GMCLA’s GALA 2021 was a great success! The Gala was supported by a $50,000 Challenge Grant from Carol and Richard Weaver with additional sponsorship from Morgan Stanley and The Vyas and Youredjian families. The event raised over $100,000 in total to support GMCLA’s reopening season and its return to the Alive Music Project.
GMCLA’s first ever “hybrid” live event was streamed live from the gorgeous Toluca Lake home of GMCLA Board Members Greg Weaver and Haig Youredjian. Thirty generous donors attended in person as hundreds of viewed from home. The show was hosted by the hilarious Kalen Allen, who performed a knock out solo, and featured live performances by GMCLA’s a cappella group, Aftershock, and the larger Chorus in glorious performances from the Getty Center. The incredible star of Broadway’s Wicked and Waitress, Shoshana Bean brought down the house as she did at GMCLA’s Gala two years ago, and the R&B singing sensation, and 2021 Oscar-nominee, Andra Day, created a new version of Rise Up just for the night!
Greg Weaver, Board Chair and Lou Spisto, Executive Director & Producer bestowed GMCLA’s annual Voice Award to Dr. Jerry Abraham for his continuing crusade to provide COVID-19 testing and vaccines to communities of color in South Central Los Angeles.
Photos: James Geiger Photography
Kalen Allen, Host
At just 25 years old, award-nominated actor, producer, singer, and television personality Kalen Allen has catapulted into the mainstream media, reaching millions of people worldwide across his social media platforms and through his content online. Discovered in 2018 by renowned talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, Allen first made a name for himself through his hilarious “Kalen Reacts” videos, giving colorful and witty commentary on culinary concoctions online. Today, Allen holds a regular guest spot on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and often takes his trademark wide-brimmed red hat and infectious personality to high-profile events, such as the Billboard Music Awards and the MTV Video Music Awards. He also has his own weekly digital news series, “OMKalen,” and appears as a judge in the Food Network’s newest baking competition series, “Cakealikes.” On the digital front, Allen’s videos boast an impressive 600+ million views. In film, Allen made his feature film acting debut in Seth Rogen’s “An American Pickle” for HBO Max. Allen recently made his music debut with the release of his holiday album, “For Christmas Sake!” Featuring tracks with MJ Rodriguez (“Pose”) and Alex Newell (“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”), the EP soared to the Top 10 holiday charts upon its release in December 2020. Kalen actively supports The Point Foundation, which empowers aspiring LGBTQ+ individuals to achieve their full academic and leadership potential.
Dr. Jerry Abraham, Honoree
Dr. Abraham and his team have now vaccinated over 250,000 people in South Los Angeles. He serves as the Director of the KEDREN Vaccines Program, which is committed to vaccinating a high volume of patients against COVID-19, as equitably, fairly, justly distributed and administered, and with accurate and timely reporting back to the various jurisdictions and authorities including the California Department of Public Health CDPH. Dr. Abraham is a Harvard-Emory-University of Texas-USC trained Family & Community Medicine Physician, Global Injury Epidemiologist, and Medical Quality Specialist, caring for patients in South Los Angeles at KEDREN HEALTH, a Historically Black Institution, which includes an Acute Psychiatric Hospital with an outpatient Mental Health outfit with field-based work, and a Federally Qualified Health Center FQHC Patient Centered Medical Home PCMH Primary Care Clinics.