Fresh off the first season finale of their mega-hit series “This Is Us,” stars Mandy Moore and Chrissy Metz were on hand to serve as the masters of ceremonies at the Alliance for Children’s Rights’ 25th anniversary dinner on Thursday evening at the Beverly Hilton.
The annual event celebrated the work of the free legal services org, which seeks to protect the rights of abused and neglected children, and raised $1.5 million toward the Alliance’s efforts. Outgoing Alliance president and CEO Janis Spire was honored as the 2017 national champion for children and Austin Beutner received the Francis M. Wheat Community Service Award for his work as chairman and founder of Vision to Learn, a non-profit that provides free eyeglasses to children in need.
Moore and Metz kicked things off by discussing some of the parallels between the themes explored on their NBC show and the Alliance’s work.
“The plot of our show is actually drawn from real-life circumstances of generations of family members,” Moore explained, with Metz adding, “And like our show, the families that we’re honoring today make constant sacrifices for the love of their children.”
Later in the evening, board member Leslie Gilbert-Lurie stressed the importance of continuing to foster the Alliance’s mission in today’s political climate.
“In this new and unsettling political landscape, the threats to our children are numerous,” she said, noting that “there very well could be an increase in the number of children entering foster care due to changes in immigration enforcement policy.”
Spire echoed these sentiments, telling Variety, “These are our kids. These are our future. We can’t take away their healthcare and their ability to really be supported when they need us.”
Following testimonials from former Alliance clients, Spire took the stage to accept her award and closed out the night by reflecting on her 15 years as head of the Alliance and the work that lies ahead.
“There is much to be done,” Spire noted. “We have to do more to protect our children, and to ensure that they have the opportunity to learn and thrive.”
The dinner also featured an auction and renditions of “We Are the World” and “Higher and Higher” performed by Ellis Hall and The DC6, presented by MUSE/IQUE artistic director Rachael Worby.