Conservation, education and restoration are always top of mind for Crystal Cove Alliance supporters, but on Sept. 26, more than 400 individuals enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate the nonprofit’s efforts spanning the last year at the stunning setting they work to preserve. The Moonlight Gala, held at sunset on a bluff overlooking Crystal Cove, is the organization’s 13th annual fundraising event. A cocktail hour treated guests to hors d’oeuvres from Fig & Olive as they bid on a wide range of silent auction items. They were then invited into a tent for a seated three-course dinner prepared by The Resort at Pelican Hill, as well as a live auction that featured items such as a private cruise along Crystal Cove’s Marine Protected Area. Other highlights of the evening included a performance by up-and-coming jazz singer Brenna Whitaker, a multimedia program showcasing the nonprofit’s successes and new initiatives, an opportunity drawing for a three-night stay in a historic beachfront cottage, and a band to entertain attendees as they danced the night away under the stars. The event raised more than $325,000 to help fund Crystal Cove Alliance’s programs and restoration efforts. —Allison Hata
Winston’s crown jewelers
Christmas spirits were sparkling at the inaugural holiday gala for Winston’s Crown Jewelers, which took place at the West Coast Highway boutique on Dec. 4. More than 200 guests on the red carpet toasted to a new tradition with raspberry-infused Champagne and enjoyed gourmet hors d’oeuvres. An elegant diamond-shaped luge with the Winston’s emblem poured signature martinis for attendees.
After enjoying a few of those martinis, guests strolled over to the festive photo booth to capture the excitement of the evening. Throughout the evening, guests were also able to peruse the jewels in the display cases. A band played as everyone celebrated the season with family and friends. —Newport Beach Magazine staff
Show & Luncheon
Fashion and philanthropy collided during the Harvesters Fashion Show & Luncheon, which celebrated its 23rd annual event at Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Oct. 7. Benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, the day began with a Champagne reception, where 400 attendees bid on silent auction items like jewelry, exotic getaways and designer accessories. At the fashion show, event co-chairs Susan Croul and Melissa Knode welcomed the group with Nicole Suydam, CEO of Second Harvest, before models in Barbara Bui, Fendi, Lanvin, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino and Versace took to the runway. After a fall-inspired luncheon, underwriters attended an elegant after-party at Center Club. Though the event is lighthearted, it serves an important mission: This year, organizers raised $675,000 for the food bank. The impressive sum pushed the fashion show’s lifetime total to more than $6 million—that’s 1.6 million meals—donated to Harvesters’ legacy of feeding those in need. —Lauren Matich
What Dreams Are Made Of Benefit Gala
A pilot, video game developer and teacher took the stage at The Literacy Project’s What Dreams Are Made Of benefit gala, held Sept. 19 at Island Hotel. These individuals represented the dream careers for three graduates of the organization’s reading program, which assists struggling elementary school students in classrooms across Southern California. As more than 200 guests turned their eyes to the podium, the role models—Linda Clinard, Brian Fargo and Suzy Casey—helped their mentees share how learning reading skills brought them one step closer to their dreams. It was the highlight of an evening that also included a silent auction and cocktail reception; a Readers of Literacy presentation kicked off by former California Secretary of Education Marian Bergeson; and a dinner accompanied by a live auction. Following dinner, Disneyland representatives surprised even the event organizers when they announced The Literacy Project was the beneficiary of a $60,000 grant from the resort’s Million Dollar Dazzle program for Southern California nonprofits. The black-tie gala, chaired by Jeannie Lawrence and co-chaired by Lisa Torres, raised more than $125,000 in support of The Literacy Project. —A.H.