The Crowd: Ball raises money for Hoag Foundation

By Daily Pilot

Categories: Featured News

Arguably one of the most important community foundations in the Newport-Mesa region is the Hoag Hospital Foundation.

At its 49th annual Christmas Carol Ball, which closed out 2015 in style on Dec. 12 at the St. Regis Resort and Spa Monarch Beach, all fundraising records were exceeded as more than 650 guests came together to support health for all residents in coastal Orange County.

The glamorous evening was chaired by Azam and Fariborz Maseeh with major support coming from Corona del Mar's Jeff and Debbie Margolis, Scott Pollard, Kyle Wescoat, Ron and Sandi Simon, Tom and Margaret Larkin, and Jerry and Maralou Harrington, to name only a few of the underwriters making the evening possible. By the end of the night, an impressive $1.5 million was added to the Hoag Promise fundraising campaign.

The black-tie crowd arrived at sunset and descended the graceful curved staircase to the lower level at the St. Regis for a cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception. A massive silent auction, set up in an adjacent area, offered merchandise provided by over 100 local merchants, including the Antonello Restaurante Group, Fletcher Jones Motorcars, Blue Water Grill, Santa Monica Seafood, Sterling BMW, The Resort at Pelican Hill, and the Balboa Bay Resort.

The large assemblage, which included many of the region's respected physicians, nurses and medical staff members, exchanged holiday greetings while checking out the auction items. Spotted in the cocktail crowd were Richard and Jane Taylor, James Ting, Alex and Isabelle Tischler, Whitney Fountas, Dibti Itchhaporia, Robert and Georgia Roth, Andrew and Joan Fimiano and James Caillouette.

The evening took on a whimsical Cirque theme as acrobats and aerialists punctuated the party with amazing stunts while hanging from the rafters. Female bartenders even poured Champagne while dangling from the ceiling.

The avant-garde was blended with the traditional as Dicken's Carolers performed holiday music. Across the foyer, violinists set the tone for an evening of Christmas magic.

As the ballroom doors opened, the crowd was seated at tables dressed in winter wonderland white accented with gold. Newport Beach hostess Nora Jorgenson Johnson was introduced to lead the guests in the evening blessing, a role she has performed for decades in association with the Hoag Hospital Foundation.

The evening's chairs welcomed everyone, offering generous thanks for the financial support provided. Hoag VIPs in attendance included foundation President Flynn Andrizzi and the CEO of Hoag Hospital, Robert Brathwaite.

Dinner began with a crème of butternut squash soup followed by a salad of baby gem lettuce dressed in harissa Caesar dressing. The entrée was grilled beef filet paired with marinated jumbo prawns.

A live auction and fund-a-need rally raised major funds for the Hoag Hospital Foundation, while Cirque performers continued to entertain the crowd throughout the evening in between a bit of swaying on the St. Regis dance floor.

Hoag dignitaries supporting the evening included John and Frances Applegate, Otis and Joann Healy, Michael and Patricia Berchtold, Thomas and Karen Linden, Robert and Terry Callahan, William and Marilyn Robbins, Gina and Jeffrey Cereda, George and Gigi Spragins, Ygal and Shelia Sonenshine, Larry and Deborah Bridges, and Paul and Elizabeth Merage.

Also in the crowd were James and Barbara Glabman, Julianne and George Argyros, James and Leslie Sullivan, Michael and Diane Stephens, Randall and Suki McCardle, James and Viki Coufos, Andrew and Karen Littlefair, Aidan and Ann Raney, Richard and Sally Afable, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and his wife, Rhonda, and former Newport Mayor Ed Selich and his wife, Lynn.

Since 1966, the annual Christmas Carol Ball, one of the longest-running holiday celebrations on the Orange Coast, has been hosted by Hoag Hospital Foundation's 552 Club, bringing together medical professionals and distinguished local guests raising vital funds for staff and patient support services as well as research and health education.

Under the direction of a volunteer board of directors, the Hoag Hospital Foundation conducts programs that generate more than $50 million per year in gifts and pledges. As the new year dawns, the foundation is deep in the planning phase of a major campaign with a goal of raising $500 million by the year 2020.

To learn more about the Hoag Hospital Foundation, visit

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