LOS ANGELES — February 20, 2018 — A Legacy of Changing Lives, presented by the Fulfillment Fund, will honor the legacy of Cherna and Dr. Gary Gitnick with a star-studded gala on Tuesday, March 13 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.

Special guest presenters Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper, and hosts Teri Polo and Sherri Saum (“The Fosters”) are set to join the festivities to celebrate the Gitnicks’ 40 years of service on behalf of the students of Los Angeles. A Legacy of Changing Lives will also include a special performance by Grammy Award-winning composer Charles Fox joined by soon-to-be-announced special guests. The gala dinner will be catered by celebrity chef and famed restauranteur Wolfgang Puck.

The celebration is supported by notable dinner co-chairs who include The Honorable Frank and Kathy Baxter, Edyth and Eli Broad, Susan A. Buffet, Megan and Peter Chernin, Bradley Cooper, Jan and David Crosby, Robert De Niro, Stedman Graham, Frann and Jim Gray, Hawkins Mikita, Kate Hudson, Amy Pascal, Gelila and Wolfgang Puck, Rich Ross, Anne M. Sweeney, Tie the Knot’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita, and Sally Whitehill and Mark Gordon.


Cherna and Dr. Gary Gitnick are co-founders of the Fulfillment Fund, an organization that works to make college a reality for under-served students. It began forty years ago after Dr. Gitnick’s UCLA holiday party, where he was inspired to create a small mentoring organization for children with disabilities. Soon after, the Gitnicks witnessed the growing educational needs of all students and expanded to bring mentorship and college readiness services to youth of all abilities, making the Fulfillment Fund one of the first programs of its kind. Now with programs in Las Vegas and Vail, Colorado, the Fulfillment Fund empowers thousands of students each year.

In 1991, Cherna Gitnick founded the Friends of the Fulfillment Fund, a women’s auxiliary group that raises crucial funds. Cherna put together a tea at her home to inspire guests to get involved with something fulfilling. Soon, the Friends began hosting annual fundraising luncheons which went on for more than ten years, and later transformed these events into new and creative initiatives such as “Songs of Our Lives” and the Fulfillment Fund Author and Artist Series. The group also connects with students, and mails Starbucks coffee cards to recently graduated Fulfillment Fund scholars. Since its inception, the Friends of the Fulfillment Fund has raised more than $3 million.


The Fulfillment Fund has empowered youth through education for four decades. With a mission to make college a reality for students growing up in educationally and economically under-resourced communities, the Fulfillment Fund seeks to open young people’s eyes to the possibility of college, change their beliefs about what they can achieve, and support them on their path toward a college education. Through a comprehensive array of unique college access services, the Fulfillment Fund provides classroom-based instruction, college and financial aid counseling, individual and group mentoring, digital learning courses, scholarships, experiential learning groups, college field trips, and more.

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