Santa Monica Resident to be Honored at OUR HOUSE Gala

Photo: Courtesy

Nation’s leading grief support center’s 25th anniversary gala with presentation by Patton Oswalt. 

By Staff Writer 

On Saturday October 6 at Sony Pictures Studios, OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center, one of the most respected non-profit grief centers in the nation, will celebrate its 25th anniversary of sharing grief and finding hope with the House of Hope Gala.

OUR HOUSE is honoring “This is US” and Dan Fogelman, writer & creator of the hit NBC TV show. Fogelman and “This is US” are receiving the Good Grief Award, for portraying the grief process with honesty, dignity and for helping normalize the grief experience by creating a world in which grief is embraced, understood and respected.

“I love the show ‘This is Us’ and never miss an episode,” said Santa Monica resident Ellen Simmons, the longest-serving Child and Adolescent Group Leader at OUR HOUSE. “Having worked with people who have experienced a death for so many years I am extremely impressed with how the show realistically handles grief. Everyone grieves differently and this is shown in very unique ways on the show. I am thrilled that the show is being

Simmons will also be honored at the gala Saturday night in honor of her longtime service OUR HOUSE.

“I first learned about OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center when I attended a baby shower approximately 21 years ago. I was seated at a table with the founder of OUR HOUSE, Jo-Ann Lautman,” Simmons said. “Eighteen years ago, I began leading groups with children and teens who had experienced the death of a parent. I continue to find it and honor and a privilege to accompany people on their journey toward hope and healing. “

Also to be recognized is The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund and its President Edie Lutnick, and OUR HOUSE alumni, longtime supporter and former Board Chair, Jory Goldman & her four children. OUR HOUSE’s gala fundraiser will afford them to continue to provide grief support and education for adults and children in the Los Angeles community. Special guest Patton Oswalt will share his own very personal story of grief.

The Founder’s Award, named after OUR HOUSE’s founder, Jo-Ann Lautman, will be given to Jory Goldman and her children Seth, Jessie, Eli and Jonah.

“Jory is an integral part of the OUR HOUSE team and has been since the first day she joined a group with her children in 2003 after the sudden death of her husband. She continued her involvement with us by joining the Board of Directors more than 11 years ago and more recently as a volunteer group leader. It is not only for her sharp strategic thinking and elegant leadership, but her compassionate dedication to helping those in our community experiencing grief, that we honor Jory with this award,” said Michele Prince, CEO of OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center.

Prince herself is a Santa Monica resident, and has devoted his life to making sure people have the type of grief support resources they need.

“My mom died when I was 16 and there was nothing like an OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center that my family found. After many years working in advertising, I decided to go back to school to pursue a joint master’s degree in social work and nonprofit management,” Prince said. “We still have a bootstrap society of just pull yourself up and get over it. But that’s why we’re here, because we know it really helps to be in a grief support group with others who understand what you are going through. And I really believe in it. We see miracle after miracle every day.”

The evening will also include a special presentation by comedian Patton Oswalt, and celebrity artwork to be auctioned with 100% of the proceeds benefitting OUR HOUSE. Celebrity supporters who have created pieces depicting their idea of a House of Hope include: Seth McFarland, Kevin Nealon, Idris Elba, Michael B. Jordan, Courtney Cox, Kaley Cuoco, Kim Bassinger, Nate Berkus, Byron Scott, Lindsey Buckingham, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hanks and many more.

For tickets and more information, visit