Michael B. Jordan, Ronda Rousey Help Raise $2M for L.A. Family Housing

Blair Rich and Michael B Jordan-Publicity_H 2019
Eric Charbonneau

The event, chaired by Warner Bros.' Blair Rich, raised a cool $2 million for the organization that helps find permanent housing for the homeless.

It was a rousing and raucous auction, one with no prize other than breaking a fundraising record and doing the right moral thing, that moved the needle at L.A. Family Housing’s 20th annual awards gala and fundraiser at The Lot in West Hollywood.

The event, chaired in its 10th year by Warner Bros. Pictures Group worldwide marketing president Blair Rich, raised over $2 million for the organization, which works to find permanent housing and provide support services to the city’s over 53,000 homeless.

“Homelessness is the defining moral issue of our time,” L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who received the RBC|City National Bank Inspiration Award. “It is that which will leave a civic legacy to generations to come unless we have more energy, more work, more imagination, unless we face this crisis.”

The evening featured an auction where guests ponied up $7,000 for a Crazy Rich Asians-inspired Singapore vacation or a Lady Gaga concert in Las Vegas, and $15,000 for a sports package that included tickets to the Rams, the Kings and the Lakers.

But when Blair and LAFH president Stephanie Klasky-Gamer saw the night was around $70,000 short of actually hitting $2 million, they and TV personality-turned-auctioneer Matt Rogers worked the crowd, convincing even the more reluctant of hearts to join in the spirit of giving. 

“Homelessness in Los Angeles is full-blown humanitarian crisis. And I don’t use that term lightly,” said Rich before the final fundraising push. “If 53,195 people, almost 5,000 of them children, were left without shelter, medical care, sanitation, food and basic human needs, from a hurricane, an earthquake, an act of terrorism, people would do something about it. You know this. It would be 24-hour news, the Red Cross would swoop in, the government would act. Doing nothing would be completely unacceptable. Allowing the problem to grow more severe would never be tolerated.”

The evening also saw actor Michael B. Jordan and WWE superstar Ronda Rousey on hand to present during the program, which began with attendees dining on fare from cuisine stations from some of L.A.’s top restaurants such as Angelini Osteria, Button Mach, Inko Nito, and Dulan’s Soul Food.

“People who are homeless are not less than,” said Jordan, who noted his parents taught him the importance of giving back to the community and that he grew up volunteering in food pantries. “Homelessness is not the result of someone’s mistakes. It’s the result of a broken system, people falling through the cracks, racism and discrimination, lack of unaffordable housing and years of unfair pay.”

Earlier in April, LAFH broke ground on a 50-unit project named Residences on Main that will provide housing for homeless families and chronically homeless youth.