The Crowd: For 'Love,' and for plenty of money

There was some big-time beefcake at a ladies fashion event last week in Newport Beach. Maksim Chmerkovskiy, the super-handsome male dancer made famous by his 13 seasons wowing American television viewers on the hit ABC show "Dancing with the Stars," fronted the March 4 "For the Love of a Child" fashion show and luncheon benefiting Childhelp. Chmerkovskiy had all the ladies melting, including the Childhelp chairpersons, Pam Pharris and Christine Bren, along with 400 pretty gals in early spring fashions, raising a whopping $250,000 net in support of the programs of Childhelp, which fights for the rights of abused and neglected children.

It was the 27th annual event, once again sponsored by generous South Coast Plaza and featuring designer fashions from the luxury houses of Versace, Diane von Furstenberg, DKNY, Faconnable, Saks Fifth Avenue, St. John, Ted Baker, Brooks Brothers and Bally. The annual Children's Friend Award was presented to Erin Runnion, founder of the Joyful Child Foundation, created in memory of her daughter Samantha who was abducted and murdered in July 2002. Major support for the Childhelp cause came from Bren, Patti and Jim Edwards, Jacquie and Michael Casey, Sharon Goodwin, Cleo Bluth, Beverly and Bob Cohen, Libby and Pat Werner, Kathy and John Slavik and the Crean Foundation. Additional significant donors spotted in the crowd were Pamela Selber, Sally Crockett, Suki McCardle, Darby Manclark, Eve Ruffatto, Bea Edwards, Shan Womack, Priscilla Marconi, Eileen Saul, Mary Kay Groff and Iris Frankel.

One of the Orange Coast's most beloved charitable fundraisers unfolded recently at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point. The 2013 Ocean Institute Jazz Festival produced a three-day gastronomic concert series of events to raise much-needed funds to support the educational programs at the Institute. Created around some of the jazz world's most celebrated artists, the show included trumpeter Rick Braun, acoustic guitarist Peter White and saxophonist Richard Elliot. The successful concept combines incredible food prepared and donated by an amazing lineup of celebrity chefs from such iconic institutions as the Montage Laguna Beach, St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, Ritz-Carlton, Balboa Bay Resort, Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa and Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, with wines provided by Pear Valley Vineyards in Paso Robles. The result was a sell-out three-day presentation that brought in significant funds supporting ocean-orientated study for local youth.

Chairing the Ocean Institute Jazz Festival was Bob Beaulieu of Pacific Western Bank, attending with his wife Linda Mosure. Also supporting the event were Amy Botdorf, Bruce Brainerd, Pamela Forney, Janice Frechette, Dennis Gabrick, Alison Hahn, Jeff Hall and Kajsa James, Ken and Pam Petersen and Jens and Nicole von Gierke. Total attendance for all three events exceeded 600 guests, raising an impressive $161,851. To learn more about the programs at the Ocean Institute, please go to

THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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