Susi Q’s Legacy Ball Raises more than $400K for Laguna Seniors

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Annual Fundraiser Honors Tina and Warren Haines, US Bank Foundation

Laguna Beach local Roya Cole (second from right) and guests celebrate winning the Laguna Beach Firefighters’ dinner during the live auction portion of Susi Q’s Legacy Ball on April 15. Photo/Jo Ekblad

Susi Q supporters and donors packed the Laguna Cliffs Marriott in Dana Point for the nonprofit’s annual Legacy Ball on April 15. The event raised more than $400,000 for Laguna Beach seniors, a number that Susi Q Executive Director Nadia Babayi said is the highest she’s seen as a result of the yearly fundraiser. 

“What made the Legacy Ball truly extraordinary was the palpable energy that radiated from our audience,” Babayi said. “Our loyal friends and donors helped us raise the funds needed to assist seniors stay well and safe.”

“We have had the support and commitment of the Legacy Ball Committee, which is made of our board members and key community volunteers,” Babayi went on to say. “These two groups took time from their busy schedules to attend meetings, seek donations, and help guide us through another successful event. I am particularly grateful to our co-chairs, Kitty Malcolm and Stephany Skenderian for their support.”

Susi Q’s Legacy Award winners Tina and Warren Haines accept their awards during the Legacy Ball on April 15. Clara Beard/LB Indy

The Susi Q’s Legacy Award winners were Tina and Warren Haines, and Cornerstone Award winner The US Bank Foundation, which Richard Frank represented.

“For our operating budget, we must raise funds from foundations, businesses, and our many donors,” Babayi said. “We are so lucky to have their trust and support. The funds raised through the gala will help fund our programs and care services offered at the Susi Q.”

The main feature of the live auction was the popular firefighter dinner put on by some of the members of the Laguna Beach Fire Department.

Since 2015, the Laguna Beach firefighters have planned the elaborate dinner to the detail, including floral decorations, a detailed menu plan, and entertainment featuring their local resident firefighter bagpiper. 

The Laguna Beach Firefighter Association had seven firefighters attend the Susi Q auction event and ultimately raised around $80,000 for Laguna Beach seniors. After plenty of fierce bidding, Laguna Beach local Roya Cole won the dinners for the second year in a row. 

“We traditionally only commit to one dinner per year for the Susi Q because, logistically, it is a huge time requirement from our firefighters as all of this work is done off-duty,” said Tom Padden, president of the Laguna Beach Firefighter Association. “When the auction for one dinner was sold at $40,000, we committed to a second for an additional $40,000, totaling $80,000. Our firefighters drive in from across the southland to ensure a great experience. Our members are driving in from San Bernadino, Riverside, LA County and San Diego County on their days off and away from their families to be of service to our local seniors.

“We are happy and honored to do this for our seniors, but it couldn’t happen without the donors who graciously and generously donate to the cause,” Padden added.

More information about the Susi Q and its services can be found at thesusiq.org. 

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