. "You can’t relate to what being underserved really means," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "You can’t feel it. And that's what being a Big Brother allows you. It’s a heart experience. It’s not an intellectual experience. It’s not a monetary experience. I did it for that reason because I wanted to have a heart experience."

The evening began with cocktails and a silent auction. Attendees had a chance to bid on luxurious vacation packages to Maui and Cancun, as well as more unique items, such as an autographed picture of Dolly Parton and a giant plush dinosaur.

Comedian Orny Adams served as the MC for the evening, and the show kicked off with a lively dance performance by students of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.

The most dramatic twist of the evening occurred when Soboroff announced that an anonymous donor had agreed to match any cash donation at a five to one ratio up to $250,000. In a matter of minutes, the enthusiastic crowd donated an additional $50,000, with Lansing giving the final $5,000 to help claim the entire matching donation.   

THR’s executive editor Stephen Galloway told the audience about the Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program, which pairs high school girls from disadvantaged backgrounds with mentors working within the entertainment community. "Each of these girls is unique. Each is special. Each has the power of a volcano waiting to unleash," he said. "It was such a simple idea. Take a girl who wants to succeed, pair her with a woman who has succeeded, mix and match and both catch fire."

Silbermann was the evening’s final speaker and he told the audience why getting ICM involved in the Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program was so important to him.   

"It’s about being present. It’s about loving. And, most importantly, it’s about engaging. It’s about engaging so much that it comes back to you. Nowhere is this concept more important than with your family and to me, that’s what Big Brothers and Big Sisters is all about," he explained. "It’s about creating an extended family, creating bonds and mentorship, engaging with the people around you and growing our youth into exceptional professionals, exceptional citizens and exceptional leaders."

More than $1 million was raised in total for Big Brothers and Big Sisters on Friday night, setting a record for the annual gala.