Variety Power of Law Honoree Clifford Gilbert-Lurie Champions Many Causes Including Alliance for Children’s Rights

For 27 of the last 32 years, Ziffren Brittenham senior partner Clifford Gilbert-Lurie has served as one of the chairs of the Champions for Children’s gala dinner benefiting the Alliance for Children’s Rights, an experience he says is akin to throwing a wedding.

“There’s so much that goes into it, and then you’re very concerned that the dinner comes off well and everybody has a good time and it’s meaningful,” explains Gilbert-Lurie, who’s a past chairman and current board member of the organization. “When it’s finally over, I take this huge sigh of relief, because I don’t have to worry about it for a couple more months.”

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According to Universal Studio Group chairman Pearlena Igbokwe, Gilbert-Lurie doesn’t wait that long. She says that he called her just a few days after last year’s dinner, “while I was still in the afterglow of an amazing night,” and asked her to be the Champions for Children Award honoree at the 2024 event, held in March and which raised more than $1.5 million.

“I couldn’t say no, because it’s such an amazing organization and the fact that it was Cliff asking me,” says Igbokwe.

As exhausting as Gilbert-Lurie’s description of his work on behalf Alliance for Children’s Rights might sound, it actually undersells what he does for the nonprofit, which provides pro bono legal services and advocacy for caregivers, adoptive parents, children and teens in Los Angeles.

“Cliff gives both his heart and his head to this organization,” says Alliance for Children’s Rights CEO Jennifer L. Braun. “He shines as an amazing fundraiser, and that is like the lifeblood for our organization. He gives personally, his firm gives, and he reaches out and encourages his friends and networks to give. And that is what really allows us to function and be healthy and do all the work that we do for kids and
young adults.”

A former member of the board of governors of the Paley Center for Media, Gilbert-Lurie also sits on the board of advisers for the Peabody Awards and is a member of the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs and the UCLA Galactic Center Group.

He was drawn into the world of philanthropy by his wife, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie, an attorney and author who is a founding board member and past board chair of the Alliance for Children’s Rights. They first met in a First Amendment law class at UCLA, but didn’t become romantically involved for another 13 years.

“When we were just dating, there was an organization that I was involved with called L.A. Works that spent the day rehabbing a preschool and Cliff came with me,” she says. “He was very supportive of all of my work from the beginning and then, little by little, saw where he could be really impactful.”
Gilbert-Lurie and his wife host events at their home — sometimes as many as two a week — for orgs such as Human Rights Watch, and politicians including Gov. Gavin Newsom and L.A. Mayor
Karen Bass.

“We enjoy being a place where the community can gather and talk about ideas and hear like-minded people running for office and try to collaborate on coming up with solutions to our issues,” says Leslie Gilbert-Lurie.

There can be downsides to being such prominent hosts. Last November, their home made the news when pro-Palestinian protesters splattered fake blood on their driveway during a fundraising event for Vice President Kamala Harris.

“Sometimes it gets quite colorful,” he says. “But normally we don’t have that level of excitement.”

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