The 2009 God of Fire Charity Dinner


for

Children in Nee
d

The 2009 God of Fire Man of the Year: Andy Garcia

 
 
2009 God of Fire Dinner: A Historic Night at Hotel Bel-Air

by Brent Butterworth, cigar lover and writer, who attends the God of Fire Charity Dinner every year
Los Angeles, September 26, 2009

For those fortunate enough to attend, the annual God of Fire Charity Dinner for Children in Need is always an extraordinary event. But this year’s dinner was exceptional for several reasons.

The dinner simultaneously witnessed two exciting events. First was the awarding of the 2009 God of Fire Man of the Year to actor/director Andy Garcia. Second was the debut of two exquisite cigars: God of Fire by Carlito, Double Corona 2007, celebrating the fifth anniversary of God of Fire; and Fuente Fuente Opus X The Lost City, which was inspired by Garcia’s movie The Lost City (www.thelostcitythemovie.com). The dinner was also the last event to take place at the Hotel Bel-Air (www.hotelbelair.com) before the storied structure closes for a two-year renovation.

The cool Los Angeles evening provided the perfect setting for the outdoor event. The front lawn of the Hotel Bel-Air soon filled with a sold-out crowd of 180 enthusiastic and passionate cigar lovers from all over the world. Wines from the Cambria Estate Winery and Vineyard (www.cambriawine.com) and scotch from The Macallan (www.macallan.com) complemented the sumptuous menu created by the hotel’s Chef de Cuisine, Dan Olson.

This year’s celebrity attendees included Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds, The Simpsons), Paul Reiser (actor, author, producer), Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds), Ian Woolf (first assistant director, Criminal Minds), William Marquez (The Lost City, numerous TV shows), Julio Mechoso (The Lost City, Planet Terror), Joe Drago (co-producer, The Lost City), Frank Mancuso, Sr. (former president of Paramount Pictures), Frank Mancuso, Jr. (movie producer, CEO of 360 Pictures), Arturo Sandoval (musician), Richard Gilliland (Designing Women, Thirtysomething), Jean Smart (Samantha Who, Designing Women), Mark Thompson (radio talk show host, The Mark and Brian Show), and Clifton Collins Jr. (Star Trek, Crank: High Voltage).

           
MAN OF THE YEAR

Mantegna, the co-host of the event, introduced his friend Garcia by citing him as “…one in a long line of talented Cuban-born performers who have made their mark here—a line that includes such greats as Desi Arnaz, Arturo Sandoval, Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan, and Cesar Romero.”

In his acceptance speech, Garcia told how famed cigar maker Carlos “Carlito” Fuente Jr. helped him make The Lost City and how their collaboration resulted in the creation of Fuente Fuente Opus X The Lost City cigar. To provide a backdrop for one of the movie’s pivotal scenes, Fuente planted a crop of tobacco out of season, after that year’s crop had already been harvested. After aging the summer-grown tobacco for five years, Fuente used it as the wrapper for Fuente Fuente Opus X The Lost City.

Garcia recounted the many other ways in which Fuente helped with the movie—and even improved Garcia’s grooming. “Carlito got me a meeting with the president of the Dominican Republic,” Garcia recalled, “and as we were getting ready to go, he said, ‘Give me your guayabera, I’ll have it ironed.’” Garcia soon found out that Fuente himself had personally ironed the shirt in order to ensure Garcia made the best impression. “Then when we were getting into the car, Carlito said, ‘You’re not going to wear that guayabera in the car, are you? It’ll get wrinkled! Why don’t I loan you a shirt for the ride?’”
 
 
THE CHARITIES
   
Proceeds from the dinner and the auction that followed went to benefit three charities devoted to children: Cigar Family Charitable Foundation (www.cf-cf.org), which provides education and health care for impoverished families in the Dominican Republic; Beyond Shelter (www.beyondshelter.org), which serves homeless families in Los Angeles; and Para Los Niños (www.paralosninos.org), which helps bring Los Angeles-area children out of poverty.
   
Keith K. Park, Founder and CEO of Prometheus and God of Fire, stressed the key mission of the God of Fire Charity Dinner: “We all have that special moment where our children make us feel humbled. They are intelligent, clever and born with the unlimited potential to become somebody. Despite this, they need a lot of guidance from us in order to become productive members of our society. If they fail, it is because of our failure to nurture and support them properly. In times like these, poor children need help and guidance from us more than ever.”
   
Describing the inspiration for the foundation founded and run by the Fuente and Newman families, Carlito Fuente said, “These are not kids from Santiago or Santo Domingo—these are impoverished rural children. They come looking for work because if they don’t work, they don’t eat. Now every single one of the children who graduates from our school has a scholarship to continue in university. I remember one of the girls told me she used to dream of becoming a maid, and now she dreams of becoming a teacher.” Bobby Newman added, “Because of the great support we have received from so many wonderful people, we have now taken the first step in breaking the chains of poverty for these Cigar Family children and their families—all of whom are living in one of the poorest areas in the Dominican Republic.”
 
 
Video: The 2009 God of Fire Man of the Year: Andy Garcia
Narrated by Joe Mantegna, and Written and Edited by Danny Ramm
Video: Cigar Family Charitable Foundation
Narrated by Carlito Fuente and Eric Newman
   
 
Left to Right, Ian Woolf, Clifton Colins Jr., Mark Thompson, Richard Gilliland, Jean Smart, Keith K. Park, Cynthia Fuente Suarez, Joe Mantegna, Andy Garcia, Paul Reiser, Carlito Fuente, Wayne Suarez, Arturo Sandoval, Matthew Grey Gubler, Bobby Newman, Christine Suarez, Liana Fuente
 
 
FOR THE CHILDREN
   
Since the inception of the brand, God of Fire has strived to help children in need.  For its 5th anniversary, God of Fire and Prometheus would like to support homeless children in the greater Los Angeles area (Beyond Shelter and Para Los Ninos) and poor children in the Dominican Republic (Cigar Family Charitable Foundation).
 
  
 
 
Beyond Shelter is a non-profit organization founded in 1988 in response to increasing numbers of homeless families in Los Angeles and the need for a more comprehensive approach to serving them. Today, the mission of the agency is to combat poverty and homelessness among families with children, and to enhance family economic security and well-being. In 1988, Beyond Shelter introduced a new program to end family homelessness - “Housing First” – which helps homeless families with children to move back into affordable housing as quickly as possible, rather than remain in shelters for months and sometimes years at a time. Once families are back in housing, Beyond Shelter helps families to rebuild their lives, including enrolling children in school and childcare and then helping parents to obtain employment. Over the past twenty years, more than 4,300 homeless families with children have been served. Beyond Shelter also develops affordable housing in inner-city neighborhoods and, since the 1992 Civil Unrest, has been developing the Broadway South Neighborhood Revitalization Project in South Central Los Angeles. The newest project is Broadway Village II, which includes a 50-unit apartment complex and a Neighborhood Resource Center serving families and children in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Beyond Shelter
1200 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 600, Los Angeles, California 90017
Tel) 213-252-0772  Fax) 213-480-0846
E-mail: info@beyondshelter.org
http://www.beyondshelter.org
 
 
 
Para Los Niños opened its doors in 1980 in response to the plight of children living in Skid Row hotels. Initially, 45 children received daycare at the agency; today, in its 29th year of operation, Para Los Niños strives to address the root causes of poverty and annually assists 4,600 low-income children and youth, and 4,000 economically challenged families from 28 sites throughout Southern California.

The agency’s core programs revolve around educational and family support services. Education programs include early childhood services, Charter Schools (K-6), after-school enrichment, youth diversion and delinquency prevention, youth workforce services, and a life skills training and academic assistance program for transitioning foster youth. Para Los Niños offers emergency and ongoing comprehensive support to at-risk families, including food and shelter vouchers, child abuse and domestic violence prevention, parenting skills, and mental health services.

Para Los Niños
500 Lucas Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90017
Tel) 213-250-4800  Fax) 213-250-4900
E-mail: info@paralosninos.org
http://www.paralosninos.org
 
 
 
In 2001, the Fuente and Newman families, longtime business partners in the cigar industry, came together with the vision of improving children’s lives in the Bonao region of the Dominican Republic. What began as a simple dream of adding a wing onto the local elementary school has evolved into Cigar Family Charitable Foundation’s 23-acre complex that includes: primary and high schools; health center; sports and recreation facilities; and an organic farming area. Today, the Complex serves well over 5,000 families and their children, and has achieved tremendous results.

Prometheus International, Inc. and God of Fire, Inc. have raised over $1 Million for Cigar Family Charitable Foundation since 2000.

Because the Fuente and Newman families pay all administrative expenses such as accounting and legal, 100% of the donations benefit the children and families served by Cigar Family Charitable Foundation (www.cf-cf.org).
 
 
THE CHARITY AUCTION
  
Joe Mantegna and Paul Reiser then began the charity auction, which included numerous exclusive items: vacation packages to Los Angeles area resorts, a round of golf with Mantegna, a day on the set of the TV show Criminal Minds, rare wine from Cambria Estate Winery and whiskies from The Macallan—and, of course, elegant Prometheus humidors.
   
Park noted that the event raised close to $90,000 for the three charities—less than in previous years, but still quite good considering today’s economic climate. Since the inaugural dinner in 2005, the God of Fire Charity Dinner for Children in Need has raised more than $900,000.
   
Robert Davi, who could not attend the event, called Joe Mantegna and Keith K. Park, co-hosts of the God of Fire Charity Dinner, to express his regret for not being able to attend the event and told them, "Whenever we can all get together, have fun, and celebrate for charity, it is a good day."
   
Davi summed up the spirit of the evening quite nicely. Mantegna and Park would like to thank everyone who attended the 2009 event to help children in need.
 

BENEFACTORS OF THE 2009 GOD OF FIRE CHARITY DINNER FOR CHILDREN IN NEED
     
God of Fire and Prometheus would also like to thank the following individuals and companies for their generous sponsorship of the 2009 God of Fire Charity Dinner. Without their support, the event could not have been possible (in alphabetical order of their last names).
     
Rick J. Caruso, President and CEO
Caruso Affiliated
Los Angeles, California
Hugo, Mark and Wendy Cassar
Kretek International
Moorpark, California
Albert and Arseen Chrikjian
Old Oaks Cigar Company
Thousand Oaks, California
   
Simon Devlin and Customers
Devlin's Cigar Divan
Perth, Australia
Albert Espinoza and Customers
Taylor's Cigar Lounge
Long Beach, California
Carlito Fuente
Arturo Fuente Cigar Company
Tampa, Florida
        
Sam Gores, Chairman
Paradigm Talent Agency
Beverly Hills, California
Jeff Haugen and Joel Rogers
Tobacco Grove
Maple Grove, Minnesota
Matt Lanford and Customers
Santa Barbara Cigar & Tobacco
Santa Barbara, California
     
Johnny Lopez, Partner
Platinum Equity
Beverly Hills, California
Frank Mancuso, Jr., President & CEO
360 Pictures
Beverly Hills, California
Bobby and Eric Newman
J.C. Newman Cigar Company
Tampa, Florida
     
Moses Soza, Sr. and Moses Soza, Jr.
Cigar Mas Fino
Fresno, California
   
 
THE 2009 GOD OF FIRE GOLF TOURNAMENT

Earlier in the day, the 2009 God of Fire Golf Tournament was held at Lost Canyons Golf Club (www.lostcanyons.com). The winners of the tournament received the trophies and special prizes before the dinner started.
  
All photographs in this page by J.J. Williams.
Copyright © 2009. Prometheus International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
 
 
SPECIAL APPRECIATION

God of Fire and Prometheus would like to thank (in alphabetical order):

Brent Butterworth for writing the article for the 2009 God of Fire Charity Dinner. Denise Shurtleff and Brett Neighbors of Cambria Winery and Vineyards (www.cambriawine.com) for their generous donation of auction items. The exquisite wines produced by Cambra Winery were paired with fine food and God of Fire cigars.

Macallan (www.themacallan.com) for their generous donation of auction items and Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, which was served during the reception and dessert. 

Hotel Bel-Air (www.hotelbelair.com) and their staff, whose service and support have made the event so pleasant and spectacular.

Sean Knutsen and Tim Swail with Humidipak, Inc. (www.humidipak.com) for donating their Boveda (humidity control) products to keep the cigars in a great condition during the dinner and golf tournament.

Kevin Griner for serving as Chairman of the 2009 God of Fire Golf Tournament and making sure that everyone had a great time. 

Albert Espinoza of Sonic Excellence (www.sonicexcellence.com) for providing Audio and Video Presentation at the 2008 God of Fire Charity Dinner. Sonic Excellence specializes in Audio, Video, Design, and Installation.
 
 
 
 
Copyright © God of Fire, Inc. All Rights Reserved.