The Bruno family gathers to honor the late Bishop J. Jon Bruno and his support for HFS. Bishop Bruno’s son and daughter-in-law, Philip Bruno and Mary Bannon Bruno (center back row), now serve on the HFS board of directors. Mary Bruno, the bishop’s widow, is pictured at right. Photos: Samantha Jacoby

[The Episcopal News] HFS Adoption & Foster Care – an institution of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles – celebrated its 75th year with an April 28 gala raising almost $200,000 for the agency on the eve of calling the diocesan community to mark May as Foster Care Month with heightened awareness and response.

HFS Executive Director Julie Brown poses with her husband, Peter Brown, and honoree Robert Ross, retiring executive director of the California Endowment, at the gala.

“There are not enough foster homes for children in (county) care,” HFS executive director Julie Brown wrote in a letter to congregations earlier this month, noting that families of faith are uniquely poised to become foster parents and assist in filling current needs.

“All foster children come with MediCal to cover their medical, dental and therapeutic care as well as a tax-free stipend to help the family care for the child in care,” Brown told The News. “This work is very rewarding, not only for the child in need of a safe harbor, but for the family who can surround the child with unconditional love and support.”

For further information, Brown may be reached at by email,, or phone, 213.202.3900.

Dolores Hope, wife of entertainer Bob Hope and a founder of HFS, visits with an adoptive family and their new child. HFS file photo

75 years of adoption and foster care ministry

The San Gabriel Country Club was the setting for HFS’s 2024 “Circle of Hope” gala recognizing as special honorees the late Bishop J. Jon Bruno and the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles; Dr. Robert Ross, retiring president of the California Endowment and a parishioner of St. Mark’s, Altadena; and the Mozilo Foundation.

“It was a magical evening,” said HFS board president Marianne Wright, parishioner of St. Mark’s, Altadena, “which brought together HFS adoptees from all of the decades right up to the present day with 18-month-old Toby, current and former board members, and supporters and donors. It’s a group of people that have one special thing in common, the gift of adoption.”

Bishop John Harvey Taylor joins those celebrating HFS’s 75th anniversary.

Bishop John Harvey Taylor joined the festivities to bring greetings and thanks on behalf of the diocesan community. Philip Bruno was among speakers who paid tribute to the legacy of his father in bringing HFS strategically into the life of the Episcopal Diocese. Next at the dais was Ross, who recounted the blessings that he and his late wife experienced in adopting a child through HFS and made a generous pledge to the agency’s ongoing work, as did representatives of the Mozilo Foundation. In addition, adoptive parent Tim Smithers shared stories about his families experience with HFS.

HFS was officially established on May 23, 1949, by Dr. George Piness and led the late Dolores Hope, wife of entertainer Bob Hope, as first board president.

Robert Ross, California Endowment CEO and honoree, addresses those gathered for the HFS gala.

“Since its inception in 1949, HFS’s priority has been to care for everyone involved in adoption, not only the children and adoptive parents but the birth parents as well,” the agency notes on its website. “Throughout its 75 years, originally as part of the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and now with the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, HFS has served clients regardless of race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or income level. HFS’s first placement occurred on December 12, 1949; now, 75 years and more than 7,000 adopted children later, the agency still works under those same, non-judgmental guidelines.”

A full report and photo gallery from the gala is posted on HFS’s website.

Marianne Wright, HFS board president, poses with Mary Hatton, a board member and an HFS adoptee.

The report includes thanks extended to donors and patrons, including Nancy and George Rothwell for wine contributed for the silent auction, and Geoffrey and Alison Wrigley Rusack of Rusack Vineyards for the wine served at dinner. The Rusacks also donated a wine-tasting experience for six persons. Other donors included Barbara Horowitz and Brent Tufeld, who gave tickets to two games at Dodger Stadium; Maria and Tom Horner, who donated tickets to two shows – Mrs. Doubtfire and Peter Pan – at the Broadway in Hollywood – Summer at the Pantages; Joseph Zanetta, who contributed a round of golf and lunch at Palm Desert Resort Country Club; and Tran Ly and David Mozilo, who donated a hard-to-get box at the Hollywood Bowl for a night with Pink Martini. Matt Wright, parishioner of St. Mark’s in Altadena, served as auctioneer.

Note: The caption on the lead photo of this story as posted in the Episcopal News Update (May 26, 2024) incorrectly stated that Mary Bruno, widow of Bishop Bruno, serves on the HFS board. Philip Bruno and Mary Bannon Bruno, son and daughter-in-law of Bishop Jon Bruno, are members of the board. The caption has been corrected. The News regrets the error.