April 9, 2022

Media Contacts:

Don Franken,
Communications Director
(310) 962-3297

Sonya Blake,
President, and CEO
Office: (818) 379 7000 ext. 106
Cell: (323) 791-2239


Things heat up at The Valley Of The Stars Gala with The Largest Crowd in 10 years and strong charity fundraising totals

The Sky’s the Limit for The Valley Economic Alliance 2022 Valley of the Stars Awards Gala (In-Person) hosted by Jerry O’Connell

Friday, April 8, 2022, The Valley Economic Alliance presented the 2022 Valley of the Stars Awards Gala with the theme, The Sky’s the Limit. This was the first time the event was held live since the Covid pandemic began. This Gala had its largest crowd of attendees in 11 years with over 400 people attending the event. Fundraising was also up with over $150,000 raised for the nonprofit.

“Last year I was hosting this event virtually from my basement. Now I am looking out at a ballroom full of smiling faces,” said event host Jerry O’Connell.

“The Board and staff couldn’t be more thrilled with the outpouring of support our sponsors showed toward our work,” said Sonya Blake, President & CEO. “The Gala’s large attendance and fundraising success demonstrate The Alliance’s ability to galvanize our community leaders to advance our mission.”

The Red Carpet began at 5:30 p.m. Attendees lined the red carpet, including the host Jerry O’Connell, Rams Hall of Fame Running Back Eric Dickerson, Christy Vega of Casa Vega, Ken Craft of Hope of the Valley, and Amit Kleinberger of Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt. Also seen on the red carpet were The Valley Economic Alliance CEO Sonya Blake, TVEA Chairman Fred Gaines, Congressman Brad Sherman, Assembly member Adrin Nazarian, and LA City Council members Bob Blumenfield, Paul Krekorian, and Nithya Raman. Burbank Mayor Jess A. Talamantes, Calabasas Mayor Mary Sue Maurer, and City of San Fernando Mayor Mary Mendoza also paraded down the red carpet at the Valley of the Stars Gala.

The Valley of the Stars Gala was held high above the City at Castaway in Burbank with actor Jerry O’Connell hosting. Honorees included Eric Dickerson, former LA Rams player, as the Sports & Entertainment Honoree; Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt as the Jane and Bert Boeckmann Business Leadership Honoree; Ken Craft of Hope of the Valley as the Humanitarian Honoree, and Christy Vega, owner of Casa Vega, as the Trailblazer Honoree.

For 24 years the Valley of the Stars Awards Gala has promoted diversity and inclusion. It has funded minority, women’s, veterans, and disabled job programs throughout the city and is an engine for economic development. This annual fundraiser makes business education and career advancement possible throughout the Valley.

This highly anticipated in-person and live Gala was fast-paced, heart-tugging, funny, and full of surprises. Held at the beautiful Castaway Ballroom high atop Burbank, overlooking the City, this Gala provided the inspiration and the entertainment guests have come to expect while generating critical funds to sustain the Alliance’s Business Assistance Program in the coming year. Master of Ceremonies Jerry O’Connell, co-host of The Talk, delivered a fun-filled, elegant evening. Awards were the centerpiece of the Gala. The prestigious Star of the Valley Award – one of the most anticipated honors bestowed in Los Angeles – celebrates the businesses, people, and personalities that contribute to the vitality of the San Fernando Valley. Event visuals were stunning with more than 400 guests in cocktail and business attire and an evening of awards presentations from the stage with a view of Burbank directly behind the stage through the beautiful glass ballroom backdrop.