"It's a delicate balance," Roz Wyman said. "In fact, it's a double delicate balance."
Whatever she wanted to call it, Wyman, along with her co-chairman Fred Hayman, pulled it off Sunday night when they kicked off next spring's first big fund-raiser for the Partnership for the Homeless.
The "delicate" part comes in, Wyman explained, when raising money for the homeless--any event has to be pleasant enough to please the attendees, while not spending money that could go toward helping people.
That problem was solved when Fred Weisman opened his art-crammed Bel-Air home, had Billie Milam act as his hostess and invited close to 300 prominent Angelenos to wander among the dozens of works by de Kooning, Rothko, Henry Moore and lots of etceteras.
Hayman took care of the cost of the event by underwriting it--including fabulous food served up by Rococo, which put its giant buffet tables in a camouflaged garage.
Making sure that everyone remembered why they were there, Ricardo Montalban pointed out that there are more people "without shelter than at any time since the Great Depression. The dimensions of the problem are staggering. At least 350,000 Americans are homeless."
Wyman dealt with the other "delicate" part in any successful fund-raiser, she said, by making sure that every element of the city was included. Since its founding last year, the Partnership has had strong downtown corporate support, but what the evening brought out were dozens of individuals and couples, many of whom pledged to buy and/or sell tables for the May 14 event. Among those were Ellen and Berny Byrens, Jane and Marc Nathanson, David and Leila Carpenter, Kathy and Al Checci, Jane and Michael Eisner, Fiorenza Courtright, Suzanne de Passe and Paul LeMat, Marshall and Marlene Grossman, Alicia and Stephen Gavin and Frances and Happy Franklin.
Look for them at the spring event, honoring Otis and Bettina Chandler. She's the founding chairman for the Partnership and, for several years, has been active in building the Downtown Women's Center Residence. Bob Burkett, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Interscope Films, said that Interscope president Ted and Susie Field will pick up all the expenses for the May event and will host it at their home, the former Harold Lloyd estate. That means that the proceeds from the $1,000-a-couple evening will go in entirety to help the homeless.
Writer Sidney Sheldon pledged $50,000, showing the kind of spirit that Wyman hopes will lead to more than $500,000 in ticket sales for the May event. And more help was announced by Bettina Chandler, who said that the James Irvine Foundation has set up a $250,000 challenge grant, matching dollar for dollar all contributions from individuals of $5,000 or more.
Jane Nathanson, like many of the other guests an experienced chairman of massive charity events, said the kick-off evening was "magic. The art collection was spectacular. Rococo outdid itself. And yet people never forgot why they came."
BITS AND PIECES--One of L.A.'s favorite charities, the Royce Two-Seventy support group for the UCLA Center for the Performing Arts, gets together members and friends at a hotdog and champagne reception Thursday night.
Among those invited are the members of the newly formed Royce 27 (that's not a typo), a new support group made up of recent graduates. The party will follow the Murray Louis/Dave Brubeck concert, and is being put together by Marilouise Zager and Royce Two-Seventy executive veep Rosalind Millstone . . .
The Brandeis University National Women's Committee's L.A. Chapter hosts its annual Authors and Celebrity Award Day on Thursday at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel . . . .