Laura’s House Celebrates 25 Years with Gala

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Laura’s House Board of Directors pose for a photo at the Sept. 7 gala at Island Hotel in Newport Beach: (back row, left to right) Kerry Strunk, Anne MacPherson, Linda Lam, Sam Quigley, Richard Lutzy, Sheriff Don Barnes, Kellie Kremer, Casey Wolin, Brenda Zelke, and Wayne Pinnell; (front row, left to right) Margaret Bayston, Laura Khouri, Meg Lehmann, and Pat McAuley.
— Photo by Bleu Cotton Photography ©

Nearly 400 supporters of Laura’s House, a Southern California nonprofit organization providing domestic violence-related services, came together to celebrate its 25th anniversary on Sept. 7 at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach.

Themed “25 Years of Silver Linings,” officials reported that the gala netted $835,000 for services benefiting domestic violence victims, spanning residential shelter services, counseling and legal services, as well as prevention and community outreach programs.

During the program, Laura’s House CEO and Executive Director Margaret Bayston unveiled the nonprofit’s strategic goal to fill a countywide gap in services by bringing a one-stop unified resource for all those touched by domestic violence. Laura’s House is endeavoring to bring a new center to Aliso Viejo, which will be Orange County’s first, multi-service collaborative focused on domestic violence-related services.

(left to right) Cheryl Ball, gala chair, and Margaret Bayston, CEO and executive director of Laura’s House at the Sept. 7 event at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach.
— Photo by Bleu Cotton Photography ©

“We are grateful to be celebrating a quarter century of impact with our incredible staff, donors, volunteers, and other supporters who year after year have rallied behind our mission of inspiring hope and empowering change to end domestic violence, and given us the means to carry out our important life-changing work,” said Bayston. “It’s humbling to see support and love for our 25th anniversary, but we do not rest on our laurels. With a vision for the new Laura’s House center, we are reaffirming our commitment to domestic violence survivors and striving to expand our reach and impact in the community for generations to come.”

The soirée opened with a cocktail reception and silent auction filled with luxury items, experiences and a selection of fine wine. Guests were then ushered into the Island Hotel ballroom and welcomed with opening remarks by Bayston and Gala Chair Cheryl Ball. Guests also enjoyed Trinitas Wine and a Voluspa table favor.

A highlight of the program included powerful testimonials from two survivors who bravely opened up about their traumatic experiences and shared how Laura’s House was able to help them change the course of their lives for the better. Laura’s House also recognized two longtime supporters, Laura Khouri and Michael Hayde from Western National Group, with a Crystal Heart Award in appreciation for their extraordinary commitment and contributions to the nonprofit.

A spontaneous moment in the evening occurred when Khouri and Hayde announced a gift of $1 million. The contribution kickstarts and supports the nonprofit’s journey to raise the critical funds needed to make the new Aliso Viejo facility a reality. Hayde also matched all live auction and “Rebuild a Life” donations made to Laura’s House, amounting to an additional $300,000 donation in honor of his wife, Khouri.

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(left to right) Laura Khouri, president of Western National Property Management and Laura’s House board chair, and Michael Hayde, chairman of the board and CEO of Western National Group at the Sept. 7 event at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach.
— Photo by Bleu Cotton Photography ©
Table setting and décor at the 25th anniversary gala for Laura’s House on Sept. 7 at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach.
— Photo by Bleu Cotton Photography ©
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