Forty years ago, Cherna and Dr. Gary Gitnick co-founded Fulfillment Fund, aiming to make college possible for under resourced students in Los Angeles. Today, Fulfillment Fund has grown its outreach to Las Vegas as well and has helped more than 20,000 Los Angeles students make college a reality. Honoring the legacy of the Gitnick’s forty years of dedication in empowering young students, “A Legacy of Changing Lives” Gala presented by Fulfillment Fund was held on March 13th, 2018 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.
With a mission to promote higher education, the gala attracted celebrity speakers and attendees including Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper. Actresses Sherri Saum, and Teri Polo from the critically acclaimed hit series “The Fosters” hosted the event.
The event started with Grammy Award winning composer Charles Fox performing “Killing me Softly with His Song” at the piano. Actress and singer Rita Wilson, and singer Stephen Bishop joined him. Rita thanked Dr. Gitnick personally as her physician, and his work in supporting youths.
After the performances, guests enjoyed dinner catered by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. Live auction of the gala, assisted by actor Joshua Rush from Disney’s “Andi Mack”, raised over 1.3 million dollars.
Jorge Parra, an alumnus of Fulfillment Fund in 1990 and a mentor for the program now, spoke at the event with his mentee, Miguel Gonzalez. Jorge attended the University of Southern California and attained a BS degree in Business Administration in 1997. He obtained his MBA from Claremont Graduate University in 2003. Actively involved with the Fulfilment Fund, Jorge was a Founding President of the Fulfillment Fund Alumni Ambassadors group from 2012-2014. Having benefited from Fulfillment Fund, Jorge was grateful for the resources and the programs through the Fund. “All of us – alumni and current students – are living proof that empowering youth through education and mentoring can positively impact someone’s life forever.”
Other alumni, including Veronica Estrada, Jonathan Ruiz and Karla Nunfio also briefly shared their stories with Fulfillment Fund, and thanked the organization for changing their lives.
Bradley Cooper acclaimed Fulfilment Fund’s effort by providing classroom-based instruction, financial aid counseling, mentoring, scholarships and college field trips for low-income students. He also thanked Dr. Gitnick personally for “helping my father in his last years”.
During De Niro’s speech, he also revealed his close connection with Dr. Gitnick, who has been his personal physician for 20 years. He went on, honoring the Gitnicks’ forty years of service on behalf of Los Angeles students and encouraging young students to strive for higher education.
Dr. Gitnick and Cherna, the heroes of the night, also spoke. Dr. Gitnick thanked the support of many attendees in the room with special thanks to actor Sidney Poitier for his life time support of Fulfillment Fund and being the first celebrity to open the doors to Hollywood for the Fund.
The gala took place the evening of Dr. Gitnick’s birthday, so naturally, the ballroom serenaded him with a birthday cake and his family around him.
In addition to the Legacy of Changing Lives event, Fulfillment Fund was also proud to initiate the Gitnick Legacy Campaign and endeavor to raise over $1 million to sustain the Gitnick’s contributions to the organization, and ensure young students continue to benefit from these life-changing programs.
Special thanks to all the sponsors, including but not limited to:
Modern Luxury BH | Tesla | The Simms /Mann Family Foundation | Wolfgang Puck | American International Group | Aurora Capital Partners | Creative Artists Agency (CAA) | The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation | The Grinch | The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation | The Capital Group | Wells Fargo
Thanks to all the support from attendees, including but not limited to:
Robert De Niro | Raven – Symone | Daisy Fuentes | David Hull | Charles Fox | Richard Marx | Cameron Boyce | Nadia Gray | Trevor Tordjman | Emilia McCarthy | Anne Sweeney | Rich Ross | Maria Booth | Gabrielle Ruiz | Ashley Argota | Anika Noni Rose | Meg Donnelly | Carla Jeffery | Kerri Medders | Mouzam Makkar | Lou Diamond Phillips | Yvonne Boismier Phillips | Sherri Saum | Kamar de los Reyes | Christine Devine | Teri Polo | Phillip Keene | Bradley Cooper | Louis Gossett Jr. | Darby Stanchfield | Lilan Bowden | Ignacio Serricchio | Stephen Bishop | Joshua Rush | Rita Wilson | Chris Gianlanella | David An | Jason Dirden | Rory O’Malley