There are over 100 registered non-profits in Laguna Beach. Nearly every one of them supports the needs and interests of locals, and every one of them is constantly on the quest for funding to fulfill their missions.
Today, every day, and year after year, non-profit organizations survive on the kindness and generosity of friends and neighbors and charitable organizations.
The good caring people of Laguna Beach also like to have a good time, so the fundraising event is a popular pastime. Perhaps too popular. The pool of participants is finite and all too often people grouse over a constant flow of invitations and sponsorship requests. Thankfully, many rise to the occasion and a solid block of guests, and you know who they are, serve as bedrock philanthropists. You will see them dining and dancing many a Saturday night and non-profit managers and board members bow to them.
The hardest part of planning fundraising events is not, as you might imagine, organizing the occasion, or finding the best chairs, or enlisting sponsorships, or filling the hall. No, the hardest part is securing a good venue. There are few places that will accommodate 200 plus people, and some of these are terribly costly, too expensive for all but the richest budgets. After all, it is called a fundraiser for a reason.
Laguna Beach Seniors scored big time this past Saturday night with a sold-out guest list of just over 200 partygoers at the Aliso Creek Inn, hosted by the event’s honorary chair, Mark Christy, co-owner of the cherished venue still fondly called Ben Brown’s by many. The facility is in the midst of renovation; in fact most of the out-buildings were down to the studs, but the kitchen is intact and a tent perched above the golf course was the scene of an intimate evening where philanthropic angels, town leaders and friends sat shoulder-to-shoulder around a dance floor that rocked with the music of a cherished band, Missiles of October, as well as Beth and Steve Wood and friends.
Chaired by the indomitable Ann Quilter and LBS Board President Tina Haines, the evening had the feeling of an extremely large family reunion. Nostalgia was in the air, befitting the theme of “coming home” to Laguna. After several years at Seven Degrees, LBS more recently hosted the annual Legacy Ball at Newport Beach’s Pelican Hill Resort, an elegant place with elegant decorum. On Saturday, guests let their hair down, and retro style of dress included tie-dyed silks and fur accents. And the organization hired a professional auctioneer who stole the show with humor and perseverance, and even as the financials are being calculated, I am pretty sure that a new fundraising record will be announced shortly.
How often Christy and partners will open up the resort for fundraisers remains to be seen, but the friends and beneficiaries of the Susi Q were pleased to be there and the gods of non-profits were cheering.
Randy Kraft also pens the OC BookBlog for www.ocinsite.com and is the author of “Colors of the Wheel.” She is also a friend of the Susi Q. Laguna Beach Community Foundation has the full list of non-profits in town at http://www.lagunabeachcf.org.