On Saturday, November 12, 2016, 350 people gathered at Balboa Bay Resort to support the Oglala Lakota of Pine Ridge, South Dakota – the poorest place in the United States.
The first annual True Sioux Hope Gala was a culturally immersive event that celebrated the spirit of the great Sioux Nation while raising funds to provide lifesaving programs and critical aid to the people of Pine Ridge.
Organized by Twila True (Twila True – Watch Expo, Polished Perfect) and local philanthropist Donna Pickup. “I want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to everyone who worked so hard to make this Gala a success,” said True. “From our committee members to our sponsors to our staff and all the guests who came to lend their support, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Your time, generous financial donations and, most importantly, your compassion and commitment to our mission have made such a huge difference in the lives of these people, my people, who often feel neglected and forgotten. I truly cannot thank you enough.”
Actress and human rights activist Julia Ormond served as special guest host alongside True and Pickup. “It was my great honor to be part of such an important event,” said Ormond, who is also a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and President and Co-founder of The Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking (ASSET). “I am deeply concerned about the horrific conditions the people of Pine Ridge face every day and hope that I can inspire others to take action so that together, we can provide them with a better future.”
During the course of the evening, guests enjoyed a cocktail reception, live music, traditional Sioux dances, a Native American artisan market, a silent and live auction, opportunity drawing, and speeches by Twila True, Former Tribal President Bryan Brewer, ASU Special Advisor to the President, American Indian Initiative, Bryan Brayboy, Twila’s own children and Tribal guests.
Special guests at the Gala included Native American actress Tonantzin Carmelo, Narcos Season Two stars Martina Garcia and Leynar Gomez, entertainment industry HR guru Shawn Imitates Dog, and former NFL star Jim Warne. Also attending were Milan Panic, James and Nicole Donovan, Tami Kautzman and Armand Marciano, Tom and Kelly Olds, Duraid and Candy Antone, Brahm Wenger and Dan and Lisa Kassel to name a few.
The True Sioux Hope Gala committee consisted of Dana Chou, Jessica Cline, Katie Collins, Alison Cottrell, Debra Gunn Downing, Massy Farzine, Susan Franklin, Summerly Horning, Susan Karas, Deborah Keillor, Irene Martino, Sheila Melillo, Beverly Moore, Lourdes Nark, Kay Patel, Urvashi Patel, Angie Ripullo, Crystal Strait, Wendy Tenebaum, Nancy Wong, and Linda Young.
Sponsorships for the Gala were provided by Alan and Twila True, Dick and Donna Pickup, Summerly Horning, South Coast Plaza, Linda and Burton Young, The Tenebaum Family, Tarsadia Foundation, Milan Panic, Laura & Jesse Turley and Jodie & Paul Pani, Pacific Hospitality Group, Rutan & Tucker, LLP, Silvergate Bank, Jerry and Yvonne Conrad, MonsterLoans, Nancy wong, Ted and Lourdes Nark, Friedmutter Group, FBR Capital Markets, Irene and Lucio Martino, Eduardo Byndura, Mr. and Mrs. Hal Cassriel, and Sally and Randy Crockett.
You can view more images from the gala here. The second annual True Sioux Hope Gala will be held in the fall of 2017. For gala updates, follow the True Sioux Hope Gala Facebook page.