Rancho Santa Fe resident dedicated to children’s charities

Attendees at the Miracle Babies sixth annual gala on Oct. 10 will be transported to Morocco right from a terrace at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar.

The sights, flavors and ambiance will be fitting for the “Moonlight in Casablanca” theme with lavish decor, exotic food, and belly dancers.

The evening will begin with cocktails on the outdoor terrace, followed by a gourmet seated dinner, live auction and dancing. Suggested attire is black tie, elegant vintage Hollywood — a nod to the classic movie — or Moroccan-influenced attire.

Miriam Smotrich, a Rancho Santa Fe resident and local philanthropist, is the chair of the event. Charo Garcia-Guerra is co-chair and a large committee of 22 volunteers will help make Smotrich’s vision a reality.

The theme of “Casablanca” was chosen because Smotrich loves the classic movie — and she was born in Morocco.

“I always loved Morocco; there is something mystic about it,” she said. “I love the decor and the Moorish design, and with Casablanca, it can go vintage Hollywood. You will definitely see lots of fashion at this party; it will be very colorful.”

Wayne Foster Music will provide entertainment, actor and comedian Jonathan E. Silverman will serve as emcee, and disco dancing will go long into the night, said Smotrich.

Funds raised by the gala for Miracle Babies — founded by Dr. Sean Daneshmand in 2009 — will provide support and financial assistance to families in need with critically ill newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) as well as enhancing the well-being of women, children and their families through education, prevention and medical care.

Every year, more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely in the United States, and often families find themselves faced with unexpected financial difficulties.

Smotrich is dedicating her life to giving back to children-related charities in San Diego. She and her husband, David — a world-renowned infertility specialist — support Adopt-a-Family, The Ronald McDonald House, Just Like My Child and the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

The Smotriches’ third child, Gabrielle, was born four weeks early and was in the NICU, said Smotrich who added that she was very fortunate to be able to see her baby every day. “So we understand why this foundation is so important for those in need.”

This year, the fundraiser has been elevated to raise more funds to meet the growing need of local families. Ticket prices are $500 per person, VIP tickets are available for $1,000, and tables of 10 start at $5,000 for general seating and $10,000 for VIP seating.

It has taken almost a year to prepare for the gala, said Smotrich. “Miracle Babies is a small foundation so we are all hands-on, we are doing everything ourselves. It’s a team effort, and we all get along — we all want what’s best for the charity.”

Giving to charity stemmed from Smotrich’s childhood. She grew up in a conservative home in Israel, with seven siblings, but the family always gave back. “It was very important to my parents to show us the importance of giving, and you lead by example, so now we do the same with our children.”

Smotrich used the Hebrew phrase “tikkun olam,” which translates to “repair the world.” She said that she wishes more people could follow this simple philosophy. “We would have a better world,” she commented.

“On behalf the entire Miracle Babies team, we thank Miriam for her heart and love for Miracle Babies and the families we serve,” said Marjan Daneshmand, wife of Dr. Daneshmand, founder of Miracle Babies, about Smotrich’s tireless work. “We so appreciate her consummate professionalism and attention to detail during this year’s gala season. This event is sure to be one for the books!”

Event sponsors include Sydney Holland Foundation; La Jolla IVF; Tri-City Medical Center; San Diego Neonatology; AMN Healthcare; Barona Band of Mission Indians; First Foundation; Sharp Mary Birch Hospital; and Union Bank.

At press time, some tickets were still available. A limited number include premier seating, upgraded menu, wine and favor plus invitation to the exclusive Patron Party at a private La Jolla estate. Buy tickets at the Miracle Babies Gala website at