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21st Annual JVS Strictly Business L.A. Breaks Previous Fundraising Record

JVS Strictly Business L.A. raised more than $541,000 on Thursday May 24, 2018, breaking the previous fundraising record for the awards luncheon. Celebrating 21 years, the premier networking event once again brought together hundreds of business leaders and partners on one common theme; this year, the future of workforce development. Art Bilger, founder and CEO of WorkingNation delivered Keynote remarks on the Future of Work and Steve Solk of OneWest Bank accepted the Corporate Partnership Award for their support of the JVS BankWork$® program. In addition, the JVS Founder’s Award was presented to former board president and long-time agency champion Jim Hausberg by his colleague Elliot Weissbluth, founder and CEO of HighTower Advisors.

2018 keynote speaker Art Bilger, an investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, shared the compelling mission of WorkingNation, the national non-profit media organization he founded, which is leveraging the power of media and institutional partnerships to motivate workforce thought leaders and empower organizations like JVS SoCal.

“This time it’s about the heart of America,” said Bilger, as he spoke on the importance of re-skilling workers for new positions. “JVS is doing exactly the types of things we’re trying to identify and tell in stories.”

Strictly Business L.A. guests were also among the first in the country to view a mini-documentary video about the life-changing JVS BankWork$® career training program. As the 18th episode in the WorkingNation series, Do Something Awesome, the 4-minute video illustrates how investing in training, curricula and infrastructure, like the kind that the JVS BankWork$® program provides, can prepare a greater number of workers for in-demand jobs with career pathways in growing industries.

OneWest Bank received the Corporate Partnership Award in recognition of their commitment to provide those struggling in low-wage jobs with a first step on the career ladder in the financial services industry by both sponsoring the award-winning JVS BankWork$® program and offering career opportunities to graduates since 2011.

“By providing job training, mentoring and education, and employment opportunities, JVS sets individuals on a path for economic independence and a better life,” said Steve Solk, President of Consumer Banking for OneWest Bank. “I am proud to accept this recognition on behalf of OneWest and all the great people who make our bank special. We look forward to continuing our partnership in the future.” 

In recognition of his visionary leadership, Jim Hausberg, former JVS board president was honored with the JVS Founder’s Award for his long-time commitment and his role in successfully expanding JVS partnerships and support within the corporate community, vastly increasing the impact of the agency.

The award was presented by HighTower founder and CEO Elliot Weissbluth, who said, “Jimmy embodies that spirit of generosity and service to others that our clients appreciate so much. I’m grateful to know him.”

Lastly, JVS clients Janet Romero, Edgar Rodriguez, Sonie Knott and Erika Crenshaw were welcomed to the event stage to share their personal stories of resilience, and a heartfelt message to supporters.

“Together – Janet, Edgar, Sonie and I – represent just a handful of the stories behind JVS’ 87 years of service. On behalf of those who came before us and all those who will turn to JVS in the coming years to help them build a brighter future for themselves and their families –  we thank you for supporting this wonderful organization and for standing up for all of us,” said Crenshaw.

It is only through vibrant public-private partnerships and the generosity of our donors that JVS SoCal is able to impact the lives of nearly 33,000 people each year, helping them achieve dignity and economic independence through sustainable employment.

For information and sponsorship opportunities for the 22nd Annual JVS Strictly Business L.A., please contact Randy Lapin at or (323) 761-8598.