Bernstein & Ryan Raise $500,000 for Nat’l Jewish Health


Soulville provided tunes and dance sounds for the Black & White Ball.

The backdrop was the elegant Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, Calif. Required dress was black suits and gowns. Martin Chalifour, the principal concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, dropped by to give a short performance on his violin.

The event was the annual Black & White Ball. Held on June 3, the event, hosted by Los Angeles Professional Services, raised funds for National Jewish Health, the more than 100-year-old hospital in Denver.

When National Jewish Health opened in 1899, the hospital focused on treating tuberculosis and offering health care to those who couldn’t afford it. Since then, the hospital has expanded its focus to pulmonary, cardiac and autoimmune diseases. It is one of the hospitals and health foundations consistently supported by Los Angeles’ fashion industry as well as the attorneys and factors serving the industry.


Gail Bernstein, right, and her daughter Alex

While the cause was noble and the gathering stately, it didn’t mean that the guests and honorees weren’t allowed to be a bit irreverent.

The honoree, Gail K. Bernstein of PNC Business Credit, started her evening’s remarks with this: “Someone introduced me as the president of the Badass Women’s Club,” Bernstein joked. But there was truth behind the jest. In addition to a long career in banking, Bernstein has devoted ample time to nonprofits and helping others. She was a volunteer translator for non-English-speaking women seeking to take out restraining orders against their batterers.

“You should always give back,” she told the crowd of 500. “It is incumbent for us to make the world a better place.”


Noel R. Ryan | Photo courtesy Black & White Ball

Noel R. Ryan of Houlihan Lokey, the other honoree of the 2017 Black & White Ball, vouched for Bernstein’s moxie. “Gail and I have known each other for 20 years. She has more energy than anyone I know. She has a wry wit and she gets things done,” Ryan said.

During comments leading up to his speech, Ryan was described as a boss who focuses on the continuing education of his staff. Another described Ryan as “one of the nicest guys in investment banking.”

More than $500,000 was raised for National Jewish Health, which has been consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top two hospitals in America for pulmonology. Robert Ezra of Freeman, Freeman & Smiley LLP was a committee cochair for the 2017 Black & White Ball and 2002–2003 Black & White honoree.

“We’ve been supported by people of significance who have appreciated the work that the hospital has done,” Ezra said. Past honorees have included James Perse, a pioneer in Los Angeles’ boutique scene; Ronald Reagan, who was an honoree for 1973–1974; and newspaper baron Randolph A. Hearst, who was the inaugural honoree for 1961–1962.


Taking bids for the Black & White Ball’s auction


Martin Chalifour of the L.A. Philharmonic