Santa Monica’s Gillian Wynn Throws a Party for Conservation International
By Regan Kibbee
How do you raise awareness and funding for an ambitious environmental organization working to change the world?
Conservation International tapped longtime member Gillian Wynn to make their recent gala celebrating 20 years in Los Angeles a smashing success.
An active player at the recent Paris conference for global warming, Conservation International is a 29-year-old nonprofit that employs more than 1,000 people and works with more than 2,000 partners in nearly three dozen countries.
Wynn said she was immediately sold on the organization’s mission and joined its international Leadership Council after meeting founder and CEO Peter Seligmann.
As gala organizer, Wynn worked out of her Santa Monica home with a small group of volunteers. Her team included publicist Andy Gelb from Slate PR, who suggested Culver City architectural warehouse space 3Labs as the venue.
Marc Friedland, the designer of the iconic Oscar envelope, also lent a hand. Wynn and Friedland came up with the theme of “no stone unturned” — as in Conservation International leaving “no stone unturned to protect the planet for the well-being of humanity” — and incorporated it into the invite design.
Actress and environmentalist Shiva Rose offered her Rustic Canyon home for a save-the-date video in which she picked up stones with info about the event. Wynn, a philanthropist and daughter of billionaire casino developer Steve Wynn, arranged to include Laura Mvula’s song “Green Garden” and got the singer to perform during the fundraiser.
In addition to Wynn, the Dinner Host Committee included Kristin Gore, Lyn and Norman Lear, Louise Linton and Steven Mnuchin, and actor Edward Norton. DJ Tony Okungbowa performed an after-party set.
With 350 attendees, the gala was a sell-out success that boosted Conservation International’s goal to “deeply inspire our guests to engage in our critical mission: protecting nature so that we can sustain life as we know it.”
Visit conservation.org for more information about Conservation International.