Angels of Hope came into being in February of 2003 at a meeting in a public clubhouse in Rancho Palos Verdes. The group was the brainchild of William “Bill” Finkel. Bill and his wife, Rita Cooper-Finkel, were already major donors to City of Hope, having endowed the Cooper Auditorium and the Cooper-Finkel Women’s Health Center. Bill had already started several successful philanthropic organizations in Palos Verdes and was convinced that local residents would also be generous in their support of City of Hope. We were also fortunate in having Betty and Irwin Helford not only as residents, but also as strong supporters of this initiative.
Our Chapter quickly mobilized friends and neighbors so that we grew to about 80 members in less than a year. Only eight months later, we held an ambitious dinner fundraiser called “Hope is a Cabaret” and raised over $80,000 from dinner sales, a Tribute Book, silent and live auctions and subsidies for the event. Betty and Irwin Helford were honored as our “Angels of The Year” and over 220 people attended. About 40 of our members also visited City of Hope to witness the “Topping Off” ceremony for the Helford Clinical Research Hospital which opened in summer 2005.
Membership increased to over 100 families in 2005 thanks to a chapter-sponsored luncheon that featured a talk on lung cancer detection and treatment by City of Hope’s Dr. Kemp Kernstine. In October 2005, we held another dinner at the Norris Auditorium called “World of Hope” honoring the Finkels as our “Angels of the Year.” This gala event raised over $90,000 and more than 250 people attended.
In 2006, we had a Valentine’s Day Brunch at a local Clubhouse and invited members to bring guests that might join. The event was successful in bringing together all of our members for fun and to be educated by Dr. Kevin Ferrara on latest developments in treating diabetes at City of Hope. The event brought in 5 new family members. As Chapter President, I also gave talks about City of Hope to a local women’s club and to a local men's breakfast club. The result was sign-ups of 20 new people to take our tour.
We are always looking for new “angels,” so I invite you to attend one of our upcoming meetings and learn how you can support City of Hope in their life-saving mission by becoming an “Angel of Hope.”
Barry Tyson, President
Angels of Hope Chapter