The St. Joseph Center in Venice will hold its annual gala benefit “Voices of Hope” at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles on Saturday, May 4.
The gala is intended to highlight the contributions of individuals who have supported the social service agency’s work on behalf of the most vulnerable members of the community and to recognize the achievements of people served by the center who have overcome great obstacles to self-sufficiency.
This year, Mike Bonin, Los Angeles city councilman-elect for District 11, will be recognized with the Founders Award for Community Service for his longtime support of St. Joseph Center’s work and his advocacy in the public sphere for solutions to fighting poverty and ending homelessness, event organizers said.
Joan A. Payden, CEO of Payden & Rygel, will be honored with the Hope Through Empowerment Award for her 30-year personal and professional commitment to helping those served by the agency to rebuild their lives. In addition, Matt Hirshberg, a graduate of St. Joseph Center’s Culinary Training Program, will receive the Voice of Hope Award in recognition of the newfound self-sufficiency he has achieved with a career in the food service industry, organizers said.
Past honorees have included actors Martin Sheen and David Arquette, former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, and Steven Hilton of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
“Voices of Hope” is St. Joseph Center’s primary fundraising event and all proceeds will benefit the agency and its clients.
“St. Joseph Center’s success is built on a diverse group of supporters who believe deeply in our mission to empower the least fortunate members of our community so they can create powerful change in their own lives,” said St. Joseph Center Executive Director Va Lecia Adams.
“We are so thankful for people like Mike Bonin and Joan Payden, as their compassion and commitment have literally helped to save lives. By honoring a business leader like Joan and a longtime public servant like Mike we’re also showing that together the solution to homelessness and poverty is truly public/private collaboration.”

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