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Celebrity Philanthropy News 2  3
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Black Tie International:
The Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs
Photos by:  Vince Bucci
Jessica Alba, honorees Mira and Brian Lee, ISA Executive Director Keishia Gu.  Photo by:  Vince Bucci
Jessica Alba, honorees Mira and Brian Lee, ISA Executive Director Keishia Gu





Actress, Author and Honest Company Founder Jessica Alba Presented;

Singer, Songwriter and Actress Lisa Loeb Performed

Honoree Irwin Gold and presenter Brian Laibow.  Photo by:  Vince Bucci
Honoree Irwin Gold and presenter Brian Laibow
John Legend and ISA Gala Chair and Board VP Nina Shaw.  Photo by:  Vince Bucci
John Legend and ISA Gala Chair and Board VP Nina Shaw
Performer Lisa Loeb on stage.  Photo by:  Vince Bucci
Performer Lisa Loeb on stage
Karen Stewart and emcee Jeff Michael, Fox11 News Anchor.  Photo by:  Vince Bucci
Karen Stewart and emcee Jeff Michael, Fox11 News Anchor
Jessica Alba and ISA student speaker Maya.  Photo by:  Vince Bucci
Jessica Alba and ISA student speaker Maya
Stacy Keibler.  Photo by:  Vince Bucci
Stacy Keibler
Mary Beth Barry, President, ISA Board of Directors.  Photo by:  Vince Bucci
Mary Beth Barry, President, ISA Board of Directors


Los Angeles – (March 31, 2015) The Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs (The Independent School Alliance) honored outstanding members of the Los Angeles community at its annual Impact Awards gala March 17, 2015 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  E-commerce entrepreneurs Brian and Mira Lee and Irwin Gold, Executive Chairman of Houlihan Lokey, were honored at the 30th Anniversary Gala.  Actress, author and Honest Company Founder Jessica Alba presented; Fox 11 News anchor Jeff Michael emceed and Nina Shaw, founding partner, Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano, chaired.  Entertainment featured singer, songwriter and actress Lisa Loeb. 

Students from the Brentwood School Madrigals vocal group ushered the more than 500 guests to their seats.  Event chair Nina Shaw welcomed guests and acknowledged the organization’s landmark anniversary, “Three decades of looking after the education of our most deserving students…access to knowledge, fostering creativity and curiosity…giving students the tools they need to create a bigger and more powerful future…assuring our community that we are nurturing a future generation of bold thinkers and problem solvers…what could be more important, more vital to the continued health of Los Angeles and our country?”

The evening’s emcee, Fox News anchor Jeff Michael, touched on the many world changes that had occurred since the Alliance was formed in 1985, capturing a few laughs as he waxed nostalgic about “…enormous shoulder pads, red jackets covered in zippers and, tragically, even the occasional mullet.”

Executive Director Keishia Gu thanked the evening’s co-chairs, Alliance Board of Directors, staff and supporters before noting, “We know that our economy and our society works best when we harness the energy, talents and vision of all of our people.  At the Independent School Alliance, we want everyone to have a chance to ‘play’ at the highest levels so that everyone wins…we open those doors to opportunity.”

Tim Corcoran, Board of Director’s President, presented the Alliance’s 2015 Founder’s Awards…crystal keys, representing the keys of opportunity and doors to the future that the awardees open on behalf of all Independent School Alliance families.  Awardee schools, each of whom have been with the Alliance since its formation, included:  Brentwood, Buckley, Campbell Hall, Chadwick, Chandler, Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences, Flintridge Prep, Harvard-Westlake, John Thomas Dye, Marlborough, Mayfield, Jr., Oakwood, Pilgrim, Polytechnic, St. James, St. Matthew’s, Westridge, Wildwood and Windward.

A spirited live auction, led by Grant Snyder of Snyder Auctions, included luxury getaway packages, a private Single Malt Scotch Master Class and a family photo shoot with renowned photographer Tierney Gearon, including the services of A-list celebrity stylist Elizabeth Stewart and hair and make-up preparation.

Following dinner, 11 year-old Maya movingly shared her journey with the Alliance to her final acceptance at the Archer School for Girls, “It was like Cinderella’s glass slipper…just the perfect fit!”  A straight “A” student, she’s “torn” between a career in medicine or fashion design, noting that because of the Alliance, “I have been given choices in my life.  The future is much more positive for me and I promise, whatever I decide, I will make you proud of me.” 

Neima Patterson, granddaughter of Alliance founding Executive Director, Manasa Tangalin, described what the organization had meant to her, culminating in her current stint at UCLA.  “Thanks to the Alliance and their caring staff, I know kids studying at Harvard, Yale and Northwestern who might otherwise have made it no further than a local community college.”

Brian Laibow, Managing Director at Oaktree Capital and a member of the Alliance Board of Directors, and Mary Beth Barry, Head of Admissions for the Brentwood Lower School and Chair of the Alliance Board of Directors presented the Alliance’s 2015 Impact Award to Irwin Gold, Executive Director of Houlian Lokey.  Each noted Lokey’s commitment, both philanthropic and personal, to education.  “For many years,” said Laibow, “Irwin has been a big advocate of the Alliance’s mission to enhance diversity and provide talented kids great educational opportunities.”

Actress, author and Honest Company founder Jessica Alba presented the Alliance’s 2015 Visionary Award to Brian and Mira Lee, calling them “great people…great parents…and great citizens of Los Angeles.”  Alba noted how invaluable Brian Lee was in guiding her through the formation of her own company, noting that he is “a legend at starting companies…including and shoe-dazzle,” and calling Mira Lee “an inspirational entrepreneur and award-winning broadcaster.  I love her because she’s always positive, always thinking of ways to make the world a better place.”

Established in 1985 by a group of Southern California school heads, The Independent School Alliance is an organization of 54 private, independent elementary and secondary schools that endeavor to increase their diversity. It is the mission of The Independent School Alliance to inform members of racial communities presently underrepresented in independent schools of the option of independent school education; to identify applicants from these communities and assist them in the application process; to provide on-going support programs for students and their families; and to act as a resource to member schools assisting them in their individual efforts to address issues of racial diversity and multicultural education.  Over the past 14 years, The Independent School Alliance students have received nearly $70 million in financial aid from member schools. For further information on The Independent School Alliance, please visit



joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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