Members of the La Quinta High School baseball team greeted the 700 attendees to the 2016 Champion Honors Luncheon benefiting the Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused Children.
Among the 2016 Champions were former Baseball Commissioner Allan "Bud" Selig and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, who hit 755 home runs over a 23-year career.
Actress Jill St. John was honored this year for being the Founder and very first member of the Aunt's Club.
The highlight of the luncheon was the intimate conversation on stage between Aaron and Selig, about Aaron's career as a major baseball player, and about major baseball in general.
Wells Fargo was presenting sponsor and event sponsors were Annenberg Foundation, Marie & Dean Buntrock, City National Bank, Eisenhower Medical Center, Helene Galen & Jamie Kabler, Christina and Louis Gantz, Angie Gerber, Diane & Hal Gershowitz, Goldman Sachs, Hamerslag Family, R.D. & Joan Dale Hubbard Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, Vern Kozlen, Connie & Bob Lurie, The Marcus Corporation, Harold Matzner, JoAnn McGrath, Cydney & Bill Osterman, San Diego Padres, and Joyce and the Saul Brandman Foundation.
Helene Galen was event chair, aided by committee members Leisa Austin, Ursula Gari, Angie Gerber, Harold Gershowitz, Arthur Jacobson, Harold Matzner, Bill Nicholson, and Jane Saltonstall. The event grossed $370,000 and signed up more than 100 new Aunts and Uncles who help address the needs of abused children with an annual donation of $1,000.
Barbara Sinatra and close friends Nelda Linsk and Barbara Kaplan, wife of Desert Regional Hospital's Cardiology Chief Dr. Dan Kaplan, came up with the original idea for a center to provide counseling free of charge for victims of physical, sexual and emotional child abuse. Founded in 1986 by Barbara and Frank Sinatra, the nonprofit center's mission is to break the generational cycle of abuse by focusing on prevention and education.
Photography by Lani Garfield