November 14, 2018

Moving and Shaking: Foster Mother’s Day, ‘Woman of the 21st Century’ award winner named

Jeanne Pritzker Photo courtesy of Foster Day Counts

More than 1,200 youths and their foster parents from Los Angeles County participated in Foster Mother’s Day on May 12, a day filled with food, carnival games, arts and crafts, and a clothing boutique and beauty.

Local philanthropist Jeanne Pritzker, whose family owns the Hyatt hotel chain, founded the nonprofit Foster Care Counts — which has been putting on Foster Mother’s Day in L.A. for the past five years — and was among those in attendance. The event was held at the Topanga Canyon home where she lives with her husband, Anthony

The organization aims to improve the lives of children in foster care and those transitioning out of the foster system by providing financial support, operational participation and public exposure to foster care organizations. The Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation has provided support for Foster Care Counts in addition to Jewish-related causes. 

Attendees included U.S. Rep. Karen Bass; cast members of the forthcoming ABC Family television show “The Fosters”; and news anchor Christine Devine, who has reported on issues of concern to the foster care community. More than 300 volunteers participated, and Nestle, ABC, Wolfgang Puck, Paul Mitchell, Jouer Cosmetics and Atlantic Express, which donated buses that transported the foster families to the Topanga Canyon site, were among the sponsors. 

The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and community-based organizations, including Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, were partners on the event.

“It’s really about acknowledging foster parents and foster mothers and the important and fantastic role they play with youth who need families. This was a day to nationally recognize those mothers and parents who play such a critical role in our community and often are overlooked,” said Winnie Wechsler, spokesperson for Foster Care Counts.

Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services recognized the contributions of two outstanding members of its board of directors — Mimi Feldman and Lori Wolf — during a ceremony on April 25.

A West Los Angeles-based agency that serves children living with special needs, Vista Del Mar awarded Feldman the Ruth Shuken Humanitarian Award. Wolf received the Visionary Award during the agency’s Women of Excellence awards luncheon. 

Feldman has sponsored events, including “dances, parties and celebrations” for clients of Vista Del Mar’s residential treatment program, according to a spokesperson. She has also donated a computer laboratory to its Baron School for Exceptional Children.

Wolf, meanwhile, is the third generation of her family to be “actively involved with Vista’s efforts on behalf of children,” serving as the co-chair of the agency’s leadership council and as assistant treasurer of the board, helping to raise money for the organization and more, the agency spokesperson said.

The event was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles, with KCBS/KCAL co-anchor Kaj Goldberg serving as master of ceremonies. 

The Women’s Guild Cedars-Sinai, which raises money to support innovation at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, has named Victoria Reggie Kennedy the recipient of its “Woman of the 21st Century” Award. 

Kennedy, a private sector attorney with public service and political experience, is the co-founder of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The institute, named for her late husband, is dedicated to educating the public about government, invigorating public discourse and more. Kennedy is president of its board of directors.

The award was presented to Kennedy during the Women’s Guild’s annual spring luncheon, which was held at the Beverly Hills Hotel on May 3. It was in given in recognition of her advocacy efforts. 

Attendees included philanthropist Geri Brawerman; actress and Women’s Guild member Morgan Fairchild; Women’s Guild President Lorette Gross; Women’s Guild Executive Vice President Gina Furth; event chairs Linda Zale and Daniele Worth-Ochoa; and fashion designer David Meister

Among the afternoon’s highlights was a fashion show featuring Meister’s designs and Fairchild’s presentation of the award to Kennedy.

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