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The Crowd: Oceana SeaChange dinner raises $1.5 million for ocean conservation efforts

Karen and Bruce Cahill hosted the SeaChange event at their Laguna estate.
Karen and Bruce Cahill hosted the SeaChange event at their Laguna estate raising over $1.5 million benefiting Oceana and local ocean conservation efforts.
(Courtesy of Ryan Miller)

A little Hollywood influence touched the O.C. crowd at the 12th annual Oceana SeaChange gathering. Actor Ted Danson joined internationally recognized ocean conservationist Alexandra Cousteau, a senior advisor to Oceana, for the dinner event that unfolded at the Cahill estate on a Laguna cliff fronting the Pacific Ocean. Other luminaries in the crowd were Danson’s wife, Mary Steenburgen, honoree Laura Dern and Sam Waterston.

About 400 citizens raised $1.5 million for the organization’s conservation programs. The important evening focusing on “the plague of ocean plastic pollution” among other serious topics including unchecked over-fishing depleting world food sources, was chaired by dedicated Oceana board chair Valarie Van Cleave sharing duties with Elizabeth Wahler and assisted by vice-chair Jeff Blasingame.

Actors Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Laura Dern and Sam Waterston attend SeaChange event benefiting Oceana.
Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, honoree Laura Dern and Sam Waterston attend SeaChange event benefiting Oceana at Cahill estate in Laguna Beach.
(Courtesy of Ryan Miller)

Headlining the party was Jackson Browne and band. In the crowd moving to Browne hits including “Running on Empty,” were Sally Pressman, Austin Nichols, Angela Kinsey, Oscar Nunez, Jason and Ashley Wahler, James Sandler, Tricia and Michael Berns, and Jean and Jim Weiss. Also on hand for the event, having come in from New York, was Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless.

Commenting on the dire situation with disposable plastics filling the ocean, Sharpless said, “We’ll get this done in the next five years.”

Oceana has been instrumental in securing policy victories protecting the ocean from plastic in nations including Peru, Belize and Europe.

Comic Jay Leno, well-known former host of “The Tonight Show,” will headline a dinner-fundraiser Dec. 10 at Balboa Bay Resort, Newport Beach benefiting the Salvation Army Orange County. The evening on the coast is billed as a “Night for Others” and its goal is to raise significant funding for a Salvation Army project in O.C. called Center of Hope, a 325-bed low-barrier emergency shelter.

Jay Leno set to headline a dinner-fundraiser Dec.10 at Balboa Bay Resort, Newport Beach for the Salvation Army Orange County.
Jay Leno set to headline a dinner-fundraiser Dec. 10 at Balboa Bay Resort, Newport Beach benefiting the Salvation Army Orange County.
(Courtesy of Justin Coleman)

The center will also provide a 72-bed permanent supportive housing wing, onsite medical and dental care, in addition to a 175-bed drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. The ambitious project is estimated to cost in the realm of $34.5 million, located on 6.8 acres in the city of Anaheim.

“Homelessness is a growing crisis for too many men and women in Orange County. The Salvation Army Orange County brings hope to a community of people who desperately need the opportunity to redirect their lives, said Salvation Army Capt. Nesan Kistan. “With the community’s help, the Center of Hope will transform the lives of many men and women.”

The Beach Ball Gala turned up the party volume at Hotel Paséa, Huntington Beach for the advocates of Childhelp turning out for the 7th annual fall gala in the O.C. Linda Burns and Kelly Haugen co-chaired the evening, raising some $300,000 for Childhelp outreach dedicated to stopping child abuse and neglect.

Diana and Chris Miner bid on auction items at Beach Ball Gala held at the Pasea Resort, to raise funds for Childhelp.
Diana and Chris Miner bid on auction items at Beach Ball Gala held at the Pasea Resort, Huntington Beach, raising funds for Childhelp.
(Courtesy of Carl Carpentier)

The seriousness of child abuse prevention is a cause close to the heart of Childhelp donors including event sponsors and underwriters Jacquie and Michael Casey, Becky and Gary Cooper, Patti and Jim Edwards, and Patricia and Brent Ford. Also counted on for support were Kelly and Michael Haugen, Kristin and David James, Lil and Bill Knight and the Minkoff family, who have been long-time advocates for Childhelp.

Woody and the Longboards entertained as the crowd sampled a whiskey tasting provided by Macallan. Party planners created a faux gambling casino post dining and dancing to the surf music. A reality-check came in the form of the dinner address from Christina Ruiz, a former foster child now associated with Childhelp paying forward her life lessons helping the most vulnerable kids in need.

Patricia Ford, Linda Burns and Patti Edwards, at Beach Ball Gala for Childhelp.
Patricia Ford, Linda Burns, Childhelp president and Patti Edwards, national chair member at Beach Ball Gala that raised over $300,000 for Childhelp.
(Courtesy of Carl Carpentier)

In the beach crowd were Gina Van Ocker and Brad Hinman, Diana and Chris Miner, Julie and Mark Adams, Katherine Meredith, Joyce and Mark Simon, Pam Pharris, Jill Glick, Bill Peters and Susan Hill. A special nod was paid to Jonathan Hatam, recipient of Childhelp’s “Benevolent Heart” Award 2021.

The season opener for the O.C.’s celebrated Pacific Chorale was a smashing success, launching the 2021-22 performance year with a grand night at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

Artistic director Robert Istad led the Chorale performing Rachmaninoff’s a cappella “All-Night Vigil.”

Mary Lyons and Andrew Brown visit during the season opener at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Pacific Chorale platinum season sponsor Mary Lyons and Pacific Chorale President & CEO Andrew Brown at season opener at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
(Courtesy of Doug Gifford)

Additionally, Istad presented premiere performances of commissioned works including “The Stillness Chained” by Grammy-nominated former Chorale Composer-in-Residence Tarik O’Regan. Still another impressive premiere performance featured the composition of Damien Geter’s “Cantata for a More Hopeful Tomorrow.” Soprano Aundi Marie Moore starred with Pacific Symphony’s cellist Warren Hagerty accompanying.

Major support for the Pacific Chorale comes from ardent devotees Mary and Phillip Lyons and Ling and Charles Zhang.

Pacific Chorale member Vincent Hans, composer Tarik O'Regan and Pacific Chorale member Ryan Antal.
Pacific Chorale member Vincent Hans, composer Tarik O’Regan, and Pacific Chorale member Ryan Antal at Pacific Chorale season opener.
(Courtesy of Doug Gifford)

The community bids farewell to admired Chapman University leader Sheryl Bourgeois, executive vice president and chief advancement office of the University. Serving Chapman and the community for 24 years, Bourgeois has seen and contributed to the growth of the once small local college into an internationally recognized university. On Thursday, Chapman’s Wallace All Faiths Chapel hosted a reception honoring her service. Bourgeois’ career will now take on the role as president of the Simon Foundation for Education and Housing.

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