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Pasadena Children’s Charity’s Benefit Takes Gold at Annual Benefit

05-12-2010 11:30 AM CET | Leisure, Entertainment, Miscellaneous

Press release from: Hillsides

Dr. Drew and Susan Pinsky with Colleen Williams, Benefit Chair Courtney Saavedra, and  Fritz Coleman

Dr. Drew and Susan Pinsky with Colleen Williams, Benefit Chair Courtney Saavedra, and Fritz Coleman

(PASADENA, CA)— Hillsides, a foster care children’s charity, takes gold at its annual gala, netting $375,000 for programs and services to benefit vulnerable children and their families. With an All-Star Honorary Committee bringing golden accolades to “The Midas Touch,” the children’s charity’s anticipated annual benefit reached the gold standard, again.
Honorary committee included Chairman and Emcee Fritz Coleman of NBC, Elizabeth Rusnak Arizmendi, Peter Arkley, Frank and Penny Burkard, Rosemary Casey and Emmy Award winner Peter Casey, Grammy Award winner and music producer Charles Goodan, Oscar Nominated, Emmy and Grammy Awards winner James Newton Howard, Davey Johnstone of Elton John’s Band, Jacob Maarse, Hank J. Maarse, John Mahon of Elton John’s Band, Oscar Award winner Marlee Matlin, Joan McCarthy, 1976 Olympic Gold Medalist John Naber, Emmy Award and American Comedy Award winner David Hyde Pierce, Dr. Drew and Susan Pinsky, Paul Rusnak, Ben and Judy Reiling, Emmy Award winner Jean Smart and Richard Gilliland, Gregg Smith, and Emmy and Golden Mike Award winner Colleen Williams.
NBC weathercaster Fritz Coleman emceed the event and drew laughs from audiences while preparing them for the live auction. From a trip to New York, to dinner with Dr. Drew Pinsky, Guests bid for live auction packages that suited something for everyone.
“Our annual benefit’s theme refers to the fable of King Midas, able to turn all he touched to gold. Unfortunately, this left him unable to taste a juicy apple, to drink in the luscious scent of a flower or to touch the ones he loved, the most cherished of possessions. By contributing to our event, your touch transforms gold into a much more precious element, hope. You can provide children with the true riches of trust and love,” said Glendale resident Courtney Saavedra, the charity’s benefit chair, in a letter to friends.
The event also honored John Hitchcock, the charity’s executive director who served nearly forty years at Hillsides. A standing ovation filled the room when he spoke to guests. A paddle auction in his honor was held and drew over $66,000 from guests to help benefit the foster care children’s services.
Held at a private club in downtown Los Angeles, the children’s charity’s gala lifted spirits, knowing guests' contributions help children who have experienced traumatic childhoods and strengthen families in crisis. Other highlights included children's wish tags, live auction, silent auction and opportunity drawings, all of which were complemented by entertainment throughout the evening.
Major sponsors for the benefit were Bill and Susan Noce, Marge and Sherm Telleen, Beth Gertmenian, Jacob and Clara Maarse-Jacob Maarse Floral Design, Ben and Judy Reiling, Rusnak Auto Group, The Walt Disney Company, and Western Asset Management, among others.
To learn more about the foster care children’s charity, visit

About Hillsides: As a Pasadena foster care charity founded in 1913, Hillsides creates safe places for children at risk and their families by providing residential care, mental health services to break the cycle of domestic violence, special education, and advocacy. To learn more about Hillsides, visit

940 Avenue 64
Pasadena, CA 91105
(323) 254-2274
Contact: Marisol Barrios
(323) 254-2274 ext. 274

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