Laura’s House Gala at Newport Beach Country Club Raises $700K

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Guests enjoying cocktail reception and silent auction at the Laura’s House 27th Annual Gala on Oct. 2, 2021, at Newport Beach Country Club / photo by Bleu Cotton photography

More than 300 supporters of Laura’s House, a Southern California nonprofit organization providing domestic violence-related services, came together at the Newport Beach Country Club on Oct. 2 to mark its 27th Anniversary.

Themed, “Never Rock Alone,” the guests raised more than $700,000 for services benefiting domestic violence victims, including residential shelter services, counseling and legal services, and prevention and community outreach programs among others. Funds raised also will support the “The Power of the Journey” capital campaign for the new Laura’s House Domestic Violence Resource Center in Aliso Viejo, Orange County’s first multi-service collaborative focused on holistic domestic violence-related services.

“Yet again, we are so grateful for our passionate community of Laura’s House supporters who rose to the challenge and donated more than $700,000 during this year’s gala event, our largest annual fundraiser,” said Margaret Bayston, CEO and executive director of Laura’s House. “These resources are critical to enabling Laura’s House to thrive in its new headquarters, offering a host of new support services and helping break the cycle of domestic violence for even more victims in Orange County, which disturbingly is seeing one of the highest incidence rates in the country.”

(L-to-R) Michael K. Hayde, chairman of the board and CEO, Western National Group; Laura Khouri, president, Western National Property Management and Laura’s House gala chair Margaret Bayston, CEO and executive director, Laura’s House; Richard Bayston, principal, RIB-Consulting at the Laura’s House 27th Annual Gala on Oct. 2, 2021, 2021, at Newport Beach Country Club / photo by Bleu Cotton Photography

Event speakers included opening remarks from master of ceremonies Mike Shumard, gala chair Laura Khouri and Margaret Bayston. The “Power of the Journey” Capital Campaign Committee co-chairs, Wayne Pinnell and Cheryl Osborn, announced that $5.8 of the $10 million Capital Campaign goal has been raised to-date, due in part to a recent $250,000 donation from Robert Olson, president of R.D. Olson Development, which was announced at the event.

In the most powerful moment of the evening, a Laura’s House graduate introduced the annual “Rebuild a Life” auction while sharing a heartfelt testimonial about how Laura’s House empowered her to break the cycle of domestic violence and reclaim her life. This moment alone inspired $265,000 of the evening’s proceeds.

Classic cars on display as guests arrived at the Laura’s House 27th Annual Gala on Oct. 2, 2021, at Newport Beach Country Club

Marla Robinson of Merhab Robinson & Clarkson, Law Corporation was presented with the Laura’s House Crystal Heart Award and honored for her dedication, commitment and tremendous support of the Laura’s House mission. For more than a decade, Robinson has generously provided pro bono legal counsel and other services advocating for Laura’s House.

The event featured entertainment from lively swing dance performers and the Sensation Show Band. Fundraising activities comprised a silent auction filled with luxury items, beautiful artwork, curated gift baskets, unique vacation experiences and a selection of fine wines generously donated by Trinitas Cellars.

(L-to-R) Margaret Bayston, CEO and executive director, Laura’s House; Marla Robinson, attorney at Merhab Robinson & Clarkson, Law Corporation and Laura’s House 2021 Crystal Heart Award winner; Laura Khouri, Laura’s House gala chair at the Laura’s House 27th Annual Gala on Oct. 2, 2021, at Newport Beach Country Club / photo by Bleu Cotton Photography

The live auction featured one-of-a-kind experiences and items including a private box at the Honda Center to see a James Taylor concert; a “Night Out on Newport Bay” package starting with appetizers at The Cannery followed by a private Duffy boat cruise to Louie’s on the Bay for a three-course meal; a one week stay at the luxurious Park Plaza Hotel in Beaver Creek, Colorado; a one week stary in Maui, Hawaii at the Kaanapali Alii resort; a one-of-a-kind SWAT training experience with Sherriff Don Barnes; and a selection of stunning Sloane Street jewelry pieces.

Presenting sponsors for the 2021 gala included Laura Khouri and Michael K. Hayde. Multi-Platinum Sponsors included Lisa Argyros – Argyros Family Foundation and the Nancy and Geoffrey Stack Family Foundation. Platinum Album Sponsors include Steve Eichler and Maria Kulakova; The Jacqueline Glass, Born and James Families; Donna and Dick Pickup and the Thompson Foundation. Gold Album Sponsors include Farmers & Merchants Bank; Gochnauer Family Foundation; Haskell & White LLP; MaryPat and Kent Lucas/Lucas Development Corp.; Merhab Robinson Clarkson Law Corporation and ShurDry Restoration. Silver Album Sponsors include Patty Cyr; the Frome Family Foundation; the Hogan Family; IHP; Marsh McLennan Agency; Jim Murray Roofing; Rainbow Sandals; R.D. Olson Development; US Bank and Casey Wolin.

Laura’s House was established in 1994 to deliver domestic violence services throughout Orange County and the surrounding regions of Southern California. The organization’s mission is changing social beliefs, attitudes and the behaviors that perpetuate domestic violence while creating a safe space in which to empower individuals and families affected by abuse. Over the past 27 years, Laura’s House has provided shelter with support services to approximately 6,200 abused men, women, and children and non-residential direct services including 24-hour crisis intervention, counseling, life skills education, and legal assistance to nearly 68,000 persons.

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(L-to-R) Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, Laura’s House board vice chair and wife Marilyn Barnes at the Laura’s House 27th Annual Gala on Oct. 2, 2021, at Newport Beach Country Club / photo by Bleu Cotton Photography
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