On April 13 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA) held its very ritzy 33rd annual Amethyst Ball.The Nashville Night at the Ritz featured incredible performances by Pryor Baird, Doobie Brothers’ Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, and Natalie Noone. The event grossed a record $625,000 and will help fund CADA’s many substance abuse prevention and intervention services for youth and adults.
During the extended reception on the Ballroom Terrace, about 375 guests, some clad in Nashville party attire, others in tuxes and gowns, mingled in the warm sunshine and perused silent auction items.
Merryl Brown Events transformed the Ballroom into a gorgeous and vibrant Memphis dancehall, with a dozen neon signs, hundreds of candles, denim linens, white napkins wrapped in a leather cord, and neon and floral centerpieces. Guests enjoyed a Nashville-inspired dinner of crispy country fried chicken, braised collard greens, and whipped potatoes.
Former boardmember Kathleen Cochran gave a moving speech about her daughter’s struggle with heroin addiction and later becoming sober. Fellow longtime major supporter and Trustee Bob Bryant paid tribute to the evening’s honoree, Peter Hilf, for his generous support over the past 20 years, which has included eye-popping donations during the annual Amethyst Ball’s ask, including a $70,000 donation that night, and participation in CADA’s International and Local Summit for Danny Climbs.
Guests were entertained by Andrew Firestone, who though having just given a wildly entertaining performance at PAL’s (Police Activities League) celebration at the Coral Casino the night before, was on fire again, keeping the crowd laughing while raising big bucks for CADA in the auction and ask. Major supporter Earl Minnis bid $100,000 for a private party at the Red Piano with Michael McDonald and in a touching moment, applauded the important work of CADA.
It was a star-studded night, with Natalie Noone opening the evening’s entertainment. Pryor Baird, who made it to the semi-finals on NBC’s The Voice, wowed the crowd with his blues and country music. Doobie Brothers Jeff “Skunk” Baxter made a surprise appearance and rocked the house.
With a $4.7 million budget and a professional staff of 85, CADA operates a full array of programs for youth and adults. In 2018, CADA provided individual prevention, intervention and treatment services to 4,080 people. Its programs include school-based counseling, the Fighting Back Mentoring Program, mental health counseling, the Daniel Bryant Youth and Family Center for teens and parents, Teen Court – an alternative to the juvenile justice system, and Project Recovery, which offers inpatient and outpatient adult treatment programs. Last year, CADA’s Resource and Referral Drop-In Center provided services to about another 2,000 people.
CADA offers its services on a sliding fee scale. While contracts, grants, MediCal and private insurance provide significant funding, events and contributions make up about 20 percent of its budget and allow it to offer services on a sliding fee scale.