Children’s Lifesaving Foundation celebrates 15 years

From left: Dylan McCaffery, Sean McCaffery, The Malibu Times editor Laura Tate, actress Brenda Strong of "Desperate Housewives," Children Lifesaving Foundation board director Darren Seidel, CLF founder Maria D'Angelo, Honorary Chair Michael Chiklis, Francesca McCaffery, Faith McCaffery and Nikki D'Angelo celebrate the foundation's 15th anniversary at Dr. Frank Ryan's Bony Pony Ranch in Malibu. Photo by Dana Fineman

The Children’s Lifesaving Foundation celebrated its 15th year of serving at-risk and homeless children and their families with a barbecue fundraiser at Dr. Frank Ryan’s Bony Pony Ranch in Malibu on Sunday. The event was hosted by honorary chair, actor Michael Chiklis, a fervent supporter of CLF.

The foundation also paid tribute to its “Angels of the Year”-the Malibu City Council, Sol Lehr, Ellen Black and Dr. Ryan-for their contributions to CLF.

Chiklis, in opening remarks Sunday, gave thanks to a long list of people who have contributed time, money and more to the foundation, and saluted “the families [helped by CLF]-the very reason we’re motivated to be here.”

Of foundation founder Mario D’Angelo, Chiklis said, “She should be canonized. It takes a very special kind of human being, a rare person” to do what she does, he said.

CLF got its start 15 years ago with help from the city of Malibu when the council voted to donate $25,000 toward the foundation’s first event at Circle X Ranch. D’Angelo said 150 volunteers showed up at that first event. The council this year voted to donate $10,000 toward CLF’s summer camp.

Lehr and Black were given many thanks for their help, particularly with the invitations they print for the foundation’s events.

Ryan was thanked for donating his ranch, located in Sycamore Canyon, for Sunday’s event.

D’Angelo also gave special thanks to her “best friend” Ellen Poyer, who, D’Angelo said, has supported her from the very beginning, and to her children Francesca McCaffery and Sean McCaffery. Poyer is on CLF’s board of directors.

The lives of more than 32,000 homeless and at-risk children have been enriched during the past 15 years with CLF’s help, according to the foundation; and 42 families have moved into their own homes and 41 college scholarships have been awarded to deserving teens. Every year, CLF enables 3,000 children to take part in holiday programs, summer camps excursions and cultural field trips.

Chiklis this year has offered up the “Chiklis Challenge,” inviting people to compete in the 2008 Nautica Malibu Triathlon, taking place in Malibu in September, to raise funds for CLF. More information can be obtained at