I met John Varvatos a few years ago in his office in New York City and since then have become friends. He has attended the Greek America Foundation’s events often and even serves on our board of directors, always offering me advice and support in various ways. A few years back, he even hosted a cocktail party that benefited the foundation at his Soho store in New York City.
About five years ago John invited me to attend a fundraiser he hosted annually at his shop in West Hollywood. The event was to benefit a charity close to his heart— Stuart House, which is a nationally recognized model center that provides care and support to sexually abused children.
This was the first year I could not attend the event since first attending and supporting in 2009.
The event— unlike any I have ever attended, gathers some of Hollywood’s top talent. In the past, people like Jennifer Aniston, Cindy Crawford, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck have served as hosts and chairpeople.
More than just a “fundraiser,” John closes the streets around his shop— Robertson and Melrose, to be exact— one of the busiest intersections that unites Beverly Hills with West Hollywood and attracts 1,500 people— families with their children, under a tent with music, food and a lot of goodness.
There’s even a children’s tent with celebrities reading stories, face-painting and dozens of other activities.
This year, $1 million was raised for a charity that supports some of the most vulnerable citizens of our society— sexually abused children, many of whom do not have a voice to speak up.
I’m proud of John and feel lucky to be involved, even in a small way, with supporting Stuart House every year by supporting this event.
To him, this is an extension of who he is, not only the Greek in him with philanthropy as part of his cultural DNA— but John Varvatos the human. We all can learn from his efforts and do our own part in helping to change the world around us.