CASA Celebration of Children: Black & White Ball
The annual Black & White Ball, hosted by Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), celebrated 30 years of the nonprofit’s service to the community. Held April 18 at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, in Dana Point, the event raised just over $1 million to support programs that improve the lives of abused and neglected children throughout Orange County. It was the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, with more than 100 silent auction items and a rousing live auction contributing to the evening’s success. Jennifer and Anton Segerstrom received the Children’s Champion award for their years of support; other awards included recognition of South Coast Plaza as the Outstanding Corporation of 2015 and Joy Winger as Advocate of the Year. Nineteen-year-old Austin Howle served as a guest speaker on behalf of the organization’s youth participants, sharing the story of his own CASA who would drive 1.5 hours to see him. Thanks in large part to his CASA, Austin was able to graduate high school and gain admission to California State University, San Bernardino, where he is finishing his freshman year. Other highlights included a keynote speech from Orange County native and NFL quarterback Mark Sanchez of the Philadelphia Eagles about the importance of adult support, in addition to a lively performance of “Bust A Move”—and two other songs—by rapper Young MC. (casaoc.org) —Allison Hata
Amazing Steals Auction
On the evening of May 9, artists, gallerists and enthusiasts gathered to support Ryman Arts, a nonprofit organization that offers free drawing and painting instruction to high school students across Southern California, including those in Orange County. The event featured an auction of pieces from three Laguna galleries: Sue Greenwood Fine Art, Kelsey Michaels Fine Art and saltfineart, which also served as the host venue. As attendees sipped martinis and enjoyed gourmet pizzas, they perused offerings on display. Forty-two works of art were available to bid on, with prices reduced to almost 50 percent of the retail value. More than $18,000 was raised to support Ryman Arts’ creative education programs. (rymanarts.org) —A.H.
Laguna Hero Fest
The rain let up just in time on May 14 for local eco-champions to shine at the eighth annual Laguna Hero Fest’s evening program, held at seven-degrees. The event was hosted by nonprofit My Hero Project, which celebrates the best of humanity around the world through media, art and technology. It started off with live music as attendees cast their silent auction bids and admired nature-centric artwork from youth members of the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, students at Laguna Beach High School and more. The highlight of the evening was the premiere of “Laguna Beach Eco Heroes,” a 30-minute documentary featuring individuals and organizations working to protect, preserve and rehabilitate our environment, from the canyon to the coast. The heroes included marine biologist Nancy Caruso (affectionately nicknamed “The Kelp Lady”), Greg MacGillivray from One World One Ocean, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center and ZeroTrash founder Chip McDermott. (myhero.com) —Katherine Duncan