13th Annual “Funny 4 A Reason” Raises Awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month at Ontario Improv
The Children’s Foundation of America raised nearly $4,000 for children affected by abuse, neglect and abandonment at this year’s “Funny 4 A Reason” comedy fundraiser at the world-famous Ontario Improv on April 2.
Thank you to the Ontario Improv for once again hosting the event and to the comics for donating their time and talents to this important cause! Approximately 200 people came together to support and raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month, which takes place nationally each April.
Comics and guests wore blue and were provided with Child Abuse Prevention Month clappers and stickers to participate in the movement. For the first time at our show, the audience was also given the opportunity to engage in a raffle! The Ontario Improv provided the opportunity to win tickets to the upcoming Arsenio Hall show. There was also an opportunity to win a Starbucks gift card, a Buca di Beppo gift basket and more. Additionally, Rainforest Café provided coupons for all our guests!
“It’s for the Children!”
This year’s event headlined Michael “Batman” Rhodes (Last Comic Standing) and also featured Vince Royale (Attack of the Killer Donuts), Ro DelleGrazie (Tru TV), Laniea Dominguez (Comedy For Causes), and Anthony Stone (I’m In Love With The Tacos viral video).
Our Donor Relations & Community Outreach Coordinator, Amber Thorneycroft, has been a stand-up comic for several years and made her debut as this year’s host to rave reviews! One attendee said they “enjoyed the comedians and Amber as the host.” Another said they enjoyed “the variety of comics” that our host brought to the show.
CFA Executive Director, Cher Ofstedahl, who has previously hosted the show, got the opportunity to present a whole stand-up set at this year’s event and was an audience favorite! In addition to her role at the Children’s Foundation, Cher is the Chief Operating Officer for Trinity Youth Services foster agency and has also worked in the music industry and as a professional actress.
Everyone on our team got the opportunity to shine. Development Specialist, Jenelle Phillips, sold raffle tickets during the show and Communications & Volunteer Specialist, Marie Maghuyop, “felt like a bridesmaid” supporting Amber on stage with awarding raffle prizes.
Supporting Victims of Child Abuse
Nearly 700,000 children are the victims of abuse annually in the United States. The purpose of CFA’s “Funny 4 A Reason” is to bring hope and support to trauma-affected children. Proceeds from ticket purchases, raffle tickets and other donations directly benefit foster youth in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.
“What we’re trying to do is give these children something to smile about, and you can do your part by buying those tickets,” said headliner Michael Rhodes.
Laniea Dominguez, who was our show opener said, “We’re here to help foster youth. They always end up getting the short end of the stick, so we’re here to make that stick longer. We’re just going to do great things for this cause.”
Be the Difference
The Children’s Foundation of America has already provided over $4,000 in support to children in need this year, with opportunities like sports uniforms/equipment, prom tickets, grad night tickets, yearbooks, GED fees, music lessons, books, birthday gifts and more.
There’s still so much more to do! Get involved and support a child in foster care by donating. Consider becoming a sustaining, monthly donor to provide funds to help a youth participate in the same activities as their non-fostered peers. Just $10 a month provides a child with a birthday gift and the opportunity to participate in an extracurricular activity. Please donate today.
Photos by Jenelle Phillips and Jose Rojas
Funny 4 A Reason 13
Join us for our 13th annual “Funny 4 A Reason” comedy night at the world-famous Improv in Ontario. Enjoy today’s top comics as they donate their time and talents to bring you an evening of love and laughter. Ticket sales benefit abused, neglected and abandoned children in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.
The purpose of Children’s Foundation of America is to identify and accesses resources to support foster care, residential treatment and education programs of the highest quality, so that children who have been victims of abuse, neglect or abandonment may lead healthy, productive lives. Through events like “Funny 4 a Reason,” the Children’s Foundation of America provides an opportunity for every person to help children heal, learn and thrive.
Headlining: Michael “Batman” Rhodes
Michael “Batman” Rhodes was raised in Southern California. Cerritos, California to be exact. His first performance happened on a dare from some coworkers who believed he was in the wrong career. He entered the state of Washington’s version of “Last Comic Standing” and made it all the way to the semi-finals. His quick wit, ability to pull jokes off the top of his head, sarcastic delivery and knack of engaging the crowd, quickly winning over the judges and people in attendance. Making a name for himself in Washington, he made his way back to his hometown and started his career in earnest. He is a student of comedy to nth degree, “You got to realize that there is always something to learn, otherwise you are just staying at the same level.” His comedy is sarcastic and in your face, he navigates his way seamlessly from telling a hilarious story to navigating and engaging the crowd keeping them involved and laughing. He has performed regularly at the Comedy Store and has appeared at the Laugh Factory, Jon Lovitz Comedy Club, the Hollywood Improv, the Brea Improv, and the Ontario Improv.
Featuring: Vince Royale
Jersey City native, Vince Royale, was always the class clown, though he never thought comedy would be his career. Currently living in Los Angeles, the former homeless salesman turned stand up comedian is currently on the Netflix original series “Cooking On High” and has appeared in the entire season of MTV’s “Bad Sex,” “Laughs” on Fox, “Stand Up and Deliver” on Hulu, “Not for Nothin” on Amazon Prime and currently on the horror comedy film “Attack of the Killer Donuts” on Showtime. Vince has been regularly performing in Los Angeles hot spots, New York night clubs, and touring internationally for nearly a decade. Vince is extremely down to earth and full of charisma and he has an uncanny ability to turn the things he sees into hilarity. He also performs as multiple sketch characters which he incorporates into his stand up, parody music videos, and comedy sketch videos on social media networks. He is humble and says that his passion for comedy and ability to do what he loves in front of an audience is indeed a blessing. Vince utilizes his talents to inspire and promote positivity. He organizes comedy/music events for fundraisers and donation drives to benefit orphanages and homeless shelters in the U.S. and abroad.
With: Ro DelleGrazie
Ro DelleGrazie has been performing stand up comedy since 1999. She grew up in Long Island where she got a degree in “ball busting” and every night drama was served for dinner! Ro moved to L.A. in 2005 and started studying at the I.O West where she graduated and was part of an improv group called Tentatively Marty. Ro has performed at the top comedy clubs across the country including Comic Strip Live, Caroline’s on Broadway, The Comedy Store, The Improvs throughout California, Laugh Factory and Flappers Comedy Club just to name a few. As well as International tours for our Troops overseas. Along with television appearances on Tru Tv, FX and VH1. You can also hear Ro streaming on Sirius Xm, Tidal and Pandora. The best way to describe Ro’s stand up is this: Ro’s New York on the inside and California on the outside. People bother her…a lot. Ro isn’t one to hold back on her opinion of the public, while sharing how life is different with her 6’7 giant husband all while trying to figure how to be a mom to her two little ones. Take a break from normal people life and check out Ro!
Hosting: Amber Thorneycroft
Amber’s comedy career started early cracking “your mama” jokes and hurting feelings on the playground. Since then she has been hitting the stage at well-know venues such as The Ice House, Flappers Comedy Club, and The Comedy Store just to name a few. Her uninhibited observational comedy ranges from personal triumphs and family struggles to racism and the prison system. She approaches comedy and life with the belief that “time not laughing is time wasted” and “pretty much anything can be made funny.”
In addition to being a pretty amazing comedian, Amber is also the Children’s Foundation of America’s Community Outreach Coordinator, a left handed Taurus and raises her two children to be conscious to social issues and people in need.
Celebrating 10 years in stand up, Cher has been featured and headlining throughout Southern California. She has been featured with Dana Carvey, Alonzo Bodden, Matt Iseman, Ian Bagg, and Kira Soltonovich, to name a few. Host of Southern California’s most successful, longest running all-female comedy show, “The Vagina Dialogues.” Co-host of the award-winning webseries, “Glitter, Glue and Gluttony,” and crafting correspondent for KTLA’s morning news.
Cher has made it her life’s work to help trauma affected children heal and break the cycle of generational abuse. She is the Chief Operating Officer of Trinity Youth Services, which provides programs including foster care, adoptions, mental health services and short-term residential therapeutic programs. Cher also is the Executive Director of the Children’s Foundation of America, which identifies and seeks support for displaced youth affected by trauma including abuse, neglect and abandonment. Prior to her work at Trinity and the Foundation, she worked in the music industry and as a professional actress.
Turning dark into the light. Laniea Dominguez had a rough start in life, growing up in several homes and witnessing physical and drug abuse. In 2010, she took her love for storytelling to the stage and learned to turn her painful past into a funny present and future. While many of her jokes about her dysfunctional family are dark and twisted, such as when she brought her mom’s urn onstage, she’s found a way to make it funny! After losing both her mother and sister to drugs, she never ceases expressing her gratitude that her life turned out differently. She used that energy to pay it forward and in 2012 Laniea founded Comedy For Causes. She produces and performs shows all over the country to raise funds and awareness for worthy causes. Laniea’s organization was featured on FOX 11 News and LA Voyage Magazine. Her dream is to own a bus and travel with fellow comedians, as they perform all over, bringing laughter to the many great causes across the country!
Anthony Stone can be described as a well rounded, multi-faceted entertainer. He got his start in music where he has written and/or performed on multi-platinum selling soundtracks. With his quick wit and personable attitude, the transition to stand up comedy was made seamlessly. He has appeared on some of the biggest stages in comedy and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Known for his parody of OT Genesis’ “Coco,” his viral video “I’m in Love With the Tacos” has reached 89,182 views and counting. Check it out here.
Funny 4 A Reason at Ontario Improv Stirs Laughter for A Good Cause
The twelfth annual “Funny 4 A Reason” comedy benefit show featured some of today’s top comics at the famous Ontario Improv on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.
Our host, Cher, began the evening introducing some new faces including Jessica Porter and Lindsey then welcomed southern California favorite, Jason Helfgott, to the stage. “Any questions?”
Gayla Johnson followed, sharing hilarious stories about her former career being a children’s party clown. Gayla has been seen on Showtime: Fierce, Funny Women, Brothers and Sisters, Beverly Hills 90210, The Practice. She is a comedian, actress, producer and casting director: “Gay LA, that’s how you spell my name…”
Next up was Bruce Jingles, a fixture in the southern California comedy scene and seen on USO tours, ABC, VH1, NUVOTV, Showtime specials, “Driving Bill Crazy,” TMZ and has his own comedy album on iTunes, Pandora and Spotify: “Bruce Jingles: Comic” by RBC Records. Bruce brought the audience to tears of laughter with his impression of his mom getting on his case about getting his own place: “Is signing autographs supposed to impress me? How about signing a lease?”
Jonny Loquasto, seen on Comics Unleashed, Gotham Comedy and Standup & Deliver, headlined the show. He is a comedian, author, physical therapist, sportscaster and “recovering Pennsylvanian.”
“I feel like we often make the mistake of assuming that if someone has an education that means they’re intelligent, which I don’t think they necessarily go hand-in-hand. It’s true! I have a master’s degree, I’m a goddammed moron,” he joked.
The evening of love and laughter raised funds for children in foster care, residential therapeutic programs and mental health services. This support allows children affected by abuse, neglect or abandonment to heal, learn and thrive from the trauma in their lives.
Thank you to all our guests for contributing to the cause and a big thank you to our hilarious comedians who generously donated their time to entertain us! Thank you also to Ontario Improv for their hospitality in hosting our event.
Jenelle Phillips, Development Specialist
Jenelle oversees the day-to-day operations and staffing of the Foundation, which includes fundraising events, volunteer coordination, community outreach and donations. Above all, Jenelle’s focus is to identify and access resources in order to help children heal, learn and thrive. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from California State University Fullerton and has become very involved in the community. She is active in her church, owns an art gallery, organizes the local art walk and is on the executive board of the downtown district’s marketing group.
“Funny 4 A Reason” 2016 Raises Holiday Funds for Children
The Children’s Foundation of America hosted the 11th annual “Funny 4 A Reason” at the Ontario Improv earlier this month with headliner Debi Gutierrez.
On Tuesday, November 1, several comedians donated their time to raise funds to benefit children supported by the Children’s Foundation of America. One hundred percent of the event proceeds directly supported foster children at Trinity Youth Services. Youth have been placed in these programs as a result of trauma in their lives including abuse, neglect or abandonment. Trinity Youth Services offers a chance to create a better future for children and families.
Through fundraising events like “Funny 4 A Reason,” the Children’s Foundation of America provides an opportunity for every person to help children heal, learn and thrive. Over 225 guests were in attendance and approximately $4,510 was raised to be used for the Foundation’s holiday efforts for children in out-of-home care.
The Children’s Foundation of America provided 1,200 holiday gifts for children in foster care last year and hopes to at least match that same number again this holiday season. The “Holiday Heroes” campaign continues with gift wrapping at the Plaza West Covina mall, where nearly 160 volunteers wrap shoppers’ holiday gifts for donations to the cause.
To volunteer, contact Aaron at firstname.lastname@example.org or 909.426.0773.
Thanks for attending and making a difference!