Thursday, September 16, 2021
Google, Sony, CBS and Toyota help California Autism Nonprofit Celebrate 10 Years of Service
By Sentinel News Service
Published October 1, 2015
LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas greets actresses Kathy Bates and Angela Basset at last year’s Special Needs Network Annual Night Under the Stars. (courtesy photo)

LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas greets actresses Kathy Bates and Angela Basset at last year’s Special Needs Network Annual Night Under the Stars. (courtesy photo)

Special Needs Network (SNN), a Californis autism advocacy organization, will host its 10th annual Night Under the Stars: The Future is Bright awards show and gala on Saturday, Oct. 3 at the Sony Studios Lot in Culver City, CA. The night will kick off a month-long celebration of 10 years of the nonprofit’s service to LA’s special needs citizens and their families.

The awards show and gala is sponsored by Sony, CBS and Toyota and will honor LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Google for their contributions to health, wellness and the advancement of the special needs community. Google has invested $20 million in grants for nonprofits through their “What If?” program to inspire development of technology that can better serve those with disabilities. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas helped open the historic Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in South LA that is also the location of SNN’s clinic currently being established for autistic children.

The evening will also include recognition of several honorary chairs: City Council Pres. Herb Wesson, Rep. Karen Bass and Sen. Isadore Hall. More than 600 prominent business leaders, philanthropists and elected officials are coming together to celebrate underserved children with disabilities and their families.


“The night will pay tribute to more than 40,000 families we’ve directly served and the millions we have touched through our online resources, outreach and legislative advocacy campaigns,” says Areva Martin, Esq., the founder of SNN and lead organizer for the event.

SNN is one of California’s most active nonprofits in serving underserved disabled populations. The organization has passed autism insurance in California, created a free summer camp that serves more than 2,000 children, established a sought-after parent advocacy and grassroots leadership training program and opened the first and only autism-developmental community health clinic in LA.

The awards show and gala will also include music by B Slade and Friends along with Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Angie Fisher. SNN will also reveal a celebratory mini-documentary produced by LA’s local CBS TV station.
“We invite everyone to partake in this celebration as we honor and recognize those whose work has greatly impacted our organization and community,” says Martin. “All proceeds from the night will benefit children with autism and special needs, their families and our new MLK Autism Clinic.”

Past honorees will be featured during the night’s program. Previous honorees include former Lt. Governor Mervyn Dymally; LA City Councilman Curren Price; Hollywood actresses Angela Bassett and Sheryl Lee Ralph; entertainment moguls and creators of the film “Twilight”, Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen; Cedars-Sinai Medical Center CEOs; and Steve Mauldin, general manager of CBS/KCAL.

For sponsorship opportunities, congratulatory advertising in the event program and ticket information visit

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