Caterina’s Club managed to cross the finish line of its biggest annual fundraiser with a $450,000 purse thanks to the generosity of some 400+ guests who attended the 14th annual Red Carpet Gala held recently at Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin. Sir Bruno Serato, founder of the nonprofit named after his mother, presided over the evening’s festivities that included a cocktail reception during which guests mingled alongside some of the rarest and most expensive cars in the world, a multi-course dinner featuring Salmon Wellington and Beef Short Ribs paired with fine wines, silent and live auctions and entertainment and dancing. Among the performers were Miss California Eileen Kim and Brenda Crystal, a popular Latina artist who, as a youth, was a beneficiary of Caterina’s Club.
Among the top earning auction items was dinner for 8 with legendary Hall of Fame inductee and Los Angeles Angels superstar Albert Pujols and restaurateur Serato at the Anaheim White House. Also unexpected were two $50,000 gifts made by VIP/longtime Caterina’s Club supporters.
The evening’s honorees included:
- David & Cinzia Pryor — The Orange County couple, who split their time in Italy, own and operate a manufacturing company in Anaheim that serves municipalities and public works organizations throughout the world. They have been longtime supporters of Caterina’s Club and David is an executive member of its board of directors.
- Mary Moore — A widow, she and her late husband, Bill, owned Golden State Foods, which supplied the McDonald’s hamburger chain with food products. Since his death, Mary, who has 18 grandchildren, has become involved in many philanthropic causes and was particularly moved by Caterina’s Club founder Serato’s story of coming to the U.S. with only $200 in his pocket. She admired the fact that he achieved the American dream by launching the Anaheim White House restaurant and later branching into charitable work.
- Jim & Kathy Antonowitsch — The couple, who are well known for their business and philanthropic endeavors, were recognized for their many achievements including having founded the Oasis Treatment Center that helps those with substance abuse issues transition to the road to recovery. They also support many nonprofits including CHOC, the Boys & Girls Club and Caterina’s Club.
- Wylie & Bette Aitken — Wylie is nationally recognized as a trial lawyer and the youngest person to ever be elected president of the State Bar and Bette is a member of Chapman University’s “Women of Chapman” and Women in Leadership Orange County. Together they support many nonprofits including the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, South Coast Repertory, the Family Protection Clinic at Chapman University and Caterina’s Club.
- Among the event’s sponsors were Southern California’s highest rated talk radio station, KFI-AM 640, Smart & Final, Anaheim White House restaurant and KPC Health.
Caterina’s Club serves 5,000 pasta dinners each night in 89 locations in Orange and LA counties with more than 3 million meals served. Serato’s influence has extended far beyond the local area to include chapters in Chicago, New York, Texas, Mexico and Italy. His nonprofit also helps families escape living in drug infested, crime-ridden motels and move into safer, cleaner and more permanent housing and his Hospitality Program seeks to divert at-risk high school students by introducing them to opportunities in the food, hospitality and service industries.
For his humanitarian work, Serato has earned international publicity including profiles in People Magazine, CBS, NBC, CNN as well as newspapers and magazines the world over. Among his many honors: CNN Hero, knighted by the Italian government, knighted by the House of Savoy, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, Papal Blessing from Pope Francis, humanitarian award on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, and numerous proclamations, Man of the Year awards and other forms of recognition — all of which he accepts to generate public awareness of the needs of our most vulnerable population – our children.
For more information, visit www.caterinasclub.org