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Black Tie International:
Annual Caritas Gala
 Honorees Tonian Hohberg, Yolanda Foster and David Foster.  Photo by:  Brandon Clark/ABImages
 Honorees Tonian Hohberg, Yolanda and David Foster.  Photo by:  Brandon Clark/ABImages






SANTA MONICA, CA (October 27, 2014) – The Irene Dunne Guild in partnership with the Saint John’s Health Center Foundation, hosted the 2014 Caritas Gala Saturday night at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Beverly Hills.  The annual black-tie event celebrates individuals who demonstrate compassion for others through exceptional service to the community.   Multi award-winning musician, songwriter, composer, arranger, producer and recording artist David Foster and his wife, television personality, model and interior designer Yolanda Foster received the Caritas Award; and Tonian Hohberg, president and founder of FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising was presented the Spirit of Saint John’s Award.

Gala Chair Evelyn Guerboian and Chairman of Saint John’s Health Center Foundation Board of Trustees, Dr. John Robertson welcomed the more than 550 guests , noting that since the Guild’s inception in 1987, its members have raised more than $11 million for Saint John’s.

Newly named Chief Executive of Saint John’s Health Center, Marcel Loh was introduced, remarking that “I was aware of the Saint John’s reputation before I arrived.  As you know, there are two very different skills required when working in medicine:  treating the illness and treating the patient.  I’m proud to say that here at Saint John’s, I’ve seen a wonderful balance of expert skill and compassion.”

Recipient of the 2012 Caritas Award and a member of the Saint John’s family since 1987, Sister Maureen Craig introduced Larry Wayne Morbitt, cousin of honoree Tonian Hohberg and an accomplished international vocalist, who sang a moving version of The Prayer of Saint Francis.

Introducing the Spirit of Saint John’s awardee, Sister Maureen described Tonian Hohberg , a  Foundation trustee, as “the personification of our spirit,” adding, “It took a spirit of adventure to come to California and start what was going to be a small school for talented young designers, but look what it’s turned into.  FIDM is an important and essential part of downtown LA with a reputation worldwide.” 

Longtime friend of Caritas Award honorees Yolanda and David Foster, presenter Dr. Lawrence Piro, President and CEO of The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute and a member of the Saint John’s Health Center Board of Directors described the multi-talented duo as wonderful parents, great friends and people who live lives that embody the spirit of ‘Caritas’”.

Highlighting the evening was a special performance by David Foster and friends including soulful solos by jazz singer Brenna Whitaker, singer/songwriter Shalea, actor/singer/dancer Rogelio Douglas, Jr. and opera singer Nathan Granner.  The ensemble brought the crowd to their feet with a rousing rendition of “Happy.”  The evening continued with late night dancing to the music of the Cowling Band.


About Yolanda and David Foster

David Foster has created albums that have collectively sold in the hundreds of millions and has worked with Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, Rod Stewart and Stevie Wonder, among a host of others.  He has won 16 Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe and received three Oscar nominations for “Best Original Song , been inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame and received a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame.  In 2012, David entered into a new phase in his career, becoming chairman of Universal’s Verve Music Group. Making charitable work a priority, he founded The David Foster Foundation in 1985. In addition, he has volunteered his time and talent to more than 400 charities, including the annual Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night, The Andre Agassi Foundation and Carousel of Hope. 

Yolanda Foster is best known for her starring role in “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Born in Papendrecht, Netherlands, she was discovered at 16 by Eileen Ford, owner of Ford Models. She signed with Ford and modeled throughout the world.  Based on her own battle with Lyme disease, Yolanda has become an impassioned advocate for seeking a cure for the debilitating disease.  A dedicated philanthropist, she is a major supporter of the David Foster Foundation, Habitat for Humanity and the Belo Children’s Cancer Ward in Manila Hospital in the Philippines. She currently runs Hopelessly Romantic, a business to help men and women “get wise and keep their romance alive.” 


About Tonian Hohberg

Foundation trustee Tonian Hohberg was honored with the Spirit of Saint John’s Award for her inspirational service to Providence Saint John’s and its mission. Hohberg is president and founder of Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, an internationally recognized college with 7,000 students and more than 60,000 graduates. FIDM is a private degree granting institution of higher learning that specializes in preparing students for careers in fashion design, interior graphic, visual and entertainment industries. She also is founder and president of the FIDM Scholarship Foundation and the FIDM Library and Museum Foundation. A four-term commissioner for the California Student Aid Commission, Hohberg was a member of the American Council on Education Governmental Relations Committee and serves on the executive committee of the Central City Association. She has been honored by the National Women’s Economic Alliance Foundation, the National Conference of Christians and Jews and THE MUSES of California Science Center, among others.

The Caritas Gala is co-hosted each year by the Irene Dunne Guild in partnership with Saint John’s Health Center Foundation to honor individuals who exemplify dedication and commitment to the community and embody the philosophy and mission of Saint John’s. Proceeds from the gala benefit vital programs and services at the health center. Since 1987, the Guild has raised more than $11 million and has supported Saint John’s through a wide variety of innovative philanthropic, educational and volunteer programs and services. The Guild was named for the late actress Irene Dunne, considered the “First Lady” of Saint John’s.

Past Caritas Gala honorees include Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, Former First Lady Nancy Reagan, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, Martin Sheen, Vin Scully, Robert Wagner, Angela Lansbury, Pierce Brosnan, Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards, Chris O’Donnell and Jimmy Stewart.


joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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