Their pal Armie Hammer was there.

By Helen Donahue
Feb 07, 2019 @ 10:15 pm

Smitten newlyweds Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra made a surprising, last-minute appearance at the illustrious Beverly Hills Hotel last Thursday after Jonas joked on Twitter above a photo of the two dressed up (Chopra in rainbow Elie Saab) that they were “Walking into wedding reception 100047 like…” A nod to his and Chopra’s three-day-long December wedding spectacular, Jonas continued, “Haha just kidding. So happy to celebrate our friends @armiehammer and @EChambers and the amazing work they have done with #LearningLabVentures.”

It turns out the lovebirds were stepping out for charity, attending the second annual Learning Lab Ventures Winter Gala (funded by high-end fashion e-commerce brand Farfetch) where Chopra would later bestow friends Armie Hammer and Elizabeth Chambers with the NextGen Philanthropic Leaders award. The Gala — which doubled as solace from a rare Los Angeles rainstorm for Laura Dern, Rachel Zoe, the Stallone family, and more — was a decadent commemoration of philanthropy, replete with unlimited cocktails, a Wes Anderson-esque, palm-printed photo-booth, and an auction laden with commodities and experiences to which only the affluent have access.

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Los Angeles has a substantial poverty rate.  Nonetheless it would be easy for Hollywood's elite to detach themselves from L.A.'s generational poverty dilemma and the devastation it wreaks on children's lives and schooling, but the celebs and donors present at Learning Lab Ventures Winter Gala were anything but apathetic. Learning Lab Ventures, which launched in 2010, affirmed their mission to disrupt the cycle of poverty, in a presentation that showed while 29 percent of children in L.A. live in poverty, and nearly half don't graduate from high school, LLV-sponsored kids have a 100 percent graduation rate through accelerated after-school education and enrichment programs.

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

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More than 400 philanthropists, celebs, and entrepreneurs arrived in their most breathtaking black-tie attire to mingle, celebrate the cause, eat and drink lavishly and, of course, spend money. The Gala provided an inclusive space to kindle the conversation about generational poverty, shine a light on the obstacles L.A.’s children face today, and teach those in attendance how to give back, whether through sponsoring one to ten children or winning a bid for court-side Lakers tickets, a four-night stay in the Bahamas, or a journey on a private jet. All 21 auction items were won, contributing thousands to the non-profit.

Between bites of caprese, filet mignon, and chocolate mousse cradled by edible white roses, and speeches by LLV founders Rochelle Gores Fredston and Mary Alice Haney, Kate Bosworth awarded CEO of Phoenix Pictures Mike Medavoy and wife Irena for their philanthropy. Following a brilliant, spoken-word performance by prized poet Sekou Andrews, and between displays of affection for her hubby, Chopra honored Chambers and Hammer’s year-round humanitarianism, and shared her story of meeting the “two warm, dynamic people” through what she calls destiny at the 2017 Met Gala: Seated at the same table as now-husband Jonas, Chopra connected with Hammer and Chambers on a “deeper level” with an understanding that “we have a responsibility as individuals to leverage our position, our privilege, that all of us sitting in this room have, to give back ... to make the world a kinder place, a better place, an amazing place to raise our children."

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When Chambers and Hammer hit the stage to accept their award, Chambers signaled Jonas in the audience and warmly quipped "thank you for letting us hijack your date night — very important for newlyweds — and we totally took that from you tonight." Chopra followed up her emotional speech with a laudatory tweet: “Congratulations to our friends @elizabethchambers and @armiehammer for being honoured for being the nextgen philanthropists by @learninglabventures. I was excited to be presenting this award to you..So proud of u both. So well deserved Love u guys. @nickjonas #besthusbandever.”

Spokespeople for Learning Lab Ventures told InStyle that of the 250 kids sponsored by Winter Gala attendees Thursday night, Chopra and Jonas sponsored 11, contributing $11,000 to the $1.4M raised.

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