The Fulfillment Fund has always been an L.A. charity with strong industry support, and on Wednesday night. it was Paramount’s turn to help raise funds for the mentoring program that assists low-income students to attend college.
“Everyone in life needs a mentor,” said Paramount Pictures chairman Brad Grey, who was seated with Sacha Baron Cohen at the Beverly Hilton. “This organization gives kids the help they need.”
Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore - who was honored along with Wells Fargo’s Tom Booker - said he agreed to be an honoree, because “neither of my parents graduated from college, but they were committed to sending me. The Fund gives poor students the opportunity my parents gave me.”
Said Fund founder Gary Gitnick: “Without a studio as a partner we’d never be able to do what we do. We came through the recession without having to drop a single student, and it was because our entertainment industry supporters reached deeper into their pockets.”
Patton Oswalt emceed the program that included performances by the Plain White T’s and Cirque du Soleil’s Erica Linz, who wowed the crowd that included J.J. Abrams, Sandy Climan, Frances Fischer, Arnon Milchan, Daryl Hannah and Lorenzo di Bonaventura.
When Oswalt came on stage after her performance, he joked that he felt like he was following “the perfection of the human body with this ham in a suit.”
In a video tribute to Moore, Cohen said the honoree “works tirelessly for non-profit causes, and I’m not just talking about Eddie Murphy movies.”
Adam Sandler also made the awards presentation, noting that Moore’s college education allowed him to learn words like “recoup and overage” that have been useful in his current job.
The total raised from the night, which included a live auction done by Tom Sherak, was $2.3 million.