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'Hamilton' Star Leslie Odom, Jr. Brings the House Down at The Salk Institute’s Symphony Gala

Plus Sharp HospiceCare’s annual regatta brings in $400,000, two benefits raise $60,000 for the Museum of Making Music’s programs, and local foster kids get a back-to-school boost

Hamilton star Leslie Odom, Jr. performs at the 23rd annual Symphony at Salk

Hamilton’s Tony Award-winning star, Leslie Odom, Jr., performed for around 700 guests at the 23rdannual Symphony at Salk August 25. The outdoor concert at Salk’s La Jolla campus raised $1.1 million for scientific research in areas like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and schizophrenia. The proceeds will also help fund educational outreach programs that inspire students to pursue a career in science and research. 


Frank Bongiovanni, 2018 Sharp HospiceCare Regatta Event Co-chairs Kathy Bongiovanni and Sherri Summers, and Jim Summers | Photo: Cynthia Sinclair

Sharp HospiceCare’s 16thannual benefit dinner and regatta brought in $400,000 to support patient care and programs like music therapy, healing touch and the We Honor Veterans program. The funds raised at the two-day event in Coronado will also support the nonprofit’s Homes for Hospice program, which allows end-of-life patients to receive care in a comfortable home-like setting.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to care for our patients and their families when they need us most,” said Suzi K. Johnson, vice president of Sharp HospiceCare. “The generous donations from the Regatta help us further our mission to provide this type of specialized care to all those in the community who need it.”


Herb Alpert and Lani Hall perform at the Museum of Making Music’s Concert for a Cause benefit | Photo: Tim Whitehouse

Two benefits last month brought in a combined $60,000 to support the Museum of Making Music’s programs for both kids and adults. More than 700 people attended the events, A Concert for a Cause, featuring Herb Alpert and Lani Hall, on August 10, and the Bluegrass Benefit with The Grascals and Flatt Lonesome August 25.  

“What a testament to the power of artistry as we brought together different genres of music in a united front to benefit so many lives,” said Carolyn Grant, executive director of the Carlsbad-based museum. “We are grateful to the incredible artists, Herb Alpert and Lani Hall, as well as The Grascals and Flatt Lonesome for partnering with us in this special way and for supporting the important proposition of music’s ability to change lives.” 


Many students go back to school with a new backpack and school supplies, but for struggling foster kids, that might not be the case. That’s why the Building Owners & Managers Association stepped up and donated 937 backpacks, along with lunch bags and school supplies to Promises2Kids, a local nonprofit dedicated to helping current and former foster kids succeed. BOMA has partnered with Promises2Kids to brighten up back-to-school time for more than 25 years. 

The cause hits close to home for BOMA Community Service Committee Co-chair Dennis Dubert, whose mother has been a foster parent in San Diego for over 45 years. “It was difficult for me to share my mother,” he said. “As I got older, I better understood the impact that she was having in the lives of children. I’m deeply honored to follow in my mother’s footsteps and serve as co-chair of the Annual Back-to-School Drive for Promises2Kids.”


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