Cape & Gown Gala Raises $1.2 Million for Children and Families

October 31, 2019
Ryan Imondi

Children’s Institute honored Netflix’s Channing Dungey and long-time supporters Bridget Gless Keller and Paul Keller on Wednesday night at the 2nd Annual Cape & Gown Gala in Santa Monica.

The event, emceed by actress, activist and philanthropist Holly Robinson Peete, raised $1.2 million for CII’s early education, behavioral health and family strengthening programs.

Channing Dungey, Vice President, Original Series at Netflix, was honored for her commitment to advocating for educational resources and life changing services on behalf of disadvantaged children and families in Los Angeles. Her Children’s Champion Award was presented by Academy Award-Winning Actress Regina King (Watchmen, If Beale Street Could Talk), while friends and family praised Dungey’s commitment to giving back to her community in a moving tribute video.

“It takes an incredibly selfless person to see what is needed and then act upon that need. Channing does everything so quietly without fanfare. She is one of the most powerful women in the industry but she doesn’t use her power for self-promotion. She actively tries to empower those that need precious resources,” King said.

Academy Award-Winning Actress Regina King introducing Channing Dungey

“As an entertainment executive, I am an advocate for the creative process and am fortunate to be able to tell stories that often provide a voice to the underrepresented. Similarly, Children’s Institute and all of us here tonight are advocates for children who lack a voice, children who are exposed to trauma, poverty and adversity,” Dungey said.

Bridget Gless Keller, CII Watts Building Committee Chair, and Paul Keller, Chairman of Mack Real Estate Development, were honored for their longtime support of CII’s mission. Together, they have led charge on CII’s new, Frank Gehry-designed Watts campus, slated to break ground in early 2020.

“My hopes for kids in the Watts community is that the new Children’s Institute campus provides them with a place to dream, and dream big, and this becomes a foundation for them to grow into the next generation of leaders,” Gless Keller said.

The Kellers’ commitment to Los Angeles was praised in a tribute video that included Mayor Eric Garcetti, Carolyn Clark Powers, President, Board of Trustees, MOCA, and Marc Nathanson, Chairman, Mapleton Investments.

“Bridget and Paul Keller are truly angels in this city of Angels…And they’re always asking, ‘what can we do to give back to this city?’ that they’ve given so much to already,” Mayor Garcetti said.

CII Parent Partner Raul Aguirre shared his personal story of growing up in South LA, and how he has devoted the last eight years working to help children and families in the community.

CII Parent Partner Raul Aguirre, Emcee Holly Robinson Peete, and CII President & CEO Martine Singer

“There are a lot of people out there that are lost, some embarrassed to ask for help, and some who just don’t know that there’s help out there,” he said. “There’s an organization down the street that is here to help the community and that gives you something to hope for – that is Children’s Institute.”

The Cape & Gown Gala also included a virtual reality experience of the new Watts Campus, a live auction hosted by Billy Harris and a musical performance by L.A. Inner City Mass Choir.

To view photos from the 2019 Children’s Institute Cape & Gown Gala, please click here.