A Gala celebration held on April 24, 2019 at the Pacific Gallery at the Long Beach Convention Center, attracted more than 350 supporters to celebrate WomenShelter of Long Beach and the important work that they do. Setting the evening’s theme of “Lead With Love,” Rita Castillo sang “Rise Up” by Andra Day while 4 Level Interchange provided cool fusion jazz throughout the evening. WSLB Board Vice President Freeman Welch did his usual great job as Master of Ceremonies.
The event began with a warm welcome to all from Mayor Robert Garcia. The Mayor spoke to the numerous free supportive services that WomenShelter of Long Beach provides to the community and thanked everyone for supporting this important Organization.
WSLB President Kristi Fischer and L.B. Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Randy Gordon took the stage to conduct a lively “Fund-a-Need” auction that garnered over $42,000. Add in the proceeds of the silent auction, sponsorships, opportunity drawing and
the rest, the evening grossed more than $160,000 to support WomenShelter’s many supportive programs!
“Proceeds from the event will help give our many domestic violence survivors a fresh start by enabling us to provide them with a variety of supportive services, including safe, confidential housing while they work to overcome the trauma they’ve been through,” said WomenShelter Executive Director Mary Ellen Mitchell. “We can’t thank the community and our sponsors enough for their generous support. They are all truly leading with love.”
Following a delicious dinner, WSLB’s Awards presentations began. Former LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell presented the Protector Award to L.B. Police Chief Robert Luna and the L.B. Police Department’s Domestic Violence Detail. As Chief Luna and the Detail came on stage, they received a standing ovation. The LBPD DV Detail are the officers who respond to domestic violence related calls. They have been trained in the nuances of abuse and know how to diffuse a violent situation. They lead with love — for the victim and they work closely with WomenShelter and other agencies to ensure that victims get the help and protection that they need and deserve.
Daniel Munzer and his family received the Philanthropist Award presented to them by Sister Celeste Trahan of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, St. Mary’s Medical Center. The Munzer Family received this honor because of their ongoing generosity and support of WomenShelter and numerous other non-profits throughout the community. In 2018 alone, the Munzer Foundation made $2.75 million in grants, almost all in Long Beach, to three dozen nonprofits. The Munzer family has done all they do with love — love and concern for the advancement of children and the families that support them.
Long Beach’s own, former Mayor Beverly O’Neill, presented WSLB’s Legacy Award to U. S. Congressman Alan Lowenthal. Congressman Lowenthal is well known as a champion of the people, fighting for cleaner air, cleaner water and more. He has been just as passionate in his defense of victims — victims of discrimination and victims of violence. Especially domestic violence. He truly leads with love every day.
WSLB Board members Deputy City Prosecutor for the City of Long Beach, Stephanie Dowds and Deputy District Attorney for the City of Los Angeles, Mike Vela closed the evening by selecting the winner of the Opportunity Drawing. The prize, won by lucky lady Gail Wasil, was a wonderful Hawaiian vacation including a 5-night stay in Maui and airfare on Hawaiian Airlines! Aloha Gail!!
The very special Premier Sponsor for the event was Michelle Molina. The Platinum Sponsors included the Long Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, and the Long Beach Hospitality Alliance. Additional sponsorships, in part, included AES, Lisa and Frank Chapman, Memorial Care-Long Beach, Port of Long Beach, Supervisor Janice Hahn, TABC-Toyota, Teak Catering, Physicians at Children’s and Women’s Hospital at LB Memorial, Downtown Long Beach Alliance, and the San Antonio Winery and Riboli Family.
Seen at the scene: Michelle Molina, LB City Prosecutor Doug Haubert and Lisa Haubert, Chris Laulhere, Cheri Bazley, Annette Kashiwabara, Mark Taylor and Melissa Infusino, Jim and Carol Preusch, Herlinda Chico, Celines Luna, Simon and Carla Grieve, John Bishop, Jane Nadeau, Charlie Bernie, Lisa and Frank Chapman, Dr. Minnie Douglas, Carl and Jeannine Schiermeyer, Olivia Maiser, Isa Rachad, Jennifer Kumiyama, Donna and Frank Skinner, Kraig Kojian, Abha and Anil Pandya, Stephen Woodward, and Page Henley
Dinner committee and WSLB Board members: Mayor Robert Garcia, Steve Goodling, Kristi Fischer and Joe Vanderhorst, Freeman Welch and Vicki Bruce, Carol Grabowski, MD, Jeane Caveness, Bruce Alton and Rick Alsagoff, Stephanie Dowds, M. Lissette Flores, Steve and Mary Hancock Hinds, Mike Vela, Claudette Baldemor, Randy Gordon (auctioneer), Jerry Miller and Gail Wasil, Freda Hinsche Otto and Doug Otto, Braden and Susan Phillips, Harry Saltzgaver, Lynn Shrum, John Thomas and Chris Launi, and Mary Ellen Mitchell and Javier Longoria Gonzalez.
This article was released by the WomenShelter of Long Beach.