Concern Foundation Milks Block-Party Formula

Now in its 33rd year, the Concern Foundation's block party raised $1.5 million with a setup that echoed its past fund-raising celebrations.

By Rosalba Curiel July 18, 2007, 3:21 PM EDT

The Concern Foundation's Block Party
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When a nonprofit has the luxury of turning donated services away, as the Concern Foundation did for its 33rd annual block party on July 14, it’s usually an indication that something is going right. “We had people calling the day after [last year’s] event asking how they could get involved, and we had people calling last week wanting to participate,” said Derek Alpert, the foundation’s president. “We had to tell them there was no more space.”

With the foundation easily garnering the culinary services of more than 50 top Los Angeles restaurants and caterers, it appears the foundation has locked down a winning formula over its event's long history—and rather than tamper with it, Alpert and his team followed the pattern of past events.

The foundation hosted the event at the Paramount back lot for the seventh consecutive year, offering similar entertainment to last year’s event, including the return of four live entertainment stages (this year featuring the Tom Nolan Band, Chinatown Acrobats troupe, Fresh Green Jazz Band, and DJ Party Layne), a rock-climbing wall, and casino tables. Los Angeles magazine was also back as a partner for the third year in a row, celebrating its 2007 “Best of L.A.” issue with an on-site marketplace showcasing the magazine's editorial picks in such categories as spa services and golfing.

Among the new touches, this year’s theme—“ancient lands, hidden treasures"—manifested itself in the form of decor pieces such as sphinxes and Egyptian statues culled from movie sets, gyrating belly-dancers at the venue’s entrance, and a series of tents featuring a fortune teller, palm reader, and henna tattoo artists. This year also saw the debut of first-time restaurant participants including Fogo de Chão, Blue Velvet, and Buddha’s Belly, which served food alongside 10-year veteran contributors such as El Cholo, Lawry’s the Prime Rib, and Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs.

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