Jewish Family Service of San Diego raised a record-setting $1.25 million at its annual Heart & Soul Gala at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine on April 21.
Evelyn and Ernest Rady matched the donations of guests who raised their paddle during “Fund-a Mitzvah” to support JFS’s ongoing efforts to help people in crisis move forward, while developing innovative strategies to break cycles of poverty and strengthen the San Diego community.
“This year’s Heart & Soul Gala was an incredible celebration of our first 100 years, and an important beginning to our next 100 years,” said JFS CEO Michael Hopkins. “The support we have received from the community is deeply humbling and will provide the vital resources to help San Diegans build more stable, secure lives.”
With more than 600 guests, community leaders and partners in attendance, the event also celebrated the contributions of the 2018 Mitzvah Honorees, who represented the agency’s legacy of leadership by extraordinary women over the last 100 years:
- Marsha Berkson, a former JFS board member who founded the Hand Up Food Pantry, a successful youth leadership program designed to alleviate hunger in the community
- Jenny Daniel, an employment coordinator for JFS’s Refugee & Immigration Services Department responsible for helping hundreds of individuals and families restart their lives in San Diego
- Estee Einhorn, who served as one of the founding teens for the Hand Up Food Pantry, the hub for all food assistance programs at JFS
- Inge Feinswog for her significant contributions to the nonprofit’s programs that serve Holocaust Survivors and older adults
- Kira Finkenberg, a current JFS board member who also served as a Heart & Soul Gala chair for several years
- Evelyn Rady, for her longtime generous support of JFS and for her work as JFS’s former director of clinical services, overseeing the agency’s counseling and family support programs.
- Lois Richmond, a former board member and longtime supporter who first became involved with JFS through its Russian Resettlement program in the 1980s
- Jill Spitzer, who served as CEO of JFS for 26 years and helped the agency grow into the multi-faceted social service organization it is today
Organized by Gala Chairs Jamie Carr, Erin Combs Pearl and Karin Toranto, the Roaring Twenties-themed evening included dinner, dancing and a celebration of JFS’s 100-year history of work in the community.
More than 95 underwriters generously supported the event, including a longtime anonymous JFS donor as the Presenting Underwriter. Title Underwriters included Charitable Adult Rides & Services, Inc. (CARS), Marie G. Raftery and Dr. Robert A. Rubenstein, Vivien and Jeffrey Ressler, and Lois J. Richmond and family. Premier Underwriters included Joan and Irwin Jacobs, and the Loonin Family Fund. Dinner Underwriters included Liz Nederlander Coden and Daniel Coden, M.D., Hon. Lynn Schenk and Hugh Friedman, z’l, and U.S. Bank. Heart of the Family Underwriters included Marsha Berkson, Jamie, Bryce and Tyler Carr, the Cohn Family Foundation, Emily and Daniel Einhorn, Marcia Foster Hazan and Mark Cammell, Gary and Lisa Levine of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Arlene and Louis Navias, Karen and Jeffrey Silberman, Elyse K. Sollender, Sarah z”l and Nessim Tiano, and UC San Diego.
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