There is nothing like each year's Shine Gala to highlight the good work done by the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House for families of ill children. This year's gala held on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Langham Huntington Hotel honored Sierra Madre residents Sindee and Steve Riboli. The couple have been volunteers and donors to the House since it opened in 2004. Sindee is a past member of the House Board of Trustees. Steve is co-owner of the San Antonio Winery in Los Angeles.
The opportunity to party in the Huntington ballroom's opulent setting put many in the mood for giving. And there were as many chances as partridges in a pear tree for members and guests to part with their money. First up was the reception's cocktail auction. A favorite auction item was a visit to the Santa Anita Park Turf Club now that horse racing is underway. Visits to “Extreme Boot Camp” were also available, courtesy of Linda Taix of Taix Workout Studio — just the thing to get svelte before the holidays. If the auction wasn't enough to whet partygoers' appetites for spending, there were goody bags filled with $25 in restaurant gift certificates or products such as fine lotions. The bargain was only having to spend $20 for the bag, but the buyer didn't know what was in the bag until purchase. If the buyer didn't like what they wound up with, there was a bulletin board for trading.
Dinner followed with salad, an entrée of herb-roasted bass and grilled filet of beef and a dessert of chocolate, fruit puff tart and blood-orange sorbet. Two wines donated by San Antonio Winery were San Simeon Chardonnay, Monterey, 2010 and San Antonio Heritage, Paso Robles, 2008. As did the wine, the generosity flowed.
The giving mood lasted during the “Fund a Family” pitch and live auction. Popular with the crowd was a chance to “Come Wine with the Riboli's at the Historic San Antonio Winery” made up of a wine tasting for eight and a personalized tour of the family's working winery by Steve Riboli. Its value? Priceless. Another favorite was a Belt, Mont. five-day and four-night getaway to an eight-guest luxury log home donated by Montana Sporting Club. A personal host was also part of the package. The vacation was valued at $4,000.
Able auctioneer was Jorge Jarrin, manager of L.A. Dodgers Spanish broadcast sales and play-by-play announcer of Dodger Telecasts on Fox Deportes L.A. Mistress of Ceremonies and KTLA Morning News Anchor Michaela Pereira more than complemented the professional Jarrin.
Kudos must be given to Shine Gala Chair Jacqueline Ficht and her hard-working committee. Also to be commended were Auction Co-Chairs Jennifer DeBoskey and Marlene Evans.
Members of the Ronald McDonald House Board of Trustees also gave of their time and resources. Credit is due to, among others, Chair Bill Gibbons, Vice Chair Ashley Andrews, Treasurer and incoming Board Chair Martin Holford and Secretary Geoffrey DeBoskey.
House Director Elizabeth Dever was a fount of information. The Pasadena Ronald McDonald House has served over 7,000 children and families. Not only do families of critically ill children have a place to stay, they also have meals cooked by volunteers, a fully stocked kitchen, pet therapy, family activities, laundry facilities, computers, Internet access and local transportation to hospitals and stores.
According to Sindee Riboli, McDonald's provides 25% toward House services and “we have to do the rest.”
Board Chair Gibbons said that the gala will provide 40% of the House's operating expenses. He estimated that the evening's proceeds would total $200,000 — all to benefit the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House and the children and families it serves.
RUTH SOWBY may be reached at email@example.com.