Five Acres exceeds gala fundraising goal to ensure safe environment for children
Elegant as it was memorable, Five Acres celebrated the “superheroes” it serves—children in need of permanent, loving families—at its annual fundraiser gala held during June’s National Foster Care month.
The Pasadena-based non-profit exceeded its fundraising goal to provide permanency for 10,000 children and family members in their care across Southern California.
Nearly 300 supporters walked a red carpet to join a poolside reception with delectable hors d'oevres, premium open bar, and a charming lemonade stand. Guests crowded the bars for liquid reinforcements, while mingling with the crowd consisting of thought leaders and supporters passionate about children’s safety, well-being and permanency—the framework for all of Five Acres’ programs focused on effective means of caring for children and families in crisis.
Now in its 24th year, the backyard soiree was held at the home of Jennifer and Shawn McCreight and emceed by actress and director Sarah Drew of “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Eighty percent of Five Acres’ services focus on preventing kids from entering foster care in the first place. One of their newest programs, PHC (Private Health Care) allows them to partner with local private health care organizations across Southern California to access even more at-risk families and provide them with the support and resource linkage they need to remain together and thrive.
Setting the mood
The desert oasis-themed fête encouraged guests to don their best and brightest attire, and succeeded in making everyone feel like part of the canvas: A rolling sea of vibrant colors befitting of Palm Springs, set on the grounds of a lush private estate in Pasadena, California.
The backyard of the estate emulated the pops-of-color theme with elegant table settings, a shiny white dance floor, and a stage with large, curved screens at all sides of the venue to feature honorees who have made an impact and advanced the organization’s mission.
Guests enjoyed a three-course dinner and a dessert bar before dancing the night away with the poolside DJ that played classic and current hits.
Champions of change
Actor/director Matthew Lillard of “Good Girls” and “Scooby Doo”, and writer/producer/director Matt Nix of “Burn Notice” and “The Gifted” also introduced a special video the two produced for Five Acres. The video interviewed several now-adopted former foster children served by Five Acres about their ideal superpowers and brought them to life. Each gala guest received collectible superhero cards with every child’s special story included.
Nick Di Nieri was at the helm as auctioneer, helping Five Acres’ exceed its fundraising goal for the night with a matching gift and significant surprise donation after the final call. Di Nieri, a foster-adoptive father himself, remarked on the importance of the gala, noting that “even if you can’t become a foster parent, everyone can do something to break the cycle of abuse and neglect for kids in need.”
The Desert Oasis was made possible in part by multiple underwriters and sponsors, including an anonymous Palm Springs sponsor; Rusnak Auto Group and Wells Fargo as Paradise Sponsors, LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and Comerica Bank as Tech Sponsors; and Pasadena Now and Outlook Newspapers digital and print media sponsors, respectively.
Five Acres’ evaluates their impact by assessing children’s progress across safety, well-being and permanency. They look at the issues they originally had when they came to the organization and evaluate if those issues have improved or been eliminated completely by the time they leave their care.