Fulfillment Fund Gala Prepares for Waterworks

By Irene Lacher October 25, 2007, 5:50 PM EDT

Silverware? Check. Dishes? Check. Centerpiece? Check. Kleenex? Kleenex?

At the Beverly Hilton for the Fulfillment Fund's “Stars 2007” gala on October 23, the charity gave guests boxes of tissues branded with its name. Andrea Cockrum, the educational organization’s longtime C.E.O., cooked up the idea in anticipation of the response to the address by keynote speaker Claudia Bonilla. The former Fulfillment Fund student told the sold-out crowd of 1,050 about her journey from a youth marked by poverty, gangs, depression, and cutting to becoming her family’s first college grad and an accountant for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“In her 20 years of working for us, Andrea Cockrum has always said that she can’t leave a Fulfillment Fund event without guests being very emotional,” special event director Stacy Kravitz said. “Our goal is really to inspire people so we can have a huge financial success but also have them call in after the event to become mentors.”

Apparently, the Kleenex did the job. The 30th anniversary dinner, which honored Universal Pictures chairman Marc Shmuger and Fulfillment Fund cofounders Cherna and Gary Gitnick, raised more than $2.7 million. The evening also featured a high-energy performance by Jamie Foxx. Angel City Designs handled decor and production, with the help of such vendors as florist Eggs L.A., Kinetic Lighting, event coordinator Levy, Pazanti & Associates, and publicity firm Katy Sweet & Associates.

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