The Crowd: Giving WINGS to graduate women

They soared on the wings of eagles. A group of Newport-Mesa women, led by Stephanie Bernardy and Michele Mullen, came together Sept. 13 at Newport Beach's Haute Cakes Caffe to launch a new women's auxiliary dedicated to fundraising and "friendraising" on behalf of Santa Ana's KidWorks educational enrichment programs. They are calling their group WINGS, an acronym for Women Investing In Graduate Success.

The Friday evening event attracted 100 guests raising more than $10,000 to launch the WINGS auxiliary. Funds are earmarked to support scholarships for at-risk youth attending Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana.

Special guest of the night was Gaddi Vasquez, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and the first Hispanic American to lead the Peace Corps. To learn more about KidWorks, visit or contact Mullen at (949) 244-3042 to find out more about WINGS.


American Celebration set for Nov. 2

Gala chairs of Chapman University's 32nd American Celebration, Twyla and Chuck Martin, invited distinguished patrons to a luncheon this past week at South Coast Plaza's chic Marche Moderne. The Martins introduced notable donors seated on the Marche patio, including Suki McCardle, Zee Allred, Marta Bhathal, Pamela Paul, Eve Kornyei Ruffatto, Bette Aitken, Joan Riach-Gayner, Kristina Dodge, Marilyn Severson, Harriet Sandhu and Sally Crockett among the generous.

The ambitious gala committee has a goal of raising $2 million at the Nov. 2 event that will support student scholarships at Chapman. Respected Dean Bill Hall, who has led the Chapman music program for 50 years and will assume duty as the new dean of the Musco Center for the Arts on campus, addressed the ladies, sharing anecdotes of Chapman students who have gone on to create professional careers in the entertainment industry.

The 2013 celebration is set to welcome and honor actors and brothers Jeff and Beau Bridges as well as pay tribute to their late father, actor Lloyd Bridges. Chapman's Citizen of the Year 2013 will be awarded to Suki and Randall McCardle of Newport Coast.


Preventing birth defects

The March of Dimes, a leading nationwide nonprofit dedicated to ensuring the health of pregnant women and their babies, will sponsor their 2013 celebrity chef dinner Thursday in Costa Mesa. The culinary star of the evening will be Chef Seakyeong Kim of Charlie Palmer's Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza restaurant, leading a roster of talent from many of the O.C.'s most popular eateries.

Some of the chefs on hand preparing samples of their cuisine will include Pascal Olhats, Takashi Abe, Yves Fournier, Amelia Marneau, Casey Overton and Ryan Adams. Chef Kim sums up the concept best: "It's all about food, family, love and good health to enable us all to lead strong and happy lives."

This is, of course, especially true for the unborn and newly born babies, which is the focus of March of Dimes' assistance. Major sponsors of the event are Wells Fargo and South Coast Plaza. Tickets are priced at $400 per person. Go to to learn more.


A 258th birthday celebration in Costa Mesa

Well, not exactly. Actually, the birthday event on Tuesday marked the remarkable longevity of the world's oldest watchmaker, Vacheron Constantin. The midweek occasion called for an elegant sunset cocktail reception in the Vacheron boutique at South Coast Plaza, hosted by Hugues de Pins, president of Vacheron Constantin North America. The distinguished Frenchman addressed the cocktail crowd, thanking both patrons and local community activists involved with the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Terrence Dwyer, president of the Segerstrom Center, returned the praise, acknowledging the support of Vacheron as a center sponsor and underwriter in particular of the extremely important annual Candlelight Concert fundraiser — for which Vacheron was the lead sponsor in 2012 and will be continuing support this season.

Additionally, Vacheron has associated its brand with international dance companies such as the Paris Opera Ballet and the New York City Ballet, both of which have appeared at the center.

Spotted in the handsome crowd were Jennifer and Anton Segerstrom, Kathryn Cenci, Susan and Tim Strader, Gail and Jim Daniels, Lola Gershfeld, Judy Morr and Mark Chapin Johnson.

Candlelight Concert 2013 is set to unfold Dec. 6 at the center and star the legendary Beach Boys.

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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