SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dream Foundation – the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families suffering from life-threatening illness – held its 20th Anniversary Celebration of Dreams Gala on Nov. 8 with 500 guests from around the country in attendance at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara. Guests included Priscilla Presley, Nigel Lythgoe, Ivan Reitman, Tanya Callau Thicke, Eloise DeJoria, Ludi Delfino and CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder, long-time supporter and 2013 Dream Foundation Outstanding Corporate Partner honoree.
The evening featured a celebrity red carpet, silent and live auctions, world-class entertainment and moving testimonials from Dream Foundation friends and supporters. Dream Foundation’s Annual Celebration of Dreams Gala net proceeds are vital to supporting the program, which receives no federal or state funding and relies solely on corporate and individual contributions and grants. Dream Foundation has never turned down a qualified dream request.
This year’s event sponsors included Alma Rosa Winery, Bacara Resort & Spa, Beau Joie Champagne, Bell Town Wine, John Paul Mitchell Systems, Magnolia Event Design, O’Gara Coach Westlake, Rolls-Royce & Bentley Westlake, Patrón Tequila, Villa San-Juliette Winery and Walter Claudio Salon Spa. Vital funds were raised throughout the evening by event sponsors as well as 53 individual commitments.
“This year’s combined upper-level sponsorship is more successful than ever before – a true testament to a belief in our mission,” says Dream Foundation Executive Director, Kisa Heyer. “In 20 years, not one single qualified applicant has been turned away and more than 20,000 dreams have been served. The work we do would not be possible without the collective generosity of our patrons and sponsors.”
Dream Foundation honored co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and The Patrón Spirits Company, John Paul DeJoria, with the 2014 Humanitarian Award, as well as leading biotechnology company, Genentech, with the 2014 Outstanding Corporate Partner Award.
John Paul DeJoria graciously accepted his award from friend Bill Nicholson, longtime Dream Foundation supporter and Dream Maker. A video beforehand highlighted DeJoria’s tremendous philanthropic work across the world. “Giving Back is the New Black” it said, and DeJoria certainly wears it well! During his acceptance, and in addition to his 10-plus years of contributions and dedication, he spontaneously donated $100,000 to Dream Foundation’s latest project, Dreams for Veterans. The audience erupted in a standing ovation of gratitude. The generous contribution will further support dreams for U.S. military veterans which, to-date, have been made possible and will continue to be delivered via support in part from partners such as CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. (parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants) and its annual Stars for Heroes fundraising campaign.
Shelley Piccolo, widow of former dream recipient, Brian Piccolo, presented Tanum Davis, Associate Director of BioOncology Strategy of Genentech with the Outstanding Corporate Partner Award. Piccolo’s final dream, a family trip to Disney World, was fulfilled thanks to the help of Genentech’s volunteers, funds and dedication.
“It was a privilege to honor a company that has been a vital contributor to Dream Foundation’s success for the past eight years. We simply would not be where we are today without them,” Heyer said.
“Righteous Brother” Bill Medley and daughter, McKenna Medley performed “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” and “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’” together to start the evening off. KT Tunstall took the stage next with an energetic performance of “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” and “Suddenly I See” that had audience members strutting down the runway. David Ryan Harris closed the evening with a soulful performance of “Shelter” and “Still Be Loving You” leaving guests captivated and reflective of the amazing evening.
Andrew Firestone and wife, Ivana Bozilovic got the room to open their hearts and support dreams during the live auction that included a six-night getaway to Fiji, an intimate evening at the home of renowned director/producer Ivan Reitman and wife, Genevieve, for delicious food fare and a private film screening, as well as five other unique experiences. The live auction brought in a total of $112,750 to assist with future dreams, while the silent auction, comprised of 63 different luxury items, brought in $71,700. An additional $131,375 was also raised to benefit Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower, Toy and Dream Maker programs, which are essential to enriching our dream recipients' final journey.
After a retrospective video encompassing Dream Foundation’s 20-year history, gala committee member and KEYT News Channel 23 anchor, Shirin Rajaee, introduced former dream recipients, Richard Mackin and Christianne Adamik. Both shared touching stories of how Dream Foundation touched their lives and gave their families lasting memories. The evening also looked back in remembrance of 20,000 dreamers and their families, while taking a look forward to coming years. Dream Foundation’s Executive Director Kisa Heyer shared exciting plans to dream bigger than ever by expanding the program’s reach with the goal to provide care, comfort, and closure to ultimately more adults and their families.
The gala after-party was held in the spectacularly transformed Bacara Lobby with DJ Chris Cox spinning remixes for a full dance floor, spirits by Beau Joie Champagne and Patrón Tequila and late night bites from the Carl's Jr.® Star Diner and ProYo.
Images from the evening can be found at GettyImages.com.
About Dream Foundation
The first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults, Dream Foundation enhances the quality of life for individuals and their families battling life-threatening illness. Dream recipients are those individuals who have been given a year or less life expectancy. Dreams range from basic need items, like a working stove, to bedside reunions and meaningful experiences with children and loved ones.
Founded in 1994, Dream Foundation serves more than 2,500 dreams each year and relies on a network of volunteers, sponsors and individual donors.
For more information, visit www.dreamfoundation.org or call (888) 4DREAMS.