Guests at Hillsides annual benefit, the Centennial Gala, raised $655,000 for vulnerable children and families living in Los Angeles County, far exceeding the amount raised in previous years.   On Saturday night, February 23, a sold-out crowd of more than 600 filled the ballroom of the iconic The Langham Huntington, Pasadena to celebrate the charity’s 100 years of service and to enjoy an evening of spectacular entertainment and fine dining.

“I can’t thank our supporters enough for making the gala an incredible success,” said Joseph M. Costa, Hillsides chief executive officer.  “The funds raised will allow Hillsides to continue to create lasting change in the lives of at-risk children, youth, and families.   This overwhelming outpouring of generosity is the best birthday present Hillsides could ever receive.”

Elizabeth Rusnak Arizmendi, Rusnak Auto Group Vice President of Public Relations and chair of the event, kicked off the evening by introducing the presenters who awarded Dr. Drew Pinsky of “Celebrity Rehab” fame and NBC4 Weatherman Fritz Coleman special “Hillsides Centennial” awards for all the hard work they do for the charity.  Tiffany Company of Pasadena generously donated the hand-cut crystal awards that were also given later in the evening to Emmy award-winning actress Jean Smart, comedian George Lopez, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Marcus Allen, and Paul Rusnak, Chairman/CEO of Rusnak Auto Group.

Presenters for the honorees were Colleen Williams, NBC4 anchor, Mike Catherwood, co-host of “Loveline,” NFL football players Willie Gault and Jason David, Robert C. Smith, CEO of Allied High Tech Company, Actress Kristen Renton, and Arizmendi.

“Hillsides Centennial Gala was truly a magical evening transformed into a winter wonderland with bursts of color everywhere once the new logo was unveiled,” said Arizmendi. “The honorees were extraordinary, the entertainers were flawless, the bidders were extremely generous, and the winners were the children and families served by this exceptional organization.”