Make-A-Wish Gala – Star-Studded

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Wish Night Honors Those Who Help Brighten Children’s Lives By Making Wishes Possible, Including Special Awards Presented By Ashley Tisdale From High School Musical And MAWLA Board Members , To Honorees E! Entertainment, Kenny Ortega, Northrop Grumman And Vanessa Helfet

Los Angeles (Nov. 21, 2008) – The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation (MAWLA) celebrated its 9th annual Wish Night on Friday, November 21, at The Beverly Hills Hotel, honoring individual and corporate wish granters that have made granting children’s wishes possible. Amidst a star-studded evening hosted by Giuliana Rancic, anchor and managing editor of E! News, and husband Bill Rancic, winner of the first season of NBC’s The Apprentice, as well as entertainment by Micky Dolenz of the Monkees, the Foundation awarded this year’s honorees, Northrop Grumman, E! Entertainment, Kenny Ortega and Vanessa Helfet.

President and CEO Paulette Pasciuti said, “We feel so grateful to our honorees for making such a lasting impression on our organization and the children we serve. At the same time, I also want to acknowledge the tireless role that our volunteers have played and the dedication of our staff and Board of Directors. I want to acknowledge all our sponsors and especially our premier wish granter, The Walt Disney Company, that has repeatedly been there to lend a helping hand since its first donation in 1980 and has helped us fulfill over 6,000 wishes annually nationwide.”

Presented by Ashley Tisdale of High School Musical, Honoree Kenny Ortega, director, choreographer and producer of Disney’s High School Musical, received an award in recognition of his work that has helped grant over 40 wishes nationally. As part of his ongoing support, he has incorporated wish children into the premiere celebration of High School Musical 2 and has started a “yawn jar” on the set so that anytime a cast member “yawned,” they had to donate money that went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah.

Honoree Northrop Grumman was awarded for its long-time support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and for the sponsorship of wishes for fifteen children. Honoree Vanessa Helfet was presented with the award for her outstanding role as a volunteer and her participation in numerous wishes and events, and for donating funds to help many children’s wishes come true.

The Entertainment Industry Wish Granter Award went to honoree E! Entertainment. In addition to sponsoring the Foundation’s inaugural “Walk for Wishes” event, through E! Entertainment, the Foundation was able to grant some wonderful wishes and receive auction items that supported their fundraising events.

Following the dinner and the award ceremony the Foundation’s Fund-A-Wish “wish auction” took place, which afforded individual guests or a table of friends and coworkers an opportunity to sponsor a full wish or partial wish. The goal for the evening was to fund 25 wishes in honor of the Foundation’s 25th anniversary.

Following the auction, Micky Dolenz of the Monkees entertained the glittery crowd for the rest of the evening.

Other sponsors mentioned at the event for their efforts in helping the Foundation included Wish Star Sponsor Gerald Sowell Interior Design; Wish Benefactors Mattel, Westfield, William Morris Agency and the Helset family; as well as Wish Patrons that included Appleton Partners, Beckley LA, Capital Group, John Davimos, Law Offices of Sean F. Salamati, Morgan Creek Capital, Northrop Grumman, Paradigm, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Rao Leadership, RTKL & Turner Construction, Showtime, Timi & Leslie and Wells Fargo.

About The Wish Night Awards Gala:

The Wish Night Awards Gala has been named one of the top 100 events in Southern California by Biz Bash magazine. The event recognizes those individuals and businesses that provide exemplary support to the chapter. The gala also serves as a fundraiser to allow the chapter to fulfill the wishes of children in the greater Los Angeles community who have life-threatening medical conditions and qualify for a wish. Past Wish Night celebrity honorees have included: Halle Barry, Brad Garrett, Nick Lachey, Luc Robitaille, David Foster, Eric McCormack, Penny Marshall, and Mariah Carey.

About the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Born in 1980, when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the Foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 67 chapters in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and nearly 25,000 volunteers, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish every 40 minutes and has granted more than 167,000 wishes in the U.S. since inception.

Established in 1983, the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation is celebrating 25 years of fulfilling wishes for over 6,300 children throughout Los Angeles County. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles including how you can help refer a child for a wish; participate in Adopt-A-Wish; or donate in-kind gifts of goods or services, airline frequent flyer miles, or vehicles, please call (800) 322-WISH or visit