LOS ANGELES (October 6, 2013) – It was a historic night on Sunday at The Beverly Hilton as American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA)’s first-ever Los Angeles Gala raised a record $3.8 million for Magen David Adom (MDA) that will go towards emergency medical services and the building of a new National Blood Center in Israel. The amount was the most ever raised at a single AFMDA event.
Dina and Fred Leeds were honored with the AFMDA Humanitarian Award. Gaby Bashner received the Woman of Valor Lifetime Achievement Award and Leba Sherman was also honored with the Woman of Valor Next Generation Award.
The highly-anticipated event sold out weeks ahead of schedule and featured performances by legendary singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka, Emmy-Award winning comedian Jackie Mason, and 12-year-old piano prodigy and philanthropist Ethan Bortnick.
Industry titans in finance, business, and entertainment lent support to the cause, including former Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams. Professor Eilat Shinar, MDA’s Director of Blood Services and a world expert in blood management, was the evening’s guest speaker. Israel’s Consul General to Los Angeles, David Siegel, opened the event. California Congressman Brad Sherman’s office presented the Leeds family with an official American flag that once flew atop the U.S. Capitol.
The Gala also featured performances by Mona Golabek, Scott Hoying of The Pentatonix, and Gary Greene and His Big Band of Barristers.
MDA is Israel’s government-mandated – but not government funded – national emergency-response, ambulance, and blood services organization. Israel’s current blood center, built in the 1980s, no longer accommodates the nation’s growing population and is vulnerable to terror and rocket attacks, as well as earthquakes (Israel sits on two active fault lines). The Gala raised funds for all of MDA’s lifesaving services, with the majority of the money going towards building a new blood center, equipped with new and secure underground blood storage facilities.
“It was so inspiring to see the entire Los Angeles community come together to support the new National Blood Center while celebrating Dina and Fred Leeds,” says AFMDA CEO Arnold Gerson. We still have a lot of work to do to reach our goal, but MDA and the people of Israel will soon have the kind of modern blood center they deserve.”
An after-party for AFMDA’s NextGen and Young Leadership, featuring 35 partner organizations, followed the Gala at The Beverly Hilton.