Fulfillment Fund Gala

Selena Gomez, Eva Longoria Join Disney’s Rich Ross, Madeleine and Tom Sherak, at Fulfillment Fund Gala


Following a frenzy of picture taking on the red carpet, Selena Gomez joined the 900 other guests gathering inside the Beverly Hilton’s ballroom for the Nov. 1 “Stars” Gala. The affair benefited the Fulfillment Fund, which provides mentoring and scholarships for promising, but disadvantaged students to help them achieve a college education.

(Considering the event took place the night before news broke about a paternity suit against Gomez’ boyfriend Justin Bieber, I can’t imagine the chaos that would have erupted had the world already known.) 

As others chatted over drinks, Gomez relaxed inside the reception area, taking a break from the mass of photographers shouting, “Selena, look here.” Looking glamorous in a one-shouldered, form-fitting cocktail frock, the charming star of “Wizards of Waverly Place” said she learned about the Fulfillment Fund from Rich Ross, the night’s honoree, and so, came to support Ross and the cause as well. Ross is chairman of The Walt Disney Studios.  

Prior to dinner, Ross said that after last year’s gala, he elected to learn more about the Fund, out of a belief in the importance of mentoring and in putting forth positive role models. “When there’s an active involvement in another person’s life, it makes such a huge difference,” he said.

Also honored that night were Tom Sherak and Madeleine Sherak, recipients of the Founders’ Humanitarian Award. Tom Sherak is president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. 

Dinner co-chairs consisted of Anne Sweeney, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks, and president of Disney/ABC Television group; Stacey Snider, principal partner, co-chairman and chief executive of DreamWorks Studios; Kevin Huvane, managing partner at Creative Artists Agency (CAA); producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Dr. Eric Esrailian. Also on hand were Eva Longoria of “Desperate Housewives,” Sidney Poitier and his wife Joanna, and the theatrical cast of “The Lion King,” who performed. The turnout was impressive. 

“From day one, the entertainment community has supported the Fulfillment Fund,” said Gary Gitnick, the charity’s founder, noting that he also worked with Disney 34 years ago. “We’ve come full cycle. Tonight we’re working with Disney again,” he said, adding, “Every studio in town has supported us.”

Indeed, when Sinbad conducted the auction, bids to sponsor scholarships came not only from folks in the audience, but they also came on behalf of absent industry heavyweights, including Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.

Jason Segel played host, his credits including “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Muppets.” Kermit the Frog accompanied Segel at the podium, and for good reason.

“The only way to honor the head of the movie studio is to promote the movie,” said Kermit.    

Speakers also included Andrea Cockrum, chief executive of the Fulfillment Fund; Norma Dominguez, a Fund alumna and graduate of Brown and Harvard; and Fulfillment Fund student Edlyn Palafox.

Previous honorees at the Fulfillment Fund Gala have included Jim Gianopulos, Kathleen Rosenbloom and Chip Rosenbloom, Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann, Thomas Tull, Marc Shmuger, Tom Rothman, Brian Grazer, Amy Pascal, Paula and Sumner Redstone, Megan and Peter Chernin, Sheri and Les Biller, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Robert Iger, Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Rupert Murdoch, Barbara Lazaroff and Wolfgang Puck, Candy and Aaron Spelling, Darlene and Steven Fogel and Jackie and Howard Banchik.

Photos, from top: “Wizards of Waverly Place” star Selena Gomez; Fulfillment Fund founder Gary Gitnick with honoree Rich Ross; emcee of the Fulfillment Fund Gala Jason Segel with Kermit the Frog.




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Fulfillment Fund Gala

Published Nov. 2, 2011, Updated Nov. 4, 2011 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA