Oscar Night(R) in Atlanta Raises $318,000 for Low-Income Familes

Atlanta Residents Prove ‘Ready for Their Close-Ups’ at Atlanta’s Only Official Academy-Sanctioned Oscar Night® Party.

Atlanta, GA, March 01, 2007 --(PR.com)-- Oh what a night! For the sixth consecutive year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences selected The Center for Family Resources (CFR) to host Atlanta’s only Academy-Sanctioned Oscar Night® America Party. Complete with all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the party was held on Sunday, February 25, at the Cobb Galleria Centre and proceeds directly benefit CFR’s programs and services. CFR is a local nonprofit organization serving low-income and homeless families. Last year’s highly successful gala raised approximately $280,000 for CFR. This year’s preliminary numbers have been estimated at $318,000 and 650+ in attendance.

The festivities began a little before 6:00 p.m. with the traditional walk on the red carpet, equipped with faux reporters, and picture snapping ‘paparazzi’. Not to be outdone, Cobb County’s own TV-23 & WSB-TV were on hand to capture the Atlanta ‘arrivals’. The ‘paparazzi’ (Chattahoochee Tech. students), asked the arrivals a variety of questions, the most popular being “who are you wearing.” Responses ranged from Oscar de la Renta to Versace, but whomever they were wearing, everyone looked stunning.

The attendees then had their first opportunity to peruse the many items up for bid in the silent auction. Items included an official 78th Annual Academy Awards® program book autographed by last year’s ‘Best Actor’ winner Philip Seymour Hoffman for his portrayal of Truman Capote; four dugout tickets to the Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs game on April 19; and two tickets to the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

Upon hearing the chimes, guests entered the gold accented ballroom for a formal dinner while viewing the 79th Academy Awards® Ceremony live on two big screens. Rev Anthony Coleman provided the invocation, and the attendees settled in for an evening of fun, emceed by WSB-TV’s sports director & anchor Chuck Dowdle and host of ‘Hot Topics’ entertainment news show Kimberley Kennedy. This year’s event was Co-Chaired by Kessel & Carol Stelling and Sam & Lisa Olens. Bank of North Georgia and WellStar Health System presented as the Signature Hosts.

Mr. Randall Bentley presented the Founders Award to The Mansour Family. The Founders award was established to recognize a company, organization, or individual who best exemplifies the work and mission of The Center for Family resources, as well as the spirit and vision of the founders Fred Bentley, Sr., Howard Ector, and Harry Holliday. Myrna Mansour began her work at The Center for Family resources in the mid 1980’s as a food pantry volunteer, and was asked to join the Board of Directors in the late 1980’s. After Myrna’s passing, her husband, George, offered a significant gift that sparked CFR’s “Bold Vision” capital campaign. Without his generosity and Myrna’s devotion to CFR, the ultimate dream of the founders’ to have a one-stop facility serving the working poor would not have been realized.

The party once again delivered a high-quality look and feel, and sponsors delighted in viewing their own produced TV commercials on the big screens. Attendees had a chance to watch compelling footage of former CFR clients telling their personal success stories as they journeyed through CFR programs and services. They also were delighted to see vignettes of movie quotes, performed by the talented students from the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the performing arts at Pebblebrook High School. This year’s commemorative Academy® poster has famous and memorable movie quotes on it.

No theme was apparent this year, but CFR did not hold back on the glamour that one expects from an Academy Award® event. Dinner & dancing are standard at most fundraising events, but a main raffle prize of a 2-year lease on a luxury edition Hummer 3 is not! Bartow Morgan, Jr., of Gwinnett, claimed the vehicle, courtesy of Carl Black Automotive. The raffle drawing, silent auction, and live telecast were only topped by the wit and banter of live auctioneer Chuck Dowdle. A three-litre bottle of 2005 Gold Standard Reserve Chardonnay from the prestigious Sterling Vineyards donated by the Academy® and signed in gold by Ellen DeGeneres, went for $600; two round-trip, business class tickets to anywhere in the world Delta Air Lines flies collected $6,000; and a 7-night, 4-adult stay in a beautiful Tuscan villa fetched $4,500.

This year’s ‘star’guest list included Darryl and Markie Cohen; Eric Beverly (Atlanta Falcon’s tight-end); WSB-TV’s Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns & wife Susan; Congressman Phil Gingrey; State Senator John Wiles; State Senator Chip Rogers; State Senator Judson Hill; Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham; Cobb Commissioner Tim Lee; Cobb Commissioner Annette Kesting; could all be seen enjoying the celebration. Other familiar faces in attendance included CFR’s current Board Chair Debbie Abernathy; Cobb School Board Member Johnny Johnson; Smyrna Councilman Pete Wood; Mrs. Pat Vaughn, Mayor of Powder Springs; Leonard Church, Mayor of Kennesaw; Van Pearlberg, City Councilman –Marietta; and Judge Roger Plichta; Judge Greg Poole; and Judge Steve Schuester.

“This isn’t just an event,” said Lockheed Martin Executive VP Lee Rhyant. “This is a happening for Cobb County.”

“Under the leadership of our co-chairs Kessel & Carol Stelling and Sam & Lisa Olens this year’s event has raised more for Cobb County’s low-income & homeless families than ever before,” said Jeri Barr, CEO of The Center for Family Resources. “To be awarded this privilege by the Academy® for the 6th year, and to see new and old our friends and supporters join us to benefit our community…it is indeed an honor.” The great jazz/funk band, Total Package, provided the live entertainment.

The Center for Family Resources
Sonia Vassell