SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dream Foundation–the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families facing terminal illness–held its 14th Annual Celebration of Dreams Gala Saturday, November 7th at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara.
The event was sponsored by longtime supporters, and corporate and in-kind partners Colleen Barnett-Taylor & Michael Taylor; CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. (parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s); Genentech; Gentiva Hospice Foundation; Dee & Andy Puzder; Tracy & Michael Bollag; The Himovitz Family & El Capitan Canyon; the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians; Wells Fargo; the Bacara Resort & Spa; Patròn Tequila; John Paul Mitchell Systems and Walter Claudio Salon Spa. The evening was produced and designed by Merryl Brown Events and directed by Michael Helton.
Dream Foundation welcomed more than 400 guests for a magical evening of high caliber entertainment, decadent cuisine, live and silent auctions, and touching dream stories. The organization also announced its rebranding campaign, complete with a new logo and tag line, “Giving Life To Final Dreams.” The event honored Gentiva Hospice Foundation with the 2015 Outstanding Corporate Partner Award.
Former Gentiva president and founder, Dick Burnham, presented the award to former president, Jeff Shaner, who happily passed the baton and award to current president, Paul VerHoeve. A corporate Partner in Dreams for the past 16 years, Gentiva Hospice Foundation has helped serve more than 9,000 final dreams.
The Gala also saluted Andy Puzder and John Paul DeJoria, the founding supporters of Dream Foundation’s newly launched Dreams for Veterans program.
Puzder, CEO/President of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. (parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s) and DeJoria, of The Patrón Spirits Company and CEO/Co-Founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems, shared the stage and remarks about Dream Foundation’s Dreams for Veterans program and why they choose to support it. They were also presented with challenge coins—a deep-rooted military tradition—by Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer.
Dreams for Veterans is the first national program that specifically serves and honors terminally ill veterans with the fulfillment of a final dream. In soft launch for a year prior to its public launch in September 2015, the program has already served more 200 veterans.
The evening began with a cocktail reception, Tesla Santa Barbara automobiles on display, and silent auction with more than 70 items, including artwork being created on the spot and a selection of fines wines hand-picked by the Foundation’s board members from their own personal collections.
Local entrepreneur and favorite “Bachelor,” Andrew Firestone, and wife, Ivana, led a spirited live auction where guests rallied back and forth to secure their favorite trips and treats, including a luxurious tropical vacation to New Zealand and Fiji that raised $27,000 for the organization with the generous contribution of longtime Dream Foundation supporter, Colleen Barnett-Taylor.
Former Santa Barbarian and dream volunteer turned country/American musician, Natalie Noone dedicated her performance to a dreamer she had the honor or meeting. Teenage sensation, Sara Stevens wowed the audience with a voice beyond her years and O.A.R. (Of A Revolution) gave another epic live performance that they are known for around the world.
To the delight of all, former Cirque De Soleil performer, Eros Biox and renowned hand balancer, Andrew Moraru performed a beautifully eccentric piece choreographed specifically for the occasion.
As Dream Foundation receives no state or federal funding, the annual Celebration of Dreams Gala is meant to raise awareness and resources vitals to serving the final dreams of more than 2,500 dream recipients nationwide per year.
There was not a dry eye in the house when former dreamer, Tara Middleton, shared her story and fight for life after discovering she had an inoperable brain tumor. Having received a prognosis of just three months to live, she has remained positive and continues to beat the odds against her.
Sheri and Jimmy Malone, wife and son of former dreamer and veteran, James Malone, also shared their story. They spoke of James, who passed away a day before his dream to visit Washington, D.C. was to be fulfilled and that how regardless, Dream Foundation was able to restore his faith in people during his final days.
Directly following the Gala, an after party hosted by Grammy Award-winning DJ Chris Cox commenced in the brilliantly transformed lobby of the hotel, spearheaded by Dream Foundation’s Generation Dream Committee Chairperson, Heather Hambleton. Generation Dream aims to involve and excite the next generation of philanthropists. The after party also included sprits by Patrón Tequila and the New Belgium Brewing Company, sweets by ProYo frozen yogurt, and late night bites from the Carl’s Jr. ® Star Diner. The after party sponsors were Eric & Elenor Wernicke, PayJunction, First Click Inc. and the Gardner Grout Foundation.
Dream Foundation has never turned away a qualified dream request. With a 48 percent increase in dream requests over last year, the organization is in need of support more than ever.
Visit www.dreamfoundation.org to learn more and help make dreams come true.
About Dream Foundation
The only national dream-granting organization for adults, Dream Foundation enhances the quality of life for individuals and their families facing terminal illness. Dream recipients are those individuals who have been given a year or less life expectancy. Dreams range from basic needs 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.