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Guests flocked to the Beverly Hilton Hotel to celebrate the Venice Family Clinic’s 32nd Annual Silver Circle Gala on Monday.
The Clinic’s mission of providing free, primary health care to those in need drew the likes of Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan, House’s David Shore, The Big Bang Theory’s Chuck Lorre, producer Hutch Parker, philanthropist Caren Brooks and Covert Affairs’ Christopher Gorham.
Cocktail hour prefaced the ceremony, where Silver Circle members –– those who contributed $2,000 or more, annually –– mingled over drinks and participated in the silent auction.
Host Hal Sparks garnered laughs from the room before the evening was in full swing.
“Remember, that during the auction,” he said, “the goal should be to frightfully embarrass the last person who bid, with you’re generosity. That is the only goal of the silent auction, and that’s the least quiet aspect of it.”
Before the main course was served, the charity event raised $1.1 million. If it was up to presenting duo Gilligan and Shore, honoree Chris Silbermann had a noteworthy hand in that outcome. Before the Humanitarian Award recipient hit the stage, his pals provided a few zingers. “It’s easy to make fun of agents. It’s easy to dismiss them. It’s easy to think that they contribute nothing,” said Shore.
Turning over a seemingly serious new leaf, the writers then took turns thanking the ICM president for being “a trusted friend, an honorable advisor and a human being who cares deeply about his family, clients, friends and his community.” But they didn’t stop there.
“And who has helped saved lives tonight,” continued Shore, “by raising a truckload of money from his family, his clients, his friends and his community.” When the laughs died down, Gilligan offered the finale, “we all gave very generously, indeed, because you are one scary SOB,” he said.
Silbermann hit the stage with a change of pace, and gave a heartfelt speech about his admiration for the collective effort of all those who work at the eight (going on nine) Venice Family health centers –– together, they help more than 24,000 patients in Los Angeles.
“They are the true heroes and humanitarians,” he said. “Knowing the passion and commitment of this team, and seeing first hand what their work does, makes it so easy to want to raise money for such an incredible organization.”
He concluded his speech by mention of his wife, Julia Franz. “You deserve this honor more than I do,” he said, “I love you.”
Honorees Ruth Ziegler and Dr. Jonathan Fielding (from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health) were presented with the Irma Colen Leadership Award and Visionary Award, respectively.
Venice Family Clinic CEO Elizabeth Benson Forer spoke of new developments before the evening came to a close. “This spring, we break ground on a new, cutting-edge children’s health and wellness facility that will provide care to more than 3,000 children in Mar Vista,” she said.
Applause followed her good news. The thunderous ovation continued when The Pointer Sisters performed the all too appropriate familiar hit, “I’m So Excited.”
The fundraiser was sponsored by UCLA Health System and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
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