2021 Betsy Awards
Adri Butler is a parent, grandparent, and longtime community volunteer who is deeply involved with organizations that support children and education. A voracious reader and a student of literature, Adri started a bookstore in Santa Monica and managed it for 17 years. Her volunteer and philanthropic efforts are focused on improving future outcomes for children through literacy and access to quality education opportunities for all children.
Adri serves on the Board of Trustees for the Neighborhood Youth Association. She was previously a Trustee for Marlborough School, served on the board of Performing Tree, and for 15 years has worked with students at Nora Sterry Elementary School to increase students’ reading skills.
In 1995, Adri joined the Connections for Children’s Board of Directors to help address issues in early childhood development and improve educational opportunities for children. As a Board member, Adri played a key role in Connections for Children’s fundraising efforts, strategic planning, and advocated to strengthen child care services for families. During her tenure on the Board of Directors, Adri served as board president, secretary, and Fund Development chair.
As a mother, grandmother, educator, administrator, and attorney specializing in childcare issues, Bonnie Bailer has dedicated her professional life to advocating for policies and programs that impact the healthy development and education of children and communities. In 1997, Bonnie joined Connections for Children’s Board of Directors, sharing its commitment to the value of high-quality, accessible and affordable childcare and its impact on the lives of families.
Bonnie worked as an educator, a corporate fundraiser for the NAACP, a directing attorney of Public Counsel Law Center’s Child Care Law Project, and program director for Northridge Hospital’s Center for Healthier Communities. She also chaired the Los Angeles County Child Care Planning Committee and was vice chair of the Los Angeles County Policy Roundtable for Child Care.
For more than two decades, Bonnie played a key role in advancing Connections for Children’s mission and philanthropic efforts – serving the agency in many leadership capacities including president, vice president, Fund Development Committee chair, and Board Development Committee chair. Bonnie helped Connections for Children launch our Betsy Awards event and continues to support the agency as a member of its Honorary Board.
In 1998, Jeff Assaf joined Connections for Children’s board of directors. Being the oldest of six children and father of two daughters, Jeff values the need for affordable, quality child care so that families can thrive.
As Senior Managing Director and the Chief Investment Officer of ICG Advisors, Jeff offered his expertise in financial management and relationship building to strengthen and build Connections for Children’s financial underpinnings.
Throughout his career, Jeff has been involved with supporting community-based nonprofit organizations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors or Board of Governors of the Cancer Support Community Los Angeles, Uplift Family Services, Shatterproof, St. John’s Health Center Foundation, Concern Worldwide, the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation, and Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC).
Jeff served as the Board Treasurer for Connections for Children, providing advice and expert oversight of the budget and financial investments, and focused on building the agency’s reserve fund. Jeff is a founding member of Connections for Children’s Honorary Board, created to recognize those who have supported the organization in meaningful ways over many years, and who continue to facilitate ongoing engagement and fundraising to benefit the agency.
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Connections for Children recognizes the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce for its long-term commitment to the importance of early childhood development among business leaders and policymakers. It has been a leader in the business community to raise awareness of high-quality, affordable child care as essential to enabling families to participate fully in the work force, supporting a strong economic base, and providing children with a pathway to a successful and productive future.
The Chamber has led education initiatives, such as UNITE-LA, L.A. Compact, and Campaign for Grade Level Reading, which strengthened regional partnerships with business organizations, school districts, cities and public agencies in Los Angeles County to improve outcomes for children, cradle to career. The Chamber has advocated for early childhood initiatives and convened and hosted important discussions aimed at advancing quality early learning systems and workforce development. Through this work, the Chamber has raised the visibility of early childhood as critical to economic prosperity and community wellbeing.
Early childhood has traditionally “belonged to” the education and social service sectors, without much attention being paid to its fundamental importance to the business sector. The COVID-19 pandemic focused attention on the pivotal role that child care plays to enable continuation of essential economic and social activities, a role it will continue to play in supporting economic recovery. Long before the pandemic, the Chamber elevated the importance of the earliest years. Its commitment to early childhood is even more important today. Connections for Children is proud to recognize the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce for its leadership.
Connections for Children is pleased to invite you to an exciting evening with a live dance activity with Arthur Murray Dance Studio, honoree awards, and raffle prizes.
A Virtual Event
April 21, 2021
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Amy & Bryan Riggs
Bev’s Closet, Inc.
Carol & Bill Powell
Child Care Resource Center
Drew Child Development Corporation
ICG Advisors, LLC
Nat & Ida Trives
Providence Saint John's Health Center
Sharon & Andy Gavin
The Ruth Group
Special Thanks to Kim Chi Avocado and Sharon and Andy Gavin