The Valley Line: Hillsides fundraiser glitters for children in need

March 09, 2011|By Jane Napier Neely
  • LCF residents Henri and Donna Ford, photographed with Susan and Dr. Drew Pinsky at the Hillsides Charity Event. Donna Ford was chair of the evening themed "Diamonds are Forever."
LCF residents Henri and Donna Ford, photographed with…

Our little piece of the world warmed up this past weekend. After a couple of weeks of very chilly weather, rain storms and a dusting of snow, the sun came out. Weather seemed to be the main topic when I met people in my usual weekend course of running errands and attending social events. Everyone seemed to be so thrilled to feel the warmth of the sun — me too, by the way.


The glitter and sparkle of diamonds seemed to be everywhere recently when Hillsides, a Pasadena-based residential treatment facility and charity serving vulnerable children and families held its annual fund-raising gala at a private downtown club known for its elegant traditional décor and fine food.

The black-tie event was chaired by La Cañada Flintridge resident Donna Ford, who also serves on the Hillsides board. It was a dazzling evening, and $370,000 was raised.

When Ford was asked to serve as the charity’s benefit chair, she said the thought of choosing a theme seemed daunting. “However, when I thought of the children who are served by Hillsides, diamonds immediately came to mind.


“Diamonds are the strongest, most beautiful and sought after stones in the world. They come in many shapes, sizes and colors, representing not only the diversity of the population Hillsides serves but, also, the range of services provided by the charity. Like the process of unveiling the brilliant diamond and its appreciated value, the uncut and unpolished gem has to be handled by specialists who are able to reveal the true jewel that lies beneath,” said Ford.

The event was a showcase for many unique and exceptional silent and live auction items that the formally dressed guests were eager to bid on.

As guests made the rounds of the silent auction tables, they sipped the evening’s signature drink, Kir Royale. They also sampled hors d’ouvres of smoked salmon with diamond shaped tidbits of caviar and crème fraiche, roasted red bell pepper bisque in crystal shot glasses and chicken gyoza with a tangy orange sauce.

When guests were seated in the wood-paneled dining room, with its beautiful crystal chandeliers, the live auction items were projected on large screens.

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