El Nido Family Centers’ 90th Anniversary Garden Gala was a huge success! Saturday, September 19, 2015 at Robinson Gardens in Beverly Hills

Garden Gala Video


El Nido Family Centers’ 90th anniversary Garden Gala was a huge success!

Saturday, September 19 at Robinson Gardens in Beverly Hills

The oldest estate in Beverly Hills, with its truly magnificent gardens and breathtaking views, was the fitting setting for El Nido’s 90th Anniversary Gardens on Saturday, September 19. Guests arrived at Robinson Gardens at the “golden hour,” that time before sunset when the skies are redder and softer, giving everything a lush patina, setting the stage for a magical evening.

The spotlight was on El Nido’s newly launched “Garden to Table” program that provides training and mentorship with the culinary industry through urban gardening, cooking and restaurant management. Youth assisted in cooking demonstrations on the tennis court with leading LA chefs who have been mentoring them. Chefs and restaurants who donated their time and mentorship, and presented cooking demonstrations at the event (in alphabetical order): Hannah An, founder & executive chef, The District by Hannah An; Betty Fraser and Denise DeCarlo, co-owners, Grub Restaurant; Ryan Legaux, owner & executive chef, Harold & Belle’s; Nabor Prado-Diaz, chef de cuisine, Hugo’s; and Jimmy Shaw, owner and executive chef, Loteria Grill. James Beard Award winner and Los Angeles magazine editor Lesley Bargar Suter hosted the demonstrations. Along with the cooking demos, students in the GRYD (Gang Reduction Youth Development) program also exhibited their photography.

As the twinkle lights came on as the sun was setting over the hills, guests made their way to a luscious dinner under the stars on the expansive Great Lawn. Exemplar Award winner Gina Rodriguez (star of “Jane the Virgin”) brought the evening’s program to a high point with her inspirational words, explaining her dedication to helping and uplifting (especially) Latina young women by only being involved in projects that positively portray Latinas. Looking to inspire the next generation, Gina gave her award to Sireni Galindo, a former El Nido client, who was also honored at the Garden Gala for her accomplishments, and who had presented the Exemplar Award to Gina. There truly was not a dry eye in the house.

Celebrating history: nine decades of strengthening families.

Shining the spotlight on success stories and supporters.

Showcasing talented at-risk young people in El Nido programs in the culinary and photographic arts, and leading LA professionals who have mentored them.

The setting and venue partner: The Robinson Gardens estate in Beverly Hills, built in 1911 and originally owned by Virginia and Harry Robinson of LA’s J. W. Robinson department store fame. On the passing of Virginia Robinson, the estate was bequeathed to the County of Los Angeles and today is part of the Department of Parks and Recreation. El Nido’s anniversary event represented everything Mrs. Robinson always valued: education, children and entertaining guests, and El Nido was privileged to be the first to co-host an event at Robinson Gardens since the Friends of Robinson Gardens and Los Angeles County began the restoration in 1982. http://www.robinsongardens.org

The evening: Guests entered the six-acre estate’s expansive grounds, toured the gardens, winding their way past fruit, vegetable and flower gardens to the tennis court that was transformed into a lounge and demonstration kitchen for the evening. The summer night air was a perfect match for the garden-inspired dinner and live jazz on the Great Lawn.

Young photographers, whose work was on exhibit from El Nido’s Gang Reduction Youth Development program (GRYD), discussed their artwork with guests. The exhibit, “Two Neighborhoods-One Vision,” represented photographs taken in Pacoima and at Robinson Gardens; the photos were available for a donation at the Garden Gala.


Gina Rodriguez: Actress Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”) received the Exemplar Award for her advocacy of Latinos and their impact on our communities. She talked about her decision to only play characters that serve as role models for young Latinos.

Kaiser Permanente: For the compassionate and varied health and other services offered in its menu of programs to El Nido families via our community partnership, we gladly honor Kaiser Permanente.
The Harold Edelstein Foundation: Thanks to the Harold Edelstein Foundation, since 2004 hundreds of El Nido teen parents have been in a job-training program “Harold Cares for Your Future Job Preparation.”


Event co-chairs: Lisa Carloss & Lucy Zepp.

Honorary Committee: Ed Begley – Actor, Director, Environmentalist; Alex Carloss – YouTube/Google; Felipe Fuentes – Los Angeles City Council, District 7; Tom & Emily Kaplan – Hugo’s Restaurants; Carole Keen – Carson Coordinating Council; Sheila Kuehl – Los Angeles County Supervisor, District 3: Robert Kyncl – YouTube/Google; Elsa Monte – Pacific Western Bank; Kathy Perez – ESPN; Stacy D. Phillips – Phillips Lerner; Jesse Shapiro – Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Chef Jimmy Shaw – Loteria Grill; Bob & Leslie Spivak – Grill Concepts; Jason Spivak – Sony Pictures Entertainment; Lesley Bargar Suter – Los Angeles magazine; Jon Zepp – YouTube/Google

Other guests included Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, District 3; Beverly Hills City Councilmember Nancy Krasne; Ed Begley; Adrienne Horwitch, president of the Friends of Robinson Gardens; Leslie Kavanaugh, past president of the Friends of Robinson Gardens; Rose Norton, former El Nido board president and Garden Gala sponsor; Phil Savenick, TV producer/director/editor and Garden Gala sponsor; and Susan Rothenberg, co- director for the Harold Edelstein Foundation.



  • Robinson Gardens
  • Friends of Robinson Gardens
  • Bombay Sapphire
  • Snyder Diamond
  • Limoneira
  • Alila Hotels & Resorts
  • St. Kitts Tourism Authority/Belle Mont Farm
  • Best Events
  • Kathy Nenneker & Associates
  • Dana Ross Photography
  • Doran Designs Photography
  • Beverly Hills Escrow
  • CaDi Frara Wines
  • Condie & Wood, CPAS
  • D’Aquino Italian Importing Co., Inc.
  • The District by Hannah An
  • Kathy Fielder
  • Lauraine Gibbons
  • Grub Restaurant
  • Harold & Belle’s
  • Hugo’s
  • Kazanjian Bros., Inc.
  • Loteria Grill
  • Morandell Imports
  • Phil Savenick/TV IS OK Productions
  • Tikkun Spa
  • Itelia Walke
  • Susie and Stuart Berton
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Rose Norton and Phil Savenick
  • Gibson Dunn and Jesse Shapiro
  • Valley Presbyterian Hospital
  • Beverly Hills BMW
  • Fred and Marta Samulon
  • Sklar Kirsh LLP and Chris Chen
  • Abby and Andy Arad
  • CW Network
  • Bill Canup
  • Lisa and Alex Carloss
  • Elaine and Richard Doran
  • First 5 LA – Best Start
  • The Herrera Family
  • Monica and Tom Rogan
  • Laurie and Jason Spivak
  • Wells Fargo
  • Lucy and Jonathan Zepp

  • 1008 Elden Way, Beverly Hills, CA
  • Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Robinson Gardens estate was built in 1911 and originally owned by Virginia and Harry Robinson of LA’s J. W. Robinson department store fame. On the passing of Virginia Robinson, the estate was bequeathed to the County of Los Angeles and today is part of the Department of Parks and Recreation. The County, along with Friends of Robinson Gardens, a non-profit organization, maintains the lush, six acre-grounds that include an awe-inspiring Australian King Palm forest and an urban farm where history and science come to life for visiting schoolchildren.
  • El Nido will be the first outside organization to host an event at Robinson Gardens since the Friends of Robinson Gardens and the County began the restoration in 1982.

The Garden Gala Event Overview

Guests will wind their way above the Beverly Hills Hotel and valet park in front of the oldest estate in Beverly Hills. They will make their way through the historic home and stroll out onto the expansive lawn adorned with string lights, where they will enjoy tray-passed hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and wine tastings with winemakers, and multiple stations featuring delectable cuisine created by the celebrity chef mentors and El Nido youth.

As guests move into the party, they will walk through an edible garden to a tennis court where there will be cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs and El Nido youth, plus docent tours of the Robinson Gardens grounds, entertainment and raffles. A bar on a patio adjacent to the tennis court will showcase the rose garden in full bloom. There are views to the ocean and of the Getty, an Italian garden and ponds, the palm tree forest, chickens, rare specimen plants and the oldest coral tree in Los Angeles. Guests will also enjoy an exhibition of photographs by El Nido youth.

Event participants include influential chefs, restaurateurs, winemakers, growers, purveyors, and other business and community leaders, along with the young participants of the “Stage” youth development program.

This very special event celebrates the power of collaboration, partnership, mentorship and history.

El Nido Success Stories

The success stories and individuals on the following pages span generations, ethnicities and backgrounds but all share one thing in common: they personify the transformative power of El Nido Family Centers’ work. Their stories tell the story of El Nido’s dedication to create stronger families and brighter futures for 90 years in Los Angeles. As you read their stories, you will find a consistent theme throughout, which is both simple and yet exceedingly powerful: El Nido saves lives.

Tastes From the Garden

2015 Garden Gala Keepsake Tribute Book; Unlike conventional event books, this special commemorative book includes delicious recipes created by participating award-winning chefs. Tribute Book Ads are now closed, thank you for your support. If you would like to make a donation you can do so by clicking here.

Press Release

In Partnership with Robinson Gardens
“Jane the Virgin” Gina Rodriguez to be honored

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