Giacomo Gianniotti, Ashee Marie Preston, John Paul DeJoria Philanthropic Efforts

Grey’s Anatomy”star Giacomo Gianniotti will be honored at “Ending Youth Homelessness: A Benefit for My Friend’s Place” on Wednesday, October 19th along with philanthropic luminary John Paul DeJoria, co-founder and chairman of the board of John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patrón Spirits, and Ashlee Marie Preston, a diversity speaker and trans activist. Comedian and actor Ron Funches of NBC’s “Dateable” and Dreamworks “Trolls” will host the evening. The annual event held at The Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, California will benefit My Friend’s Place, a privately funded resource center and day shelter providing 1,500 homeless youth in Los Angeles with transformative services that have inspired young people to build self-sufficient lives for more than 28 years.

Giacomo Gianniotti, the “Grey’s Anatomy” star, has been involved with My Friend’s Place since arriving in Los Angeles over a year ago and volunteers regularly. “These are great people, doing extraordinary things,” said Gianniotti, “I am very humbled to be honored at this year’s benefit, and to celebrate this year’s incredible accomplishments together. There is still much work to be done for our homeless youth, so please join us this October 19th and get involved.”

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John Paul Dejoria, Co-Founder & Chairman of the Board of John Paul Mitchell Systems & Patrón Spirits, once homeless himself, achieved success launching multiple global enterprises and always living by his motto: “success unshared is failure.” His charitable efforts extend worldwide through his work with global organizations, renowned world leaders, and A-list personalities.  Throughout his extraordinary and successful career, John Paul has made philanthropy paramount. In 2011, he signed Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s “The Giving Pledge” as a formal promise to continue giving back.  The same year, he established JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation as a hub for his charitable investments, which span the core values of his companies: sustainability, social responsibility, and animal friendliness.

Executive Producer of “Disarm Hate: The Documentary,Ashlee Marie Preston is a diversity speaker, media advocate, and trans activist originally from Louisville, Kentucky. She shares her journey as a formerly homeless youth who found support at My Friend’s Place and the obstacles she has since overcome as a means of empowerment and community building. Ashlee currently reigns as Miss Quest 2016, a pageant that promotes social advocacy and empowerment within the transgender community. This year, she is also the recipient of The Connie Norman Advocacy Award, the APAIT Community Empowerment Award, and she was recognized by the City of Los Angeles for her involvement with the launch of the Transgender Civic Engagement Leadership Series through the Human Relations Commission. Ashlee is Chair of Communications and serves on the Executive Committee for the Transgender Service Provider Network, and she is also a board member of the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, the Imperial Court of Hollywood/Los Angeles, and the CSW/LA Pride Organization. Committed to utilizing media as a vehicle in which to implement change and social awareness, Ashlee has been featured in numerous BuzzFeed videos, is currently one of the faces in the FDA’s “This Free Life” campaign to address tobacco-related deaths in LGBT youth and produces documentary films that speak to the narrative of underserved communities.

Event sponsors include Lionsgate, The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal, WME Entertainment, Kaiser Permanente, The Capital Group Companies, and HBO.

The mission of My Friend’s Place is to assist and inspire homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives. My Friend’s Place serves homeless youth between the ages of 12 and 25 and their children through a comprehensive continuum of care combining basic needs care, such as hot meals and showers, with health and wellness services and programs that support the success of youth in creative expression, employment, education and housing. The center’s ultimate goal is to increase each young person’s ability to meet their basic physical and emotional needs, identify and connect youth to relevant community resources, and rebuild each individual’s self-esteem, self-respect, and self-sufficiency. In the past year alone, My Friend’s Place has provided vital care to almost 1,500 youth through more than 20,000 visits to our resource center and day shelter in Hollywood, CA, helping homeless young people transform their lives and move toward a permanent exit from homelessness.