Honorees 2018-06-04T17:04:32+00:00

The Sally Awards 2018 Honoree

Jeanie Buss
CEO And Governor, Los Angeles Lakers

Jeanie Buss was born into the family business, attending World Team Tennis meetings when still a teenager with her dad, the late Dr. Jerry Buss. Dr. Buss, who turned the Los Angeles Lakers franchise into an historic championship brand, saw the talent in his daughter at an early age. By the time Jeanie Buss was 19, she was the General Manager of the Los Angeles Strings Tennis team. In her “spare” time she earned a business degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California with honors.

The spectacular success of the Lakers’ organization is as evident as the 16 Championship Banners that hang inside the STAPLES CENTER, and 10 of those 16 championships are the legacy of Dr. Jerry Buss. With Jeanie Buss as the driving force behind the Lakers, there is little doubt that legacy will continue.

In 2017, Jeanie Buss became CEO of the Lakers and represents the team on the NBA Board of Governors. In her role, Buss oversees the business and basketball operations of the team and works closely with President of Business and COO, Tim Harris as well as President of Basketball Operations, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka. Sporting News named Jeanie Buss one of the top 20 most influential women in sports. Forbes called her “one of few powerful women in sports management”, and ESPN said she is “one of the most powerful women in the NBA.”

Just as Jeanie Buss has grown into her job as one of the most important women executives in the world of sports, the Los Angeles Lakers continue to provide leadership of another kind in communities around the Southland.

Young people who have attended The Salvation Army’s Bob and Tilly Sinnett Red Shield Youth and Community Center in the Pico Union District of Los Angeles have heard Lakers great Kobe Bryant deliver an inspirational talk about the importance of sportsmanship in 1998. In 2010, current and former Lakers players, along with then NBA Commissioner David Stern, dedicated a refurbished library and learning center made possible by the financial support of the team and the League. Every day since, children from Pico Union have access to state of the art learning tools and adult mentors. The Lakers Youth Foundation also provided a $30,000 grant to resurface the Red Shield gymnasium floor providing youngsters and young adults with a professional grade athletic court for sports leagues and other activities.

Beyond the Pico Union District, Jeanie Buss and the Lakers have had life changing points of contact with other Salvation Army clients. For the past two years, those experiencing food insecurity in the Inglewood area have been blessed to have Lakers players participate in a large-scale holiday food distribution at The Salvation Army’s Inglewood Corps.

As a pioneering woman executive as well as the leader of one of most storied franchises in the history of American sport, Jeanie Buss has achieved much. The Salvation Army is honored to recognize Ms. Jeanie Buss at the 2018 Sally Awards not only for her outstanding modeling of professional success, but more importantly, for her commitment and that of the Los Angeles Lakers players and staff to be a positive force for good.

Special Tribute

Judge Harry Pregerson

Judge Harry Pregerson, an Honorary General of The Salvation Army, lived a life of service to others. Born in East L.A., Harry joined the Marine Corps, and was severely wounded during the World War II Battle of Okinawa. After law school, Harry opened a law practice before being appointed to the Superior Court. President Johnson appointed him to the U.S. District Court, and President Carter appointed him to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he served for forty years. As a district judge, he structured a consent decree that ultimately created over 20,000 affordable homes for people displaced by the I-105 Freeway. The decree established employment programs for women and minority businesses. The interchange of the 110 and 105 freeways was named the “Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange” in recognition of his service. Judge Pregerson was instrumental in cleaning up the Santa Monica Bay when he ordered Los Angeles to stop dumping untreated sewage into the bay. He was affectionately dubbed the “Sludge Judge” for his successful efforts to modernize the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant. The plant, which provides full advanced wastewater treatment, helped revitalize marine life and was named one of the Top Ten Public Works Projects of the Twentieth Century, along with the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Harry said that he “looked upon being a judge as a chance to help as many people as I could through the law,” but his efforts extended beyond the bench, when it came to issues affecting immigrants, veterans, women, minorities, and the homeless. He was a tireless advocate for the orphan, the widow, and the stranger in our midst. In partnership with The Salvation Army, Judge Pregerson helped established and maintain shelters, transitional housing, and educational facilities throughout Southern California, including The Salvation Army’s Bell Shelter, which provides beds and social services to over 500 homeless people, many of whom are veterans, The Salvation Army’s Westwood Transitional Village, which provides housing and skill development services to homeless families, and the Bessie Pregerson Child Development Center, which is a licensed preschool.

Harry Pregerson loved his friends at The Salvation Army and shared their mission of ending human suffering.

The Salvation Army is delighted to announce the creation of the Judge Harry Pregerson Award, to be presented annually at The Sally Awards to recognize and honor an individual, couple or family who embodies both The Salvation Army & Judge Harry Pregerson’s mission to mobilize resources in Doing the Most Good.

Special Recognition

Kevin Downes
Producer, I Can Only Imagine

Kevin Downes, has a producing, acting, directing and writing career that spans over 20 years. During his partnership with the Erwin Brothers over the last 5 years, he has led the producing team on MOMS’ NIGHT OUT, WOODLAWN and most recently the box office hit, I CAN ONLY IMAGINE. On screen, some of Downes’ fan favorite roles include Officer Shane Fuller in COURAGEOUS and the video-game-loving, best friend, Kevin, in MOMS’ NIGHT OUT.
He produced the critically acclaimed LIKE DANDELION DUST, from best-selling author Karen Kingsbury, starring Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino and also produced, co-wrote and starred in the Pure Flix theatrical release, FAITH OF OUR FATHERS. Behind the camera, Downes has directed AMAZING LOVE and SIX: THE MARK UNLEASHED, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Kevin recently executive produced and starred in a new sitcom with his longtime friend David A.R. White called Hitting the Breaks, with co-stars Rob Schneider and Tim Tebow, among others, and is currently working on the second season of their sitcom Malibu Dan.​​

Special Recognition

Cindy Bond
Producer, I Can Only Imagine

Cindy Bond is a globally recognized leader and pioneer in the faith and family marketplace, working in the distribution, production, sales, marketing and/or finance of over 200 films. She began her career as a producer in 1990. In 1996 Bond co-founded Norann Entertainment, with Interstate Batteries Chairman Norm Miller. In 1999 Cindy co-founded a U.S. theatrical distribution company Providence Entertainment that released the faith-based breakout hit and #1 limited theatrical release The Omega Code. In 2002 Bond co-founded a U.S. theatrical distribution company, Promenade Pictures, with former Paramount Pictures President/MGM/UA Co-Chairman FrankYablans. In 2008, Bond co-founded Mission Pictures International to open up the international marketplace for faith based and faith friendly films. As a producer, Bond’s most recent projects include Enchanted Christmas for Hallmark Channel and the feature film I Can Only Imagine starring Dennis Quaid released through Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions on March 16, 2018. I Can Only Imagine shattered industry box office predictions to take the #3 spot at the U.S. box office during it’s first 2 weeks of release. Currently I Can Only Imagine has earned over $80 million in ticket sales, has earned the coveted A+ Cinemascore, 93% Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score and become the #3 Music Biopic and #6 Christian Film in modern day history.​​