MFA Honors Investigators and Raises Over $1 Million at Hidden Heroes Gala


On August 29, 2015, Mercy For Animals honored its undercover investigators during the Hidden Heroes Gala at Unici Casa in Culver City.


The celebration began with a VIP reception and unforgettable “Blue Carpet” experience. Joaquin Phoenix, Pamela Anderson, Moby, Diane Warren, Emily Deschanel, Fiona Gubleman, Tony Kanal, Russell Simmons, Jennifer Tilly, Martha Quinn, Daisy Fuentes, Richard Marx, Otep, and many other notable celebrity supporters stopped for photos before mingling with guests.


Guests enjoyed gorgeous passed hors d’oeuvres provided and served by Gardein in an inspiringly modern outdoor space.


The silent auction sparked friendly bidding wars over farmed animal-themed artwork by Al Jackson and others as well as fabulous getaways and gift baskets from Miyoko’s Kitchen, MooShoes, and Vega.


Guests were ushered into Unici Casa’s stunning interior, featuring floor-to-ceiling projections of inspiring images of MFA’s work, for a seated feast and program beneath colorful chandeliers.


Guests raved about the delicious three-course meal featuring fine wine courtesy of Querciabella.


Guests were then treated to the masterful and hilarious emceeing of broadcasting great Jane Velez-Mitchell and NBA superstar John Salley.


There was no shortage of standing ovations and tears during the presentation of The Compassionate Courage Award by Emily Deschanel and The Hidden Hero Award by Moby and Joaquin Phoenix. Before a beaming and visibly moved audience, award recipients AJ Garcia and Elizabeth Pachaud, respectively, each spoke with passion and eloquence about their experiences as undercover investigators for MFA.


Pamela Anderson gave a stirring tribute to the late Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons and longtime animal advocate, before presenting the award named in his honor to Morrissey.


The no-dry-eyes program concluded with a high-energy round of fundraising, led by Nathan Runkle, MFA founder and president, and Ari Solomon, director of communications. The lightning round appeal had guests jumping out of their seats to offer support that tallied to more than $1 million in just a few exciting minutes. A special thank you to longtime MFA supporter Ari Nessel, who matched $500K in gala donations.


The party continued under the full moon with dancing, drinks, and dessert.


MFA would like to thank each and every guest and our generous sponsors for making the Hidden Heroes Gala what many attendees are calling “the most inspiring event I’ve ever been to.” We’d like to especially thank Andy Nahas and The Prospect Fund, The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, Gardein, Querciabella, Treeline Treenut Cheese, and VegNews magazine.

You can view our Hidden Heroes Gala photo album here:

Hidden Heroes Gala 2015

Couldn’t make the event but still want to support MFA’s heroic investigators? Click here to make a donation today.