What a night! On September 14, 2019, Mercy For Animals held its 20th Anniversary Gala at the landmark Shrine Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles. The evening featured a powerful program, delicious plant-based food, and a lively after-party under the stars. In the end, our supporters generously gave $2.1 million to support Mercy For Animals’ vital work, the most ever raised in the gala’s history!
The celebration began with a star-studded VIP reception and an unforgettable “blue carpet” experience with some of Hollywood’s most notable animal advocates, including Joaquin Phoenix, Kevin Smith, Kat Graham, Rob Zombie, Kat Von D, Charo, Daniella Monet, Moby, and Diane Warren, as well as Paul Wesley, Joseph Morgan, Persia White, Cassandra Peterson, Davey Havok, Sarah Jeffery, Matt Lauria, and Redfoo.
After enjoying hors d’oeuvres from Upton’s Naturals, guests sat down to a gourmet vegan dinner catered by Wolfgang Puck and complemented by fine wine courtesy of Petrichor Vineyards and Aldrich Browne Winery.
The four-course meal featured an artisanal cheese plate from Kite Hill; a shaved Brussels sprout salad; and a Beyond Meat patty served with cauliflower purée, roasted vegetables, and a red wine sauce. After dessert—a decadent chocolate-vanilla layer cake with chocolate sauce, raspberry drizzle, and berries—host Kat Graham of The Vampire Diaries began the moving program.
Musician and filmmaker Rob Zombie presented the Hope Award to the accomplished Kat Von D, who called Mercy For Animals undercover investigators the true heroes. She shared: “It really isn’t about an award, although I’m really proud of this. It’s probably the most important award I ever received in my life.”
Trailblazing model, TV host, and entrepreneur Daisy Fuentes presented the Global Impact Award to Marco Borges, New York Times bestselling author of The Greenprint, founder of 22 Days Nutrition, and a truly inspiring advocate for plant-based living.
Filmmaker Kevin Smith and actress Harley Quinn Smith presented the Hidden Hero Award to Lindsay Oliver, a former undercover investigator and Mercy For Animals’ current vice president of investigations. Oliver humbly accepted the award and said, “One of the hardest parts about this job is not being able to rescue animals all day long.”
Alison Pill and Joshua Leonard presented the evening’s final award—the Legacy Award—to the late Rena Roseman. Rena’s husband, Elliot, accepted the award and gave a touching speech about his wife’s love for animals and how he wished she were there to witness the power of her generosity.
After a beautiful performance by American Idol star Catie Turner, Graham welcomed Mercy For Animals founder Milo Runkle to the stage, who gave some insight into the organization’s history. Finally, Mercy For Animals president Leah Garcés painted an inspiring picture of a future world where factory farms sit empty and plant-based companies are no longer ambitious startups but food-industry leaders.
The program ended with guests cheering every contribution during a fundraising round led by Runkle and Garcés. The event raised a staggering $2.1 million for animals!
The evening continued with a festive after-party, where guests enjoyed our compassionate marketplace, filling their anniversary goodie bags with fantastic products from Auromère, Dr. Bronner’s, Kat Von D Beauty, Kavella, Hurraw!, DiMare Design, and V-Dog. There were also plenty of yummy plant-based treats from Miyoko’s Kitchen, Upton’s Naturals, Smarties, Unisoy, Yoga-urt, Pura Vita, Roots Hummus, Jewels of the Forest, Nelly’s Organics, GoMacro, and Loca, as well as drinks from Soylent, Health-Ade Kombucha, and Boochcraft.
In between dancing and refreshments, guests gathered around informative booths to learn more about compassionate companies and organizations like 5 Carrots, Goatlandia Farm Animal Sanctuary, Bloomsbury Publishing, and VAPI.
Mercy For Animals would like to thank each and every guest and our generous sponsors for making the 20th Anniversary Gala a spectacular success, including title sponsor Andy Nahas and The Prospect Fund, Stray Dog Capital, Tofurky, Crossroads Kitchen, Mort and Betty’s, Stone Pier Press, Step and Repeat LA, VegNews, Vegan Printer, and Mingo.
Couldn’t make it to the event but still want to support Mercy For Animals’ work to protect animals? Click here to donate today!
Photo Credit: Epic Imagery