It was a star-studded spectacular night at the 13th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball Saturday! Celebrities from film, television and music gathered at a private Mandeville Canyon Estate to support Chrysalis' effort to help low-income and homeless individuals get on the path to self sufficiency by providing them with the necessary tools to gain and retain employment.
“New Girl's” Max Greenfield hosted the event, which included an outdoor cocktail reception, followed by a sit-down dinner, awards ceremony and live music performances by Gavin Rossdale and Karmin.
“I hosted last year and having done that it introduced me to the organization. I got to spend some time at their downtown location; I had never seen anything like that in my life. It's one of the most inspiring groups,” said Greenfield on what motivated him to be the master of ceremonies for the evening this year. “What these people are doing is being there and lending a supporting hand to people who are asking for it. So many times I think when individuals like that ask for help, there isn't always somebody there to extend a hand back, and the fact that Chrysalis is there and is constant and has built a name for themselves. Especially downtown, it provides a place for these people to go when they're ready and allows them to change the course of their lives on their own.”
Greenfield had many notable guests join him including: Rebecca Gayheart-Dane and Eric Dane, Vin Diesel, James Van Der Beek, Katharine McPhee, Jordana Brewster, Ben McKenzie, Tom Arnold, Vanna White, Diane Kruger, Ben Feldman, Balthazar Getty, among others.
The evening was a special one for Rebecca Gayheart-Dane, who co-chaired the ball and who has been a long time dedicated supporter of Chrysalis. “ I founded this event 13 years ago. I had been volunteering at Chryslais for about a year before that. They needed money to stay open and they help a lot of people, and give resources, and so I helped,” said Gayheart-Dane, who passionatly spoke about how important Chrysalis's work is for those in need. “I get to see the results; what they do is magical. I think every person should have the right for a second chance and for the support of getting a job. Our philolsophy is a hand up not a hand out, and so for me to get to work with people and say look, 'We're not going to give you this, but we're going to teach you how to earn this yourself.' It's a great feeling to watch someone go through that process and succeed; to give them self-esteem.”
Gayheart-Dane was joined by her husband, actor Eric Dane, who said he first became aware of the non-profit a decade ago through his wife.
“I went to the first event and I was completely blown away by what she's been doing and what she's done and I said how can I help?” said Dane. “The important part of this event is that a lot of people show up. A lot of people give. Most of the money actually goes to the client. A lot of times with charities, no one really knows where the money goes. With this organization, over 90 cents on the dollar actually goes to helping the clients and running them through the program. I think it cost about $2500 to take a client from the streets, mend them through the program to becoming self-sufficient contributing members of society.”
Since 2002, the Chrysalis Butterfly Ball has raised over 9 million, which directly funds its programs and services.
Programs that benefited people like Darius Coffey, a Chrysalis client who was celebrated Saturday with the John Dillion Award. “I had gotten into some trouble and ended up being homeless and then I kind of stumbled upon Chrysalis, just wanting to get back into the workforce.” Coffey said the team at Chrysalis had a tremendous impact on his life. “They gave me some skills and basically the confidence to get out there and do what I need to do as far as work. I'm just grateful for the opportunity to represent myself and others like me as far as something different.”
Actress Jordana Brewster said she appreciates the way Chrysalis goes about empowering individuals in need. “It kind of works from the inside out because it's like a building block to build confidence and your ability in yourself, and so I think it just seems more effective,” said the “Dallas” star. “It's so simple: the idea of helping people get jobs. It's better than just giving someone money. So I just it's a wonderful organization. I came years ago and I'm back to support!”
Each year the Chrysalis Butterfly Ball honors extraordinary men and women within the entertainment industry who strive to achieve creative excellence. This year's recipients of the Spirit of Chrysalis Award were the founder and CEO of Participant Media, Jeff Skoll and Jim Berk, as well as Managing Director of United Talent Agency, Jay Sures.
“It's a special honor because Chrysalis has been a partner of ours for many years,” said Skoll. “We did a movie called The Soloist about five years ago about homelessness and Skid Row, and we saw first hand just how Chrysalis not only intervenes but gets people permanently to change their lives. So for us this is a special honor. We think the clients of Chrysalis are heroes. We're not, we're here to support them.”
Berk echoed his colleague's sentiments about why it's rewarding for them and Participant Media to be a part of Chrysalis.
“This is really a chance for a company like this to help shine a light and for this organization,” said Berk. “They are one of the key stones to moving these people, who are intelligent, smart people who are just needing that special support system to get them off the street and back into a productive life and we're just happy to be a part of it.”
Also happy to be a part of the Butterfly Ball was “Mad Men's” Ben Feldman. “We love Chrysalis. It's a really important organization. My wife and I have toured the facility downtown. It's just an incredible organization.”
And it was truly an incredible night for an incredible organization!
For more information about Chrysalis, visit www.changelives.org.