The first of three breakfasts hosted by the City of Hope to kick off its 2018 fundraising campaign took place at the Viceroy L’Ermitage in Beverly Hills on Thursday. On hand was this year’s Spirit of Life Award honoree, Warner/Chappell chairman/CEO Jon Platt, who is already promising that the organization’s gala dinner on Oct. 11 in Los Angeles will be “one for the ages.”
“It’s going to be one that you’ll never forget — but you have to pay for it,” Platt added as guests broke into laughter. Taking a more serious turn, Platt underscored his commitment to City of Hope’s mission to cure and ultimately prevent cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases — and challenged others to step up as well.
“Now it’s my turn to do my part,” emphasized Platt. “In fact, it’s our turn — the generation of executives that I come from — to do our part. And to be even more frank, it’s our culture’s turn to do our part, and we’re ready. So as humbled as I am to be this year’s honoree, I don’t really feel this is a personal honor. It’s an opportunity to make a meaningful impact for those in need. I challenge myself to raise more money than has ever been raised before because this cause is so personal to me,” added Platt, whose eldest son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes nine years ago. “So I’m going to be calling all of you. If we work together we can make a difference — and I want to make a difference.”
Prior to Platt’s remarks, Universal Music Publishing Group chairman/CEO Jody Gerson chatted briefly about giving a neophyte kid from Denver his first music publishing gig at EMI. “He was relentless,” recalled Gerson. “Very few executives that I’ve hired compare to Jon and his integrity, work ethic and deep relationships.” Platt was accompanied to the breakfast by his wife Angie, who sits on the board of directors for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Among the other executives and creatives gathered on the hotel’s rooftop terrace were Motown president Ethiopia Habtemariam, Creative Artists Agency partner/managing director/head of music Rob Light, entertainment attorneys Doug Davis and Don Passman, Spotify global head of creator services Troy Carter, Warner/Chappell co-head of A&R, U.S. Ryan Press, former artist manager/label executive Clarence Avant, songwriter/producer Irv Gotti and Universal Music Publishing president, North America Evan Lamberg. Lamberg also serves as president of City of Hope’s Music, Film and Entertainment Industry Group executive board.
Before bringing Gerson to the podium, breakfast emcee Lamberg welcomed cancer survivor Kommah McDowell. Diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in 2005, McDowell was given a five percent chance of living. Now cancer free and the mother of two sons, McDowell’s emotional testimony (“I am a walking miracle”) drew rousing applause and a standing ovation.
The City of Hope will host two more breakfasts — in Nashville (May 16) and New York (May 22) — prior to the gala dinner honoring Platt in October.