Backbeat: Live Nation's Joe Berchtold Honored By L.A. Team Mentoring
Backbeat: Live Nation's Joe Berchtold Honored By L.A. Team Mentoring

Live Nation COO Joe Berchtold who was honored by Los Angeles Team Mentoring's14th Annual Soiree fundraising auction Thursday night. (Photo: JennKL)

BEVERLY HILLS, California - Live Nation COO Joe Berchtold was honored by Los Angeles Team Mentoring (LATM) at the non-profit's 14th Annual Soiree fundraising auction Thursday night, which raised over $600,000 to benefit at-risk youth.

The ballroom of the swanky Beverly Wilshire Hotel, just east of Rodeo Drive, was the scene of a cocktail reception, dinner, silent auction and energetic live auction which raised money for LATM's TeamWorks after-school mentoring program. They operate in 11 middle schools across Los Angeles. Berchtold, the night's Keynote Honoree, is a past Board Chairman of LATM.

"I got involved just over ten years ago when my daughter was a year old," said Berchtold in his address, acknowledging that many may have questioned making a time commitment to charity at such an already time consuming juncture in a new father's life. "I saw the benefits that my daughter would have, the things that she would be exposed to, the opportunities she would have to advance herself and how 100,000 of her peers, every year, in [Los Angeles Unified School District] wouldn't," he explained. "And I said, 'If I'm not going to have the time to help these folks now, then when am I? And who else is going to?' I think that's the most critical thing: just to make the effort to get involved and to help out."

LATM's TeamWorks program focuses on team building, leadership, healthy relationships, health, conflict resolution, anger management and other character-building concepts for at-risk kids. LATM and their TeamWorks program began in 1992 in the aftermath of the LA riots. The 14th Annual Soiree was also a celebration of the organization's 20th Anniversary.

"It really is a remarkable institution, if you think about it. I think it has moved from being one of many nonprofits to a true LA asset, a true LA institution," Berchtold pointed out. "Over ninety percent of nonprofits fail and they generally fail within the first ten years. For Los Angeles Team Mentoring to last for 20 years is truly unusual. To having served over 20,000 kids with 5,000 mentors over the last 20 years, this is truly an LA asset. And it only exists for two reasons: one is because it works. The schools recognize it, the youth recognize it. And two, because of the support that you and so many others give."

Billionaire media mogul Haim Saban, executives from Sony Pictures and Disney, private equity investors and venture capitalists, LATM mentorship program participants and volunteers and other guests were able to bid on items like: VIP tickets and meet-and-greet packages for One Direction, Lady Gaga and Maroon 5 (who also donated a signed guitar); gift baskets containing DVDs from Showtime, Fox and Soap Network; tickets to Ellen and Conan; trips to Italy and England; wines; D avid Leverett paintings; Dodgers, Lakers and Clippers ticket packages and much more.

"Show of hands if you have no idea who One Direction is," cracked the auctioneer, who went on to note they're the only British band to debut atop the Billboard 200. The One Direction package went for $2,250; Maroon 5 sold for $1,500.

"It's a proven, very effective model. We know that every one dollar invested in LA Team Mentoring provides over ten dollars in benefits - avoiding pregnancies, avoiding drug use, avoiding dropping out, avoiding crime," explained Berchtold. "It's absolutely critical to continue to develop these and other programs to help our youth today."

Anthony Wilder "Tony" Miller, Deputy Secretary of Education . (Photo: JennKL)

Berchtold was introduced by Deputy Secretary of Education Anthony Wilder "Tony" Miller. The evening's program also took time to honor Todd Magnus, Marcus Schuette, Greg Amelio and Sandra Belton, who between them have over 50 years of collective experience with LATM's programs in LA schools like Johnnie Cochran, Jr. Middle School and Horace Mann Middle School