A “Magic” CoachArt Gala of Champions

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15th Annual Gala of Champions: CoachArt’s 2019 fundraiser spotlights link between kids and coaches!

On Thursday evening, October 10, the 15th annual CoachArt Gala of Champions at the Beverly Hilton raised more than $600,000 for programs benefiting families impacted by childhood chronic illness.

The annual fundraiser was hosted by CoachArt, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that provides free arts and athletic programming to youth impacted by chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The event honors individuals for exceptional professional success and personal humanitarianism.

Sean Brecker, chief financial officer of Headspace, a global leader in meditation and mindfulness, was presented with the Heart and Humanity Champion Award by CoachArt co-founder Leah Bernthal, who runs Every Purpose, an impact strategy firm. Brecker is also a member of the CoachArt board of directors.


Headspace CFO and CoachArt board member Sean Brecker presented with the Heart and Humanity Champion Award at the 2019 CoachArt Gala of Champions.

Allison Holmes, Senior Director of Operations & Strategy at the Annenberg Foundation, received the Courage and Hope Award after an introduction by her friend Ryan Cummins, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Omaze, an online fundraising platform.


Allison Holmes (Senior Director of Operations & Strategy, Annenberg Foundation) shares inspiration at the 2019 CoachArt Gala of Champions as CoachArt’s 2019 Courage and Hope Champion.

“It’s a joy to see the amazing CoachArt donors, volunteers, and students all together for an evening to celebrate what we can accomplish together,” said CoachArt Executive Director Greg Harrell-Edge. “The Gala has always been the reason families in Los Angeles are able to benefit from our services, and it was inspiring to see Gala participants rally to bring these much-needed programs to more regions and more families.”

Linking LA: Celebrating the Life-Changing Link Between Student and Coach

In keeping with the theme of this year’s Gala, “Linking LA,” which celebrates the life-changing link between the children served by CoachArt and their volunteer coaches, the event featured several teams of kids and adult mentors.

Aleyna, age 13, joined actor and athlete Sierra Mercier as co-host of the red carpet pre-event interviews.


Red carpet correspondents Sierra Mercier (actress, athlete) and Aleyna (CoachArt student) interviewing Heart & Humanity Champion Sean Brecker (CFO of Headspace, CoachArt board member )

Ashley, 15, kicked off the stage program with  Zander Lurie, co-founder of CoachArt and CEO of SurveyMonkey.


CoachArt student Ashley opens the 2019 Gala of Champions with Zander Lurie (CoachArt co-founder, CEO of SurveyMonkey).

Darielle, 11, was paired with Danny Ricker, screenwriter for Jimmy Kimmel Live, as co-host of the stage program.


2019 CoachArt Gala co-hosts: Darielle (CoachArt student) with Danny Ricker (Screenwriter, Jimmy Kimmel Live!)

Siblings Bodie, 9, and Sierra, 12, were paired with Derek Hughes, standup magician and top-10 contestant on America’s Got Talent, for a magic act during which they appeared to chop honoree Brecker in half.

“I think this might be the best day of my life,” said Bodie, just before taking the stage with Hughes. The team later went on to perform a second act of the evening, where Bodie led a disappearing bottle trick.


CoachArt students (Bodie and Sierra) assisting stand-up magician Derek Hughes with a magic trick at the 2019 CoachArt Gala of Champions. 

The Annenberg Foundation was the event sponsor, and UFC was the major sponsor.

Designer Katharine Kidd dressed red carpet co-hosts Aleyna and Sierra.

Past Gala of Champions honorees include: Ynon Kreiz, CEO of Mattel; Kevin Mayer, Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International at the Walt Disney Company; Jeremy Zimmer, co-founder and CEO of United Talent Agency; Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer of YouTube; venture capitalist Mark Suster; Ted Chervin and Chris Silbermann, founders of ICM Partners; and Dick Costolo, former CEO of Twitter.

Find photos from the evening and event highlights on our Facebook Page!


Founded in 2000, CoachArt uses the proven power of arts and athletics to spark students’ imagination and build confidence by providing long-term, no-cost arts and athletic opportunities for chronically ill children and their siblings. This year, CoachArt will match almost 500 kids with 400 volunteer coaches for more than 12,000 hours of programming in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Diego. The Gala of Champions brings together business leaders, entertainment executives, community members, volunteers, and CoachArt families in support of the organization’s mission. To get involved with CoachArt as a volunteer or participate in its activities, please visit www.CoachArt.org or call (213) 736-2850.


Do you have an artistic or athletic skill you would like to share with a child impacted by chronic illness? Become a CoachArt Volunteer.

Your gift today is guaranteed to improve the lives of kids impacted by chronic illness. If you were unable to attend this year’s CoachArt Gala of Champions in person, but you would still like to make a contribution, you can donate to CoachArt here.



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3 Magic Moments with CoachArt Kids and Volunteer Coaches (2019 Gala of Champions)