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The Crowd: Supporting sea, fighting brain disease

September 05, 2013|By B.W. Cook
  • Alexandra Cousteau, event co-chair Eve Kornyei Rufatto, Dennis Haysbert, event co-chair Valarie Van Cleave and Phillippe Cousteau at the Oceana's Sea Change event.
Alexandra Cousteau, event co-chair Eve Kornyei Rufatto,… (Ann Chatillon )

It is arguably the grandest party of the summer on the Orange Coast. Oceana's Sea Change event unfolded Aug. 18 at the spectacular Mediterranean estate of Karen and Bruce Cahill, attracting a chic crowd of some 500 residents dedicated to ocean conservation.

The al fresco evening welcomed entertainer Sheryl Crow performing for her enthusiastic audience. Guests felt like they were being entertained up close and personal in their home by a superstar.

The celebrity contingent was a tour de force element of the summer party. Actor Ted Danson went table to table shaking hands and thanking patrons for their support. Celebs like Mary Steenburgen, Dennis Haysbert, the voice of Allstate insurance who served as emcee for the evening, and a roster of young talent mingled with the crowd at the sixth annual Sea Change party, which raised an astonishing $1 million net in support of Oceana's international ocean conversation outreach.

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The biggest stars of the event were certainly chairwomen Eve Kornyei Ruffatto and Valarie Van Cleave, who pulled out all the stops to ensure the success of the night, rallying the most generous and most influential of Orange County's philanthropic crowd to step up to the plate.

It was a who's who attendance, including the presence of such glamorous patrons as Tricia Berns, Harriett Sandhu, Diana Martin, Sally Crockett, Mary Carrington and Leslie Cancellieri. Major support came from Bette and Wylie Aitken, Patti and Jim Edwards, Marie Gray, Michelle and Paul Janavs, Twyla and Chuck Martin, Lilly and Paul Merage, Joan Riach-Gayner, Jennifer and Anton Segerstrom, Sandy and David Stone, Joyce and Thomas Tucker, Valaree and Robert Wahler, and Jean and Tim Weiss, to name a few.

The evening paid special tribute to Oceana's Ocean Champions Alexandra and Phillippe Cousteau, the grandchildren of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Also honored was James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Connaughton served as President George W. Bush's senior staff advisor on environment, energy and natural resources.

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A Hole In One For Foster Youth

The fifth annual Eric Pepys' Memorial Golf Tournament unfolded on the greens of Santa Ana Country Club on Aug. 19. It benefited the Orangewood Children's Foundation, specifically funding the advance studies scholarship program for foster youth.

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