A sold-out crowd gathered at the Fulfillment Fund's19th Annual STARS Gala to honor Chris Meledandri, Sidney Poitier, and Josh Klinefelter.
The International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel was standing-room-only on Wednesday, Oct. 23 for the Fulfillment Fund's 19th Annual STARS Gala honoring Illumination Entertainment Founder and CEO Chris Meledandri, Academy Award© winning actor Sidney Poitier, and Fulfillment Fund Board Member Josh Klinefelter.
The event raised more than $1.8 million for the Fulfillment Fund's life-changing college access programs.
The evening was hosted by Ed Helms, and special surprise guest and “Despicable Me" star Steve Carell presented the STARS honor to Chris Meledandri. Fulfillment Fund Co-Founders Dr. Gary Gitnick and Cherna Gitnick presented the honors to Poitier and Klinefelter.
Guests--including Dave Grohl, Miranda Cosgrove, Benjamin Bratt and Allison Janney--were treated to a one-of-a-kind performance by Grammy Award© winning artist Pharrell Williams, supported by a student choir from Hamilton High School, a Fulfillment Fund partner school, with a surprise appearance by rapper T.I.
Another highlight of the evening was a presentation by Fulfillment Fund scholar Jahvry Bailous, a 2013 graduate of Temple University, who was introduced by Fulfillment Fund CEO Kenny Rogers.
Event co-chairs included Heather and Skip Brittenham, Megan and Peter Chernin, Dr. Melina Esrailian and Dr. Eric Esrailian, Hillary and Adam Fogelson, Cherna and Dr. Gary Gitnick, Sally Whitehill and Mark Gordon, Kelly and Ron Meyer, Lona Williams and David O'Connor, Donna Langley and Ramin Shamshiri and Madeleine and Tom Sherak.
The Fulfillment Fund hosts a variety of events each year to raise funds and build awareness for the organization. In addition to the STARS Benefit Gala, events include The Songs of Our Lives concert, The Dream Concert (past performers include Chris Cornell and David A. Stewart, formerly of Eurythmics) and Taste of Summer.