Last week, Hollywood A-listers, business leaders and philanthropists gathered at the 2022 Baby2Baby Gala Presented by Paul Mitchell at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.
Hosted by Mindy Kaling, the evening honored Kim Kardashian with the “Giving Tree Award” presented to her by Tyler Perry. Attendees of the sold out gala were also treated to an epic performance by Sean "Diddy" Combs of his iconic hits, and a star-studded line-up of presenters that included Olivia Wilde, Kerry Washington, Ciara, Kelly Rowland, and Zooey Deschanel. The event raised more than $10 million to support Baby2Baby’s mission to provide children in poverty with basic necessities that every child deserves.
Kaling kicked off the gala with a hilarious monologue and shared how proud she is to be a Baby2Baby Angel before introducing the night’s first presenters Baby2Baby Angel Ciara and Baby2Baby Board Member Kelly Rowland. Rowland described the gala as her favorite event of the year, thanked the evening’s generous sponsors and welcomed Baby2Baby Co-CEOs Norah Weinstein and Kelly Sawyer Patricof. Of Weinstein and Sawyer Patricof, Ciara said, “these women have built Baby2Baby into the powerhouse business it is today that delivers hundreds of millions of critical items into the hands of families in need across the country. They’ve changed tax laws, manufactured their own diapers and even figured out how to get parents formula for their babies during a national shortage.”
Weinstein and Sawyer Patricof reflected on the trajectory of the organization over the past decade, and their continued efforts to provide necessities to families still suffering from the pandemic, the formula shortage, and natural disasters. “It is our belief at Baby2Baby that regardless of circumstance, every child deserves diapers, clean clothes and basic essentials,” the Co-CEOs shared.
While diapers remain the number one item families in poverty struggle to afford, Baby2Baby successfully advocated to remove sales tax from diapers in California and have worked to change the laws across the country. “We have tried both traditional and unconventional approaches—from lobbying politicians to launching a goop campaign with a fake luxury diaper to draw attention to the realities of diaper need. Since last year’s gala, we’re so proud to share that the diaper tax has been removed in Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Florida, Virginia and Indiana. We have 29 more states to go and we will not stop until we have this unfair tax repealed everywhere.”
They also talked about how Baby2Baby has been at the forefront of the baby formula shortage. “The baby formula shortage emergency touched the hearts of every single person in this room and across America. Baby2Baby dove in to help in every conceivable way—negotiating with our longstanding partners to have baby formula made to order, procuring it from international relationships, turning to smaller manufacturers for donations and then getting it immediately to families who needed it the most. The donors in this room allowed us to put 4.1 million bottles into the hands of babies while store shelves remained completely empty. And today, while major cities are stocked again, rural communities are still suffering, leaving low-income families still without access to the formula they need.”
Alongside actress and director Olivia Wilde, Baby2Baby Angel Kerry Washington reflected on the urgency of Baby2Baby’s response to recent hardships families have faced in recent years, “The pandemic may seem coming to an end for many… but it has left a devastating legacy of rising poverty and widening inequity.” Wilde added, “Baby2Baby, named the most innovative non-profit in the world this year, has done what no other organization has been able to do – manufacture their own diapers. While one in three families is choosing between food and diapers, and costs are at an all time high – Baby2Baby is making them for 80% less than retail and donating them to the most vulnerable families in our country.”
Kim Kardashian, whose decade-long support of Baby2Baby has been instrumental to the growth of the organization, was honored with the “Giving Tree Award,” an award annually given to a woman in the public eye who has shown a commitment to giving back to children in need around the world. The award was presented to Kardashian by actor, director and producer Tyler Perry. In her acceptance speech, she shared how important justice for children means to her, “justice to me has many meanings, but what it ultimately comes down to is what is fair, what is right, and what leaves our world better, especially for children. I will continue to use my voice and my resources to share in your mission while all of us help Baby2Baby to bring fairness, equality and justice to so many children who have been deprived of access to just the basic essentials.”
Among the gala’s highlights was when Mindy Kaling and fellow Baby2Baby Angel Zooey Deschanel led the fundraising portion of the evening to help raise more money for Baby2Baby than ever before, allowing the organization to reach millions more children in need. In a surprise moment, the final donation of the night was a gift of $1 million dollars from Kim Kardashian along with her SKIMS Co-Founders Emma Grede and Jens Grede. Tyler Perry was also among the night’s donors and graciously donated $500,000 to support Baby2Baby’s efforts.
Legendary mogul and cultural pioneer Sean “Diddy” Combs brought down the house with a show-stopping performance to close the program. The packed gala moved to their feet as he performed hit after hit including “It’s All About the Benjamins,” “Been Around the World,” “Bad Boy for Life,” “Missing You,” and “Mo Money Mo Problems.” The night ended with A-list stars celebrating at the Afterparty DJ’d by D-Nice.
Additional guests at the gala included Kylie Jenner, Kris Jenner and Corey Gamble, Vanessa Bryant, Jessica Alba, Anitta, Shay Mitchell, Jordana Brewster, Alexandra Daddario, Ayesha Curry, Emma Roberts, Sofia Vergara, Alessandra Ambrosio, Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel, J.J. Abrams, Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow, Julie Bowen, Zach Braff, Jason Derulo and Jena Frumes, Jenna Dewan, Donald Faison, Max Greenfield, Lori Harvey, Lisa Ling, Molly Sims, Jasmine Tookes, Rachel Zoe, and many more.
Sponsors for the 2022 Baby2Baby Gala include title sponsor Paul Mitchell as well as Tiffany & Co., City National Bank, Volvo Car USA and Prada.
The culinary-rich dinner experience, which features dishes from Los Angeles’ top chefs and restaurants, was curated and led by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal, Jon & Vinny’s and Son of a Gun. Participating restaurants included Adam Perry Lang, BADMAASH, Burritos La Palma, Catch, Craig’s, Evan Funke, Guelaguetza, Helen’s Wines, Jitlada, Kato, Kogi BBQ, Little Fish, KazuNori by Sushi Nozawa, Majordomo, Providence, Pizzeria Bianco, Two Wings Chicken and Wexler’s Deli, with desserts from Bakery by the Yard, Craig’s Vegan Ice Cream, Salt & Straw, and late night bites from Tacos 1986, Heavy Handed and more. Baby2Baby Gala attendees also sipped on Casamigos cocktails throughout the night.
The event also featured a first-of-its-kind Meta Fundraising Reels Booth to raise funds for the organization and support Baby2Baby’s mission.