3rd Annual Cape & Gown Gala Shines in Virtual Format, Raising $470,000 in Support of CII’s Programs

December 12, 2020
Rebecca Hutchinson

On Saturday evening, Children’s Institute raised $470,000 in support of critical programs based in Los Angeles communities that have suffered from decades of under-investment and racist policies.

The 3rd annual Cape & Gown Gala was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but nonetheless the event united attendees in celebrating CII’s important work.

CII’s President & CEO Martine Singer welcomed guests and delivered opening remarks saying, “We know first-hand how deeply trauma can adversely affect the health and well-being of those who have experienced great injustices. Experiencing racism is trauma. As an organization, we fight for equity every day. And as a nation, we must address racist policies in order for children and communities of color to reach their full potential.”

Emceed by Emmy® Award-winning TV host and author Loni Love, the evening featured Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Wesley Lowery, LAPD Deputy Chief Emada Tingirides, GRAMMY® Award-winning singer-songwriter Billie Eilish and acclaimed filmmaker/actor/producer Rob Reiner. Guests were moved by presentations featuring CII Child & Family Specialist Yarelly Rosas and CII program participants LaRae and Royalty.

About the Speakers

Wesley Lowery is a journalist, author and correspondent for 60 in 6. He was previously a national correspondent at The Washington Post, specializing in issues of race and law enforcement. He led the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2016, and his most recent project, Murder With Impunity, was a finalist for the Pulitzer in 2019.

Deputy Chief Emada Tingirides joined LAPD in 1995 and created the Community Safety Partnership Program (CSP), along with Civil Rights Attorney Connie Rice. CSP is focused on building relationships, improving quality of life and sponsoring youth programing. In 2020, she was promoted to Deputy Chief and now leads a permanent Community Safety Partnership Bureau.

Loni Love, who hosted the first Cape & Gown Gala in 2018, said she was honored to return during this unprecedented year. Love is a co-host of the Emmy-winning talk show The Real. She has appeared in a myriad of movies and is the subject of the documentary Being Loni Love, which traces her early life from growing up in Detroit’s housing developments to national stand-up comedienne, TV and movie star. In June 2020, she released her highly anticipated memoir, I Tried To Change So You Don’t Have To.

Yarelly Rosas is a Child & Family Specialist at CII. As a teenager, Yarelly was connected with CII for anger management. She wanted to stay involved after receiving services, so she started attending support groups before becoming a volunteer. Ten years later, Yarelly is a valued staff member and studying to complete her Bachelor’s Degree at Pacific Oaks College.

LaRae is an engaged parent to her four children and a grateful grandparent who takes pride in advocating for social justice. She has advocated in Washington, DC with her representative Maxine Waters, and told her story at numerous community events. Her youngest son, Royalty, is 10 years old and her “social justice warrior.” LaRae and her children have all benefitted from CII’s programs.

Billie Eilish has become one of the biggest stars to emerge since the release of her debut single “ocean eyes” in 2015. In 2019, Billie’s album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and was the most streamed album of the year. Billie went on to make history as the youngest artist to receive nominations and win in all the major categories at the 62nd GRAMMY® Awards.

An acclaimed director, Rob Reiner created such enduring films as This Is Spinal Tap, When Harry Met Sally and The Princess Bride. As a political activist, he passed a California ballot initiative to fund early childhood development and, with his wife Michele, helped file a federal lawsuit that paved the way for marriage equality nationwide. He and Michele currently have a production deal with Warner Brothers Television.

Attendees Celebrated from Home

Viewing from the comfort of their homes, over 200 attendees enjoyed a gourmet snack box by Nyesha J. Arrington. Arrington is a chef and TV personality and has appeared on Top Chef and Food Network’s Chef Hunter. Select sponsors also enjoyed wine from Ceja Vineyards, a Mexican American family-owned winery founded by Amelia, Pedro, Armando and Martha Ceja producing premium estate grown wines from the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

Funds raised at the Cape & Gown Gala directly support CII’s early education, behavioral health and family strengthening programs. If you would like to make a donation, please click here.