Children’s Defense Fund California Gala 2014

Matt Barnes, Chase Moore
Matt Barnes, Chris Messina, Jordana Brewster, John Boyega, Conan O’Brien, Kamala Harris and J.J. Abrams Salute Students Who Beat the Odds

 

 

The event: Most Los Angeles awards dinners pay tribute to Hollywood stars, VIP business leaders or big-time philanthropists. But at the Children’s Defense Fund-California’s “Beat the Odds” dinner, the VIPs and stars turned out to celebrate five outstanding high school students.

The scene: From the podium, co-chair Conan O’Brien said he’d been asked to thank supporters for coming to Culver City for the Dec. 4 affair at the BookBindery. “No one says ‘Thanks for coming to Beverly Hills,’” O’Brien noted, before pointing out that the venue – once used by the University of California system to bind books – made perfect sense for this fundraiser.

The Children's Defense Fund host its 23rd Annual 'Beat the Odds'
“Given our connection to education, and the fact that our honorees will be pursuing college degrees,” he continued, “I think it’s very appropriate to spend some time in a place that has played a supporting role in educating so many Angelenos over the years,” calling the association “very cool.”

The crowd: Brad Paisley, Timothy Olyphant…

 

Click here to read my whole story in the “All the Rage” section of the Los Angeles Times. To see more pictures, scroll down this page to the photo gallery; and here’s one other thought…

Event co-chair J.J. Abrams, one of the leaders in this charity’s fundraising efforts, is the director of two “Star Treks,” as well as the much-anticipated “Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens.” Not only is there evidence of the film’s high anticipation levels in the tens of millions of hits on the internet for the movie’s trailer, but on this night, it was also hard to miss the cluster of fans awaiting Abrams outside by the valet stand, hoping for autographs, their “Star Wars” memorabilia in hand.

 

Brad Paisley, Kimberly Williams Paisley, Kevin Nealon, Susan Yeagley, J.J. Abrams, Katie McGrath
Top photo: Los Angeles Clipper Matt Barnes takes a selfie with honoree Chase Moore at the “Beat the Odds” Children’s Defense Fund California Gala (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ ABImages)

Second photo: CDF president Marian Wright Edelman, third from left, with honorees from left, Chase Moore, Elizabeth Lopez, Timothy Walker, Sequoia Canada and Zachary Byrge at the “Beat the Odds” Children’s Defense Fund California Gala (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ ABImages)

Third photos: From left, Brad Paisley, Kimberly Williams Paisley, Kevin Nealon, Susan Yeagley, J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath at the “Beat the Odds” Children’s Defense Fund California Gala (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ ABImages)

Fourth photo: Jordana Brewster of “The Fast and The Furious” films was among awards presenters at the “Beat the Odds” Children’s Defense Fund California Gala (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ ABImages)

 

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Children’s Defense Fund California Gala 2014

Ellen Olivier, Society News LA