Children’s Bureau’s inaugural Blue Tie Gala, held on November 4, 2017 at the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica, raised over $520,000! True to its theme, Sky’s the Limit, this year’s sold-out event is a reminder that anything is possible when families and communities unite to prevent child abuse.

As the 350 guests arrived sharply dressed in their blue cocktail attire, they posed for photos on the blue carpet before heading inside to the VIP Reception and cocktail hour. The evening kicked off with the opportunity to mingle, admire and bid on masterpieces created by Children’s Bureau’s talented preschoolers, and listen to live music by BAND and whet their appetites on scrumptious tray-passed delicacies from Julie Picco at The Restaurant at The Getty, Border Grill’s Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, Kajsa Alger of Blue Window and the chefs at Huntington Hospitality. The unique appetizers, such as miso glazed drop biscuits with caramelized pork belly, Peruvian ceviche and congee with shiitake mushrooms and Chinese sausage, were paired with wines from Blue Oasis, Chappellet Vineyard and Winery and Freemark Abbey, among others. A silent auction also took place during the cocktail hour, where guests bid on remarkable items such as a luxurious weekend getaway in Palm Springs, a pearl necklace and a fine art canvas portrait.

Following the cocktail hour and silent auction, guests were escorted to their tables to dine under a canopy of vintage aircrafts from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Atop the ornately adorned tables sat in-flight dining menus, stylistically themed after plane tickets, that announced the gourmet, two-course dinner. The first course, prepared by Steve Samson of Sotto and Rossoblu, was a decadent Maltagliati pasta dish topped with octopus and heirloom beans, paired with Ramey Chardonnay. The second course, a braised Holstein Beef stracotto with creamy polenta and coffee-roasted carrots, was prepared by Bruce Kalman of Union Restaurant in Pasadena. The tender beef was complemented perfectly with The Chemist, a spicy red wine from Fiftyrow and Smokescreen.

As dinner was being served, emcee Eric Daroca introduced the program for the evening. Event Chair Julia Stewart introduced Mark Carlin, a member of Children’s Bureau’s board for almost two decades, who then presented the evening’s honoree, Children’s Bureau CEO and President Alex Morales, with an award for his impressive accomplishments.

Morales’ visionary leadership has guided the 113-year-old nonprofit to pioneer efforts in the child abuse prevention and treatment arena that has impacted thousands of vulnerable children and families both locally and nationwide.  Morales began at Children’s Bureau in 1988 as the associate director and was promoted in 1994 to president & CEO.  His leadership helped Children’s Bureau be ahead of the times, most notably in the area of child abuse prevention.  By giving young families the tools, resources and support they need at the very beginning of their journey, risk factors are mitigated and abuse is stopped from occurring in the first place.  Today, Children’s Bureau is one of the largest investors in child abuse prevention in the country.

One of the many families that Children’s Bureau has helped is the Correa family, who were present at the event. Jocelyne Correa was invited to bravely take the stage and share her testimonial. Guests were reminded of the tangible impact of their contributions in improving the lives of at-risk children, and were then asked to “dig even deeper” to donate during the fund-a-need call to action. A testament to the profound work that Children’s Bureau does every day, the fund-a-need paddle raise generated $146,000.

After the program, the band resumed playing and guests made their way to the dessert reception. The three dessert stations were helmed by Jane Soudah of Eveleigh, Jessie Liu of Providence and Joanne Ponvanit of The Restaurant at The Getty. These accomplished pastry chefs wowed guests with their creations, which included curry chocolate truffles, lemon-honey tartlets and a s’mores campfire built with pretzels and other sweet delights. Accompanying the treats were glasses of dessert wine and Philz Coffee meant to invigorate guests to finish the night on the dance floor and celebrate having done their part to help families and communities thrive.

Because when we all come together for such a worthy cause, the Sky’s the Limit.