March of Dimes Raises Record $1.2 Million At Annual Celebration of Babies: A Hollywood Luncheon
Jessica Alba Among 2015 Honorees
Los Angeles | Friday, December 4, 2015
Today, March of Dimes, the leading non-profit organization for pregnancy and baby health, raised a record $1.2 million at their annual March of Dimes Celebration of Babies®: A Hollywood Luncheon, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.
The 2015 honorees included actor and The Honest Company founder Jessica Alba, President of Universal Television Bela Bajaria and Michele Hakakha, M.D. for their various contributions to the cause. Celebration of Babies® is co-chaired by Jimmy Horowitz, President of Universal Pictures, and his wife Joi and Wyck Godfrey and his wife, Mary Kerr.
March of Dimes Celebration of Babies® brought together and recognized celebrities and prominent individuals in the entertainment community who are celebrating the recent birth of a child. March of Dimes mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
Jessica Alba received the 2015 March of Dimes Grace Kelly Award, which recognized her commitment to help families and give all babies the healthiest start in life. Alba is founder and chief creative officer of The Honest Company, which inspires and empowers people to live a healthy, happy life. Its growing portfolio includes more than 100 products across the categories of baby, personal care, home care, vitamins & supplements, beauty and more. Since its inception in 2012, the mission-driven Company has donated over 750,000 products and over 7,000 employee volunteer hours to help more than 120,000 children and 90,000 families. She is also an actress, advocate and New York Times bestselling author.
“It’s an honor to be recognized with the March of Dimes Grace Kelly Award,” said Alba. “I’m fortunate to have two healthy children, but not everyone has the same opportunity to thrive. One in ten babies are born preterm in the United States and premature birth is now the leading global cause of death for children under five years old. I’m proud to support March of Dimes and their ongoing fight to improve the health of moms and give every baby the healthiest start in life possible.”
Bela Bajaria, President, Universal Television, was honored by March of Dimes as the 2015 Inspiring Woman of the Year for her accomplishments as a leader in the entertainment industry and as a dedicated mother. Bela is an active community leader dedicating her time and resources to improving the lives of children in Los Angeles.
“I am honored to represent parents everywhere and be chosen as March of Dimes Inspiring Woman of the Year,” said Bajaria. “The work of March of Dimes has long resonated around the world in providing vital health care to those in need and has a legacy of far-reaching global impact few non-profits have achieved. They continue to make a huge difference.”
Dr. Michele Hakakha, board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, was honored with the 2015 March of Dimes Prematurity Champion Award, for her dedication and special interest in caring for patients with high-risk pregnancies. She is an award-winning OBGYN, and an active member of both the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association. Dr. Hakakha also co-authored Expecting 411: Clear Answers and Smart Advice for Your Pregnancy, now in its 3rd edition – the first pregnancy book written by two physicians (an OBGYN and a pediatrician) who are also mothers.
“I am honored to be the inaugural March of Dimes Prematurity Champion,” said Hakakha. “I see in my own practice the heart-wrenching impacts of babies born too soon. Babies who survive an early birth often face serious and lifelong health problems, including cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, chronic lung disease, blindness and hearing loss. I am proud to support the March of Dimes campaign to end preterm birth. Through advocacy, research and education, March of Dimes is helping more and more families have full-term, healthy babies.”
President of Universal Pictures and event co-chair Jimmy Horowitz said: “As parents of a premature baby, we know the heartache and the joy parents’ experience. The work of March of Dimes is vital. Joi and I are proud to be longtime supporters. I am confident Hollywood will continue its generous support of Celebration of Babies which provides March of Dimes critical resources to continue their work on behalf of all babies and their moms.”
Producer and event co-chair Wyck Godfrey added: “Mary and I are honored to support March of Dimes and shine a light on this devastating health crisis. We look forward to Celebration of Babies every year. Hollywood can show its love and support of these three fortunate moms, Jessica Alba, Bela Bajaria and Dr. Hakakha, and in turn help give babies everywhere a fighting chance.”
Nick Cannon served as master of ceremonies for the exclusive luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
Event co-chairs included: Nicole A. Avant and Ted Sarandos, Yael and Scooter Braun, Kate and Paul Brooks, Risa and Cyril Drabinsky, Robert Greenblatt, Sheri and Mike Hopkins, Mindy Kaling, Donna Langley and Ramin Shamshiri, Mira and Brian Lee, Kelly and Ron Meyer, Kevin Reilly, Shannon and Michael Rotenberg, Laura and Jeff Shell, and Molly Sims and Scott Stuber.
Host committee members included: Tracy Anderson, Amanda Anka and Jason Bateman, Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, Lauren and Jason Blum, Catherine and Marty Bowen, Jordana Brewster and Andrew Form, Liza Chasin and Matthew Velkes, Cindy Crawford, Terry Crews, Clar and Warren Dern, Marissa, Devins and Matt Rice, Vera Farmiga and Renn Hawkey, Tina Fey, Julia Franz and Chris Silbermann, Alex and Brad Fuller, Sean Hayes and Scott Icenogle, Michael Kives, Ashley and David Kramer, Jennifer Lopez, Amy Poehler, Richard Weitz, Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth, Rachel Zoe and Rodger Berman, and Carrie and Bill Zotti.
March of Dimes has long-standing ties to the Hollywood community. Since its founding in 1938, supporters over the years have included Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Eddie Cantor, Grace Kelly, Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz and Sammy Davis Jr., to name a few.
About March of Dimes
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.