Louis Price, former lead singer of the Temptations, kicked off the night accompanied by the org’s children’s choir for a snappy, soul-fueled rendition of Pharrell Williams’ peppy hit “Happy.”
The Help Group, founded in 1975 to assist children with autism spectrum disorders and other special needs, also feted Brian and Susan Kennedy, founders of Regency Outdoor Advertising, with the Corporate Philanthropy Award.
Comedian and “Seinfeld” alum Jason Alexander emceed the event, telling the crowd, “We hold a special place for children with autism and their families.”
Highlights of the event included an inspiring educational video about the Help Group with clips from ABC’s “Good Morning America” host Lara Spencer and a live guitar-strumming performance by “Nashville” star-cum-singer Charles Esten. Gala chair and comedian George Lopez was also in attendance.
The gala was sponsored by many Hollywood heavy-hitters and business entities, including Variety, CBS, the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Harry Winston, prompting Alexander to joke, “The swag bags are gonna be unbelievable. I’m piercing my ears the minute I get out of here. I want to get a big one and shove a Harry Winston rock in it.”