On Saturday, November 5, the Dream Foundation held one of Santa Barbara’s premier annual events — the Dreamland Gala at the Bacara Resort & Spa. The final number is still being tallied, but the foundation hopes that the event raised about $1 million.
About 400 guests mingled on the ballroom terrace and then enjoyed an emotional and exciting program during dinner. Writer/producer Nigel Lythgoe (American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance) shared a touching story stemming from his role in granting the Dream request of a cancer patient.
Daniella Enriquez, age 22 and living in Tennessee with a brain cancer diagnosis, eloquently shared her gratitude to the Dream Foundation for enabling her to spend three weeks with her family in California, where she “got to hug so many people.”
Jonathan White, 36, a music lover from Brooklyn, New York, with a lung cancer diagnosis, related how meaningful it was for him when the Dream Foundation presented him with a guitar side-bending machine from world-renowned craftsman Roger Sadowsky as well as a private mentoring session with him. The machine will allow him to fulfill his dream of crafting guitars. He plans to craft one as a lasting memory for his son. At the event, an elated White received yet another gift from the Dream Foundation, a guitar signed by his favorite musician, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits.
The evening shifted to a lighter note when Grammy Award–winning artist Estelle took to the stage and enthusiastic fans leaped to the dance floor. The crowd was spellbound by dance and musical performances by Quixotic. Andrew Firestone and his wife, Ivana Bozilovic, led a passionate and entertaining auction and paddle raise.
Then the doors opened for 200 more guests who came for the after-party hosted by Generation Dream, a young professionals group supporting the Dream Foundation. The party lasted well into the night.
Since its founding in 1994, the Dream Foundation has granted more than 25,000 Dream requests for adults with a life expectancy of 12 months or less. In 2015, the largest share of Dream requests were for vacations (37 percent), basic needs items (30 percent), and family reunions (19 percent). More than half the cost of airline travel is met by donations from airlines.
The Dream Foundation also operates the Flower Empower program in which volunteers prepare arrangements made from donated flowers and deliver them to hospitals, hospices, cancer centers, and personal residences in the Santa Barbara area. It has more than 3,000 volunteers in this program and more than 16,000 volunteers in all of its programs.
The Dream Foundation has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. For more information about the organization, go to dreamfoundation.org.
By Gail Arnold