Lauren Sánchez was honored at This is About Humanity’s 5th annual fundraising soirée on Saturday, where she gave a special shout-out to fiancé Jeff Bezos during her speech.
This is About Humanity is an organization dedicated to raising awareness and support for separated and reunified families at the U.S.-Mexico border, and the group toasted Sánchez after she donated over $1 million to its cause. At the annual event, held at Henry Winkler’s house in Los Angeles (Winkler’s daughter Zoe Winkler Reinis is among the organization’s co-founders), Sánchez took the podium to “thank my family and Jeff for being here tonight, I really appreciate you — not as much though as I appreciate the tacos,” nodding to the elaborate Mexican-themed menu.
“I never thought I would be up here,” Sánchez admitted, recalling growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she would go with her grandmother to her two jobs of cleaning homes and working in a restaurant. She said she got lost in the school system, as she was dyslexic, but no one knew what that was at the time. She later got a job as an accountant, before quickly getting fired and going back to school, where her journalism teacher took notice of her.
“She encouraged me to write a story, assuring me that punctuation and spelling didn’t matter. Despite my insecurities, I poured my heart into that essay. After reading it, my teacher uttered the words that would change my life forever; she said, ‘You’re not dumb, you just can’t spell,’” Sánchez continued. “It was at that point I was tested for dyslexia and everything changed. The doors that once seemed shut flung wide open.”
She noted that it took just “one person who believed in me and I learned how to believe in myself. This is the essence of what This is About Humanity is all about, just treating people with love, compassion and humanity and giving them a crucial step up.” Sánchez ended with another acknowledgment to Bezos, saying, “And Jeff, I just wanted to say thank you for inspiring me to go out into the world and make a difference.”
The event also featured a starry turnout that included Winkler, Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Eva Longoria, Brian Grazer, Leslie Grossman, D-Arcy Carden, Jordana Brewster, Kimora Lee Simmons, Rachel Zoe and David Foster and Katherine McPhee Foster. Longoria, a longtime friend to Sánchez, presented her with her honor, acknowledging, “I’m so blown away by the woman that Lauren is.”
“You choose hope over convenience, you choose others over time on yourself,” Longoria said of the honoree. “Lauren does things without any desire to be recognized but isn’t it amazing that we can, we can say thank you tonight for being the woman that you are and showing us what giving back with purpose looks like.”
Winkler closed out the night by thanking guests for attending and leading a call for donations, with Grazer and Jenner each pledging $50,000. And in noting that all donations would be matched by the Bezos family, Winkler joked, “I’d like to be adopted!”