The Orange County School of the Arts Foundation raised $1 million net in support of the school’s students at last weekend’s gala fundraiser. And, it got a big hand from new foundation board member Mohamed El-Erian, who matched up to $250,000 for all funds donated towards the Fund-A-Dream portion of the event, which raised $574,500. This amount will fund 115 students’ dreams.

El-Erian is chief economic adviser at Germany-based Allianz. He formerly was co-chief executive of Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co., which Allianz owns.

Fund-A-Dream benefits the Artist Scholar Sponsorship Program campaign for economically-disadvantaged students. More than 200 students at the school are from families that are living below the national poverty level, with a household income of $35,000 or less, according to the school.

El-Erian also committed to host a lunch for all donors at the event who donate $5,000 or more during the Fund-A-Dream portion. And, as part of the “almost live” auction, he donated a private lunch for four guests at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach.

The foundation supports the school’s tuition-free programs and its expansion plans. The academic portion of the Santa Ana public charter school is funded by the state of California while the arts portion is funded by private donations. At the annual gala the foundation raises funds for the school’s 14 arts programs, including acting; classical and contemporary dance; classical voice and commercial dance.

The gala is the foundation’s largest fundraising event of the year and provides support toward the $8 million needed annually to continue providing the arts programs. The school, established in 1987, prepares students for college and a profession in the arts. It serves more than 2,100 “gifted” students in grades 7-12 from more than 125 cities.