“Welcome to the UFC, we have amazing fights,” began master of ceremonies Jaime Camil at the Brass Ring Awards dinner at the Beverly Hilton. “We’re gonna bring out the cage and you’re gonna see amazing fighters. So, let’s get ready to rumble!”
“Oh, that’s another UFC?” questioned Camil. “Oh, sorry.”
The United Friends of the Children presented their 14th annual Brass Ring Awards on Thursday night honoring The CW, CW Good, and Jo Kaplan, Esq. UFC is a nonprofit organization that provides “critical services to ensure that foster youth can graduate from high school, attend and graduate from college, find stable housing, and gain impactful employment” while maintaining relationships with those children into adulthood. The Brass Ring Awards honor those whose humanitarian efforts better the lives of children.
Following the “Jane the Virgin” host’s comical Ultimate Fighting Championship confusion, UFC CEO and president Dr. Kara Allen Soldati took the stage to share the stories of five young people — Stephanie, Trey, Marcie, Flo, and Mikey — who were able to beat the odds thanks to the org. There are currently 30,000 foster children in Los Angeles alone. “You are the real ‘Wonder Woman,'” noted Camil of Soldati.
An auction — which included an “Archie” comic cell drawn by an official artist à la “Riverdale” and thousands of miles in travel expenses — helped raise money for the nonprofit. “We will leave this room with over $1 million,” confirmed Soldati.
Attorney Jo Kaplan then took a quick shot at President Donald Trump while accepting her Nancy M. Daly Award, reminiscing about the “days where we had a White House who actually cared about foster kids.” The late Daly was the initial founder of United Friends of the Children, and her award is annually presented to individuals who’ve spent their lives advocating for kids.
Camil’s “Jane” costar Justin Baldoni then opted to completely ignore the teleprompter in favor of going off-the-cuff while presenting the Brass Ring Award to the CW and CW Good, the network’s philanthropic online vertical. CW president Mark Pedowitz and executive vice president of marketing and digital programs Rick Haskins accepted the award.
“CW Good reflects who we want to be and who our audience aspires to be,” said Pedowitz. “In a time where we see so much negativity and hate in this country … we want CW Good to be a channel, an organization to connect with and help each other.”
“By working with our talent on those causes they have a passion for, our world view has grown larger and our compassion increased,” Haskins boasted. “We have an ambitious plan for our second year, with additional causes and more opportunities for participation. Hopefully, UFC will be part of the expansion.”
CW Good’s current lineup includes Baldoni’s “My Last Days” and “Skid Row Carnival of Love,” Mehcad Brooks’ “Wildlife,” “STEM,” “Better Make Room,” “Let Girls Learn, “and “Guide Dogs of America,” to name a few.
“If we can build awareness of meaningful causes and issues, increase compassion among our viewers, and provide them a way to be of service, we’ll be moving in the direction to making CW Good, CW Great,” Haskins concluded.
The event was also attended by CW fan-favorites Madelaine Petsch, Mädchen Amick, Christine Adams, Danielle Panabaker, Nafessa Williams, Matt Barr, Echo Kellum, and Marisol Nichols. Theatrical circus and event production company Troupe Vertigo also performed an acrobatics routine.