The Crowd: Fundraiser helps summer camp programs

July 29, 2011|By B.W. Cook
  • STAR POWER: MDA chair Frank Di Bella and celebrity emcee Jann Carl flank Abbey Umali at MDA gala at The Island Hotel, Newport Beach.
STAR POWER: MDA chair Frank Di Bella and celebrity emcee… (Laurie Veitch,…)

It is one of the most passionate charity events on the Orange Coast. The Muscular Dystrophy Assn.'s annual Gift of Hope Gala raised more than $430,000 at its 16th annual celebration earlier this summer.

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens was honored as the MDA's Woman of the Year.

More than 250 dedicated donors, led by event Chairman Frank DiBella and National Goodwill Ambassador and performer Abbey Umali, converged upon the Island Hotel in Newport Beach to raise funds needed to sponsor MDA programs, most notably its Summer Camp programs. Umali wowed the crowd by singing a Rascal Flatts' song, which helped raise the temperature in the ballroom that translated into donations topping $130,000 for youth camping programs.

Super O.C. donor S. Paul Musco and his classy wife, Marybelle, added another $20,000 to the summer camp tally. The Muscos have been closely involved with MDA for years, supporting the efforts of friend DiBella, as well as the lifelong campaign of another friend, entertainer Jerry Lewis.


Musco has also been instrumental in fostering a close relationship with Lewis and Chapman University, where Lewis' daughter is a student and also where the Muscos are heading a major capital campaign to raise funds for the Chapman Performing Arts Center to be built on campus.

Founded in 1955, the MDA Summer Camp program has assisted some 4,000 children with neuromuscular disease to experience a joyful summer respite at 90 camps nationwide. MDA covers the full cost of $600 per child raised from events such as the recent gala in Newport Beach.

Adding to the evening's prestige was emcee Jann Carl, former co-anchor of "Entertainment Tonight." Patrons enjoyed a gourmet dinner with entertainment by Tino Productions.

A remarkable evening at the Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach last week welcomed some extraordinary young people from all over the Pacific region. The Boys & Girls Clubs of America presented the 65th annual Pacific Region Youth of the Year Competition. It brought together kids displaying academic achievement, school and community service, and evidence of overcoming obstacles and challenges in their young lives.

Some $11,000 in college scholarships were awarded, underwritten by national sponsor Tupperware Brands Corp. Honored youth from all over America will land in Washington, D.C., in September to compete for national recognition and a potential addition of $50,000 in scholarship funding from the Rick and Susan Goings Foundation.

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