Carousel of Hope Spins Into 27th Its Fundraising Gala

Carousel of Hope Barbara Davis
Donato Sardella/Getty Images

The challenge for Carousel of Hope co-founder Barbara Davis and producer George Schlatter at the org’s 27th biennial charity gala Oct. 11 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel is to remember not to over-entertain the audience.

That sounds like an easy assignment for the average fundraiser, but Davis’ black-tie bash is no ordinary affair. Past performers have included Elton John, Paul McCartney, Beyonce, Celine Dion, Bette Midler, Jennifer Hudson and B.B. King. Yet the centerpiece of the night has been the silent auction, which has helped the event raise more than $80 million to combat childhood diabetes.

Jay Leno and David Foster will reprise their longtime roles as emcee and musical director, respectively, for the night, which will again be sponsored by Mercedes-Benz. A crowd of about 1,000 performers, producers and industry moguls are expected to attend, with a guest list that includes Clive Davis, “Scandal” actress Bellamy Young and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, this year’s Brass Ring Award winner for his humanitarian work.

Davis and her late husband and 20th Century Fox owner, Marvin Davis, launched the event in the 1970s, when their daughter, Dana was diagnosed with diabetes. Shortly thereafter, the couple built the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes in Aurora, Colo.

“Her passion for her organization and charity is contagious,” Schlatter says of Davis. “It spread to everybody in town. Everybody who was anybody has been there as a guest, honoree or performer.”

As the years have progressed, Davis and Schlatter’s friendship has grown. The pair say they fall into one another’s rhythm when it comes to planning the ball. “The whole thing is done with kindness and charity,” Davis says. “George Schlatter is the glue that keeps the evening together.”

For his part, Schlatter says he’s proud of what Davis has accomplished. And he’s tried to remember the pair’s vow to keep the evening focused. “Almost every year I’ve gotten home to see the 11 o’clock news,” he says.

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