The 24th annual Alliance for Children’s Rights dinner took place on Thursday night at the Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom, honoring co-chairs and CEOs of Fox Television Group, Dana Walden and Gary Newman, with the 2016 National Champions for Children Award. The event brought out some of the duos’ top colleagues and supporters, including Seth MacFarlane, Ryan Murphy, Julie Bowen, Terry Crews, Trai Byers and John Stamos, who acted as emcee.
“Tonight’s a good opportunity to kiss my bosses’ –sses,” said “Fuller House” star Stamos at the dinner — which recognizes individuals who’ve used their resources and time to improve the lives of young people in the foster care system by providing stable homes and families. “Also, I have done so much work for children over the years with my project Cuddle, and I’ve worked with abused kids. So, this (organization) fits right in with my work.”
MacFarlane, who had the honor of presenting Walden and Newman with the night’s top honor, did not hold back from giving his bosses a comedic introduction. “I was kind of surprised when I heard Gary and Dana were being honored for giving, because they said they had no money when I negotiated my last contract,” the “Family Guy” creator joked.
He then went on to compliment them on their great values, and credited them as the reason he has never left Fox.
The entire Fox family — including Murphy, Byers, Crews, Stamos and Bowen — appeared in agreement and had similar affection for Newman and Walden, who spoke passionately about helping children.
“If you are born into a family and lucky enough to have parents that are there for you, and not have to deal with the struggles of so many children in our city and in our county that have such obstacles, you really come away feeling blessed and feeling grateful that there is an organization that will help these beautiful young people,”said Walden, who confessed to missing her own children who were at home that evening.
Walden has seen children at risk of being placed in group homes and separated from their siblings be able to remain together, and sometimes be united with real family members, while working with Alliance for Children’s Rights. She remained quite humble despite her contributions.
“I really feel like tonight is about the Alliance,” said the Fox executive. “The work that they do is so incredible, and we’re just happy to do something to shine a light and help them raise a lot of money to support these amazing efforts.”
Her co-chair seconded these sentiments.
“The charity connected with me, not only because my wife and I raised three children, but (because) we were one of those houses where lots of kids came over, and we saw all sorts of parenting,” said Newman. “We saw kids who were getting great attention. We saw kids who were getting less of that attention. And, we realized how important it is for kids to have a great support system.”
Newman said his parents’ love and support were responsible for his outcome, and he believes the Alliance steps in “as a loving parent” for those children who are not fortunate enough to be reared in a nuclear family.
Grammy award-winning artist and music producer Ne-Yo then rocked the house with hits “Give Me Everything” and “Let Me Love You” among others, getting the audience out of their seats, dancing and snapping pictures.
The dinner also included an auction, where attendees could donate to the Alliance foundation to help children find families who are willing to adopt them.