Jane Fonda celebrated her 80th birthday in style — and by raising $1.3 million for charity

By Maria Pasquini and Elissa Rosen
December 10, 2017 02:43 PM
Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for GAACP

Jane Fonda celebrated her 80th birthday in style — by raising $1.3 million for charity.

On Saturday, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential, which Fonda founded in 1995 to provide sexual health education and help prevent teen pregnancy, celebrated the legendary actress’ upcoming landmark birthday with an intimate fundraiser called “Eight Decades of Jane” held at The Whitley in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta.

And even though the party coincided with a snowstorm in the city, a number of Fonda’s closest friends and family were able to attend the festive occasion, including Rosanna Arquette, Catherine Keener, James Taylor, Carole King and Ted Turner — Fonda’s ex-husband.

Catherine Keener (left) and Jane Fonda
| Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for GAACP

Speaking with PEOPLE at the event, the Academy Award-winning actress opened up about the best and worst parts of celebrating such a momentous birthday, which falls on Dec. 21.

While she said the worst part was that “I can’t lift as many weights as I used to,” Fonda said the best part of her age was that “people don’t grope you” – likely a reference to the mounting allegations of sexual misconduct against many of Hollywood’s most prominent figures in recent months. Fonda had previously spoken out against producer Harvey Weinstein.

Asked what the night’s celebration meant to her and the organization, Fonda replied that she was “very proud of what we have accomplished over the years.”

Still, the actress and political activist said that “it is a very challenging time for [GCAPP]” because government funding for teen pregnancy prevention has been cut. “In spite of what’s happening, we will make changes,” Fonda continued. “It’s going to be a challenge. But we have to remain robust.”

Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for GAACP

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The evening kicked off with a cocktail reception where Fonda — who wore an Elie Saab pantsuit — told her guests she “never imagined living this long” and reflected on her life so far.

Following Fonda’s remarks, some of her friends shared their fondest memories of the actress, and the night even included special video messages from some stars who weren’t able to attend — like Dolly Parton, Kerry Washington, Oprah and rapper Ludacris.

While Parton concluded her video toast by singing “9 to 5,” a song which the country star wrote for the 1980 film of the same name in which she and Fonda both starred, during her toast, Oprah revealed she had donated $100,000 to GCAPP.

James Taylor (left) and Carole King
| Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for GAACP

Following the toasts, guests enjoyed an eight course meal — each course representing a decade in Fonda’s life — from renowned chef Alice Waters, before they were invited to bid on some unique experiences, including a trip to the set of Grace and Frankie to have lunch with the actress and her costar Lily Tomlin.

All of the proceeds from the auction went to GCAPP, and it was later announced that $1.3 million had been raised.

Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for GAACP

Following the auction, Taylor and King performed a medley of their biggest hits including “Carolina In My Mind.”

Afterwards, the two musicians sang “Happy Birthday” to the woman of the hour and helped her blow out the eight candles of her ornate cake made by Karen Portaleo.

The multi-tiered cake — which was not served — featured two regal birds and a woman holding what appeared to be a lotus flower. A red velvet cake from Highland Bakery was served for guests.