Celebrating 35 years of service, the Voices of Hope gala for the St. Joseph Center of Venice raised more than $500,000 for the first time in its history.

The gala is a key fundraiser for the social service agency’s comprehensive and integrated programs, which provide services such as job training, case management, supplementary groceries, life skills classes and hot meals for low-income and homeless men, women and children on the Westside.

Those recognized for their efforts at the event included “Hope Through Empowerment Award” honorees Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP partner Patricia Benson, and her husband Gerald Chaleff, as well as Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel.

Mt. St. Mary’s College President Jacqueline Powers Doud received the Founders Award for Community Service for assisting in the longstanding partnership between St. Joseph Center and the college during her 10 years as president. The event’s Voice of Hope award was presented to formerly homeless St. Joseph Center client Donna Gill, who recently graduated from the center’s vocational Culinary Training Program after being homeless for much of her life.

During the “Wishlist” portion of the night, the center raised nearly $140,000 to support homeless services, especially the innovative Housing First/Permanent Supportive Housing programs that help chronically homeless men and women get off the streets and into housing.

“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 as a means of creating powerful change in their own lives,” St. Joseph Center Executive Director Va Lecia Adams said.