The Coast News Group
Left to right: Sarah Holt, gala chair; Dani Witkowski, board president, Chuck Rabel, legacy donor and CEO Matt Koumaras “Take a Chance on Kids” at the Boys & Girls Club of Vista’s Diamond Gala. Photo by Jon Robershaw
Cities Vista

Gala raises $85,000 for Boys & Girls Club

VISTA — Supporters of the Boys & Girls Club of Vista gathered at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa on May 12 to help raise money for its programs which enhance the lives of children. The theme for the eighth annual Diamond Gala was “Mamma Mia.”

According to Ellen Clark, the director of development for the Boys & Girls Club of Vista, 151 guests attended and raised $85,000.

The evening started with champagne and hors d oeuvres, while guests perused the silent auction items. While dinner was served, Clark said that attendees learned about the club and the kids they serve. A video presentation of its Youth of the Year, Julie Martinez, was also highlighted.

The evening also featured a musical performance by the Moonlight Cultural Foundation.

“There was a live auction by Vincent Zapien and guests enjoyed casino-style gaming to finish the evening,” Clark said. “Popular items included a Tony Gwynn autographed jersey, roundtrip airfare on Alaska Airlines, travel to the Caribbean, Hawaii and Panama, golf equipment, Disneyland Passes and a variety of excursions around San Diego and Southern California.”

Emcee for the evening was Anne State, who serves as public relations and community outreach manager for Lifesharing, a Donate Life Organization.

“Anne is a three-time Emmy-award winning journalist formerly with ‘The Now San Diego’ on 10News,” Clark said.

Clark went on to say proceeds from the gala will also help with a financial shortfall.

“Club membership is an affordable $50 per year, but the actual cost is $577 per child,” she said. “Monies raised at the gala will help fill the gap. Because of the generosity of our donors we can provide equal access for all kids to life-enhancing programs that strengthen their education, develop knowledge and participation in the arts, enhance after-school opportunities, facilitate participation in sports and athletic programs, develop healthy lifestyles and enjoy time with friends in a safe environment.”

Sarah Holt served as event chair. Committee members included Dani Witkowski, Pam Fox, Margo Cobian, Steve Eidle, Melissa Frymoyer, Danny Pencak, Charity Bracy, Matt Koumaras, Ellen Clark and Valerie Hollister.

Clark thanked Premier sponsors US Bank and Watkins Wellness. Other sponsors were DEI Forte for Children and Tri-City Medical Center. Gala underwriters included Edward Jones and Polito Eppich. Clark said the Donegan Burns Foundation provided a $5,000 matching fund for cash donations.

Looking ahead, the ninth annual Diamond Gala to help support the Boys & Girls Club of Vista is slated for March 2, 2019.