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Black Tie International:
Steel Magnolias
Shirley Wild (founder). Anthony Gagliardi (chairman of the board), Hilda Sanchez (2018 president), Dr. Gary Feldman, Medical Director of the Stramski Children’s Developmental Center.  Photo by: Janis Krantz for Steel Magnolias
Shirley Wild (founder). Anthony Gagliardi (chairman of the board), Hilda Sanchez
(2018 president), Dr. Gary Feldman, Medical Director of the Stramski Children’s Developmental Center
 Photo by: Janis Krantz for Steel Magnolias
Steel Magnolias Raises More Than $245K For Children's Cause

Long Beach, Calif.—(February 25,2019)— Steel Magnolias, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization celebrating its 20th year as one of Long Beach’s most significant philanthropies, announced today that it raised nearly $250,000 in 2018 for children diagnosed with developmental delays, behavioral and learning  challenges as well as other special  needs. 

Dr. Gary Feldman, director of The Stramski Center at Miller’s Children’s and Women’s Hospital, was presented with a check for $140,000 to continue his work with his young patients.  The remaining $106,092 was donated to an endowment fund earmarked for future donations to Steel Magnolias’ main mission. 

“This is why we do what we do,” said Sofia Riley, president of Steel Magnolias.  “Our goal each and every year is to raise more than we did the year before, and in 2018 we succeeded.  I’m looking forward to leading our dedicated group of volunteers to raising not only more fund, but friends of Steel Magnolias, as we begin the new year.” 

Since its founding in 1999 by Shirley Wild, society columnist for the Press Telegram, the all-volunteer group of 50 men and women has raised $5.38 million.  There are no paid administrators or brick and mortar offices, monthly meetings and committee meetings are held either at members’ homes or places of business.

Steel Magnolias raises money by hosting three annual events:

Home Tour (May 5), Signature Event (August/September) and the Rally Round Golf Tournament, to be held October 28 and sponsored by local businessman Mohammad Raghib.   Mr. Raghib donates all net proceeds to Steel Magnolias.   In addition, they also partner with various Long Beach-based companies and corporations who generously donate money and in-kind services that help feed the bottom line. 

Steel Magnolias, celebrating its 20th year, is a 501(c) (3) organization. All net proceeds raised go to help children with severe behavioral and developmental challenges.  Companies interested in sponsoring an event should call562.331.8007.


The Steel Magnolias is an all-volunteer organization whose main recipient is the Stramski Children’s Developmental Center that has been dedicated to children and families since 1975. The center helps children and families deal with conditions such as autism, cleft lip and palate, birth defects, learning problems, and other developmental delays. The center also has clinics specializing in sleep disorders and international adoption. It is at the forefront of the study of Fragile X Syndrome. Although many of these children’s conditions are “invisible,” they are often serious and accompanied by a lifetime of challenges. Very few of these problems are “quick-fixes” — they require numerous consultations and extensive pre- and post-consult work. Often, parents have difficulty advocating for their children due to cultural, educational and language differences. The Stramski Center fills this gap by facilitating access to services and monitoring progress. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the center is able to provide individualized care to help children reach their optimum potential. Each year, the Stramski Center completes more than 6,000 child visits, treating kids with serious, often life-long, medical conditions so they can achieve their highest potential.


joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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