A Night of Shining a Light: Shine Global’s 5th Annual Gala

On Thursday, October 10 we threw the fifth annual Shine Global Gala with the theme “Why we Shine a light,” bringing together filmmakers, Shine Global supporters, and champions of children’s rights highlighting our mission of sharing stories of children and their families’ resilience through film.

Following cocktails with music performed by Don Sarlin, Shine Global board members Marilyn DeLuca (Chair of the Development Committee) and Anne Prost (Chair of the Board) kicked off the evening by explaining the need for donors and philanthropists to support Shine Global’s type of storytelling, and what that support has accomplished in the last 14 years.

Shine Global co-founder Albie Hecht acknowledged just how many amazing stories are currently being told by talented filmmakers, which makes it tough to choose which films are going to be Shine Global films. “So what do we look for? We look for stories that shine a light on untold issues and we look for them to take us to places we have never gone before.  And finally, we look for compelling characters that charge the stories with emotion and a cinematic feel like you normally find in a fiction film,” he explained.  He then introduced three current projects of Shine Global: Virtually Free by director André Robert Lee focusing on the need for alternatives to sending kids to jail; an upcoming film by directors/producers Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci filmed over a decade and telling the coming-of-age story of an undocumented boy in New York City; and a film still in production about the Rohingya refugee crisis by Director Taimi Arvidson and Producer Brette Ragland.

Executive Director and Co-Founder Susan MacLaury highlighted the urgency of the moment in supporting storytelling about children’s issues and premiered a new video about why Shine Global “Shines a Light.”  Reflecting on recent governments lack of support for the neediest in the world, Susan declared, “This is a time for personal and group activism, to fight the good fight on behalf of our neediest children. It is not only right, but essential, that we each pay attention to those who are suffering and do what we can to end it.”  And affirming that “These are Shine Global’s children now and we will keep faith with them and do all that we can to make sure their hope is rewarded.”

The Spirt Award was presented to Dario Spina, the Chief Marketing Officer of Viacom Velocity and a long time Shine Global board member for his dedication to using the power of media to transform children’s lives.  Speaking about what makes Shine Global unique, Dario said “the stories we tell are typically through the eyes of a child…. we find that it’s more impactful to tell the individual stories of these amazing children, that give a voice to and represent potentially millions of kids and their families that are affected by these issues…in the end, what’s more important than making this world a better place for our children? Nothing!”

And that’s what made the evening so inspiring.  A ballroom full of people who believe what Dario believes – that we must act now to better the lives of children around the world – and in the power of film and storytelling to be a part of that change.

If you missed the gala, you can still contribute to Shine Global’s mission by becoming a member or making a donation before the end of the year!

And check out the photos from the event on our Facebook page!

And watch the new highlights video “Why We Shine a Light” that we premiered at the gala:






Presenting Sponsors: Viacom and Nickelodeon
Lead Sponsor:
Wine Provided by: Heritage Auctions
Music Performed by: Don Sarlin
Other Sponsors: Sunset Marquis Hotel


Host Committee

Anne Prost & Olivier Robert
Betty & Greg Murphy
Ellen & Wendell Maddrey
Gail & Victor Khosla
Luz & Bill MacArthur
Marla & Bobby Baker
Maria & Keith Brown
Marilyn DeLuca & John Rotrosen
Marcia Marley & Peter Rappoport
Susan & Arthur Hatzopoulos
Susan MacLaury & Albie Hecht
Susan Ringo & Barry Sonnenfeld



Yasmeen Alkooheji
Alex Erdekian
Rose Frankel
Autumn Gonzalez
Alex Hecht
Whitney Hudson
Carole Martinez
Amanda Rivera
Julia Rothkoff