best benefits 2019
I'm lucky enough to cover benefits and fundraisers throughout the year here in Northeast Ohio. Most are great. Some could use a little help, but let's focus on the positive. Every year Currents publishes a round up of the best benefits of the year. Here are mine:
Glam with a Heart of Gold
Flashes of Hope: Big Shots & Little Stars
October 19, 2019
Big Shots - national headliners, most affiliated with the Cleveland Cavaliers, join Little Stars – children who have beaten pediatric cancer for a once-in-a lifetime fashion showcase that blows the roof off Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. At cocktail hour: a Hollywood theme of international adventure, a la Indiana Jones. After delish and diverse small plates, guests were invited onto the court of the NBA team where an exciting Vegas vibe energized the live auction with way cool items for bid. There are over 75 chapters of Flashes of Hope internationally, but it’s here in Cleveland where founders Allison and Kip Clarke started, that the fundraiser goes over the top in the most delightful ways possible. Glitzy and glamorous yet grounded: one million dollars raised for Flashes of Hope – photographs of children dealing with cancer, and more, important dollars for cancer research.
50th Anniversary: Keep On Keepin’ On
SC4K (Shoes & Clothes for Kids) – 14th Annual Night at the Shoreby
September 17, 2019
SC4K has its annual benefit at the venerable Shoreby Club overlooking Lake Erie down to an amenable, welcoming science: volunteers greet guests, a superb buffet supper is all arranged. Cocktails and jazz on the terrace outside with that magnificent view – Cleveland at its sophisticated best with a touch of ‘Downton Abbey’. The event could be just another great party – and it is. Yet underneath is the soul of an underdog – a grass-roots organization that perennially punches above its weight as it seeks to provide for its disadvantaged population. Over the past 50 years, SC4K has wisely morphed from one man with a vision to a nimble non-profit that gets shoes and socks, underclothes, uniforms, school supplies and more to children, in a push to get students to stay in school. The need never stops. Looks like SC4K isn’t about to stop any time soon either.
Heart of the Heights
The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes: Flyways not Byways
June 1, 2019
Ingredients for a summer garden party: Call friends who cook and/or mix drinks. Here, that would be generous local restaurateurs. Next, invite hundreds of your closest friends and supporters to attend a stylish cocktail hour and dinner under the stars. Add dozens of fairy lights overhead. Display student artwork. Add music, and you have a recipe for a supremely successful event for a unique location. At the intersection of marsh, lake, ravine and forest, these 20 acres see over 40,000 visitors a year, 14,000 of them children from nearby urban neighborhoods. With no tax dollars, the Nature Center is on its own, yet this year it doubled down on its commitment to sharing its unique green space, adding a new play area, tree house and gazebo, and expanding the family/ADA-friendly All Peoples Trail. The Heart of the Heights is green, growing and thriving.
Horses: Who knew?
Fieldstone Farms: Chefs Unbridled
September 7, 2019
39 horses and their people thrive from the support that comes from the most inventive annual foodie fest in the area – Chefs Unbridled. Two dozen top restaurants, caterers and crafters of drink all create unique small plates and glasses, from appetizers to desserts for 600 guests at the sold-out event. Wizards work to transform the Polo Field of the Hunt Club/Gates Mills into a sophisticated dining hot spot under an airy tent and open paddock. Fieldstone Farms, a therapeutic riding center offers children and adults opportunities to interact with horses. Disabled veterans find moments of serenity. People leave their wheelchairs behind to ride tall. Autistic children have a calm friend to work with. A horse can change a life. True? A fully-committed team of volunteers and staff working on pairing horses with people in need can change a life? Definitely true. The horses think so too.