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Human Options Raises Over $500K at Annual Serious Fun Gala at Balboa Bay Resort

Human Options 1: Honoree Mike Morris, Human Options CEO Maricela Rios-Faust, gala event co-chair Diane Biagianti, honoree Steven Hittleman, honoree Andrew Gray.

Human Options, an Orange County-based nonprofit dedicated to ending the cycle of relationship violence, hosted its annual Serious Fun Gala on May 18 at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach.

The event, themed “Under the Tuscan Sun,” transported over 250 attendees to Italy for the night to raise funds for the nonprofit’s critical programs and services.

Community leaders, donors, supporters, and survivors all came together and exceeded the nonprofit’s initial fundraising goal, raising $505,000. These funds enable Human Options to continue providing essential programs and services, including legal advocacy support, therapy and counseling, elder abuse prevention, and emergency shelter and transitional housing programs.

The evening began with aperitifs of champagne, Aperol spritzes, and Italian wines, which paired well with a silent auction featuring Italian-themed prizes such as a pasta night, art inspired by Italy, and wine.

The night continued in the Tuscany-transformed ballroom with a thrilling performance by an Italian opera singer and an exciting live auction that included a relaxing week on the beach in Mexico, a wine-tasting dinner in Shady Canyon and a Hawaiian vacation.

“This year our generous donors and valued supporters went above and beyond to support survivors of relationship violence at our annual Serious Fun gala, exceeding our initial fundraising goal and raising over half a million dollars,” said Maricela Rios-Faust, CEO of Human Options. “With these incredible contributions, we will be able to better serve our clients. It will also empower us to ensure we continue to work toward our mission of ending the cycle of violence, creating a future where everyone feels safe and free from fear.”

Maurine Hawkins, Gia Gaffaney, Kayla Murray, Elizabeth Elfen, Mara Murray, Patricia Peard.

During the gala, Human Options honored Latham & Watkins LLP, Steve Hittelman and Michael A. Morris as DOVE honorees.

Latham & Watkins LLP has many attorneys involved with Human Options, including Board Chair Andrew Gray, who provide pro-bono legal advice to the organization’s clients.

Steve Hittelman, president of Hittelman Family Law Group based in Newport Beach and an expert in family law, has gone above and beyond to ensure survivors of domestic violence get the legal support they need.

Michael A. Morris, a partner from Minyard Morris, has worked with Human Options for over a decade and still gets emotional thinking about the first time he started volunteering.

It is through the work of these three DOVE honorees that Human Options’ clients are able to get the help they need related to housing, family law, immigration, court accompaniment, restraining orders and more.

Human Options is paving the way to ensure survivors have a safe place to heal from abuse. Last year, they supported 1,189 survivors, trained and educated 7,753 people through prevention education, responded to 5,349 calls for help, and provided legal advocacy services to 326 survivors.

Gala event chairs were Kim Cart, Diane W. Biagianti and Chandinie Francis, Ed.D.

Gold sponsors included Latham & Watkins LLP and Suki McCardle.

Silver sponsors included the Crevier Family Foundation, Diane W. Biagianti and Glaukos Charitable Foundation, The Frome Family Foundation, Greenberg Traurig, LLC & Susan Heller, Michele I. & Abdo Khoury, KPMG LLP and Rhythm Healthcare.

Bronze sponsors included Apriem Advisors, Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, Fermol Inc., Andrew and Colby Gray, Sharon and Terry Hartshorn, Hittelman Family Law Group APC, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Knobbe Martens, Mara and Keith Murray, Marsh McLennan, Minyard Morris LLP, Katie and Fred Nunez, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, The Petrucci Family and CT Realty, Resilience Insurance Analytics, Maricela Rios-Faust and Gary Faust and Schilling Law Group, PC.

Patron sponsors included Ginger and Tony Allen, The Balog Family, John and Marcia Cashion, Dr. Liza Eshilian-Oates and Mike Oates, Pacific Premier Bank, Rexford Industrial, Ellen K. Shockro, Ph.D., Terry Theologides and Deb Rodriguez and VERITEXT.

Underwriters included Consilio, Joe and Noelle Ferrentino, Newmeyer & Dillion, LLP and Todd and Kelly Roberts.

For more information about Human Options and their efforts to combat relationship violence, please visit

The post Human Options Raises Over $500K at Annual Serious Fun Gala at Balboa Bay Resort appeared first on Newport Beach News.

Source: Newport Beach Independent

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