On May 22, Dream Foundation held a soiree to unveil Dream Plaza at the Hotel Californian. The hotel generously granted Dream Foundation an easement on its plaza, allowing the foundation to raise funds and awareness through the placement of a large plaque and through soliciting donations in exchange for naming the 1,140 stones in the plaza. Also, a lead donor gets to name the plaza itself. Dream Plaza is part of the larger plaza on the northeast corner of State and Mason Streets.
Nearly 100 guests mingled in the Dream Plaza and adjacent area while enjoying gourmet appetizers and drinks. During the program, CEO Kisa Heyer welcomed donors, board members, staff, and Hotel Californian leadership team members. She shared how Dream Foundation, which is the only adult dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, just reached the milestone of having served 30,000 dreams.
Matt Neal, whose late wife was a dream recipient, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the foundation for granting his wife’s dream for a final family vacation in Hawaii, which they otherwise could not have afforded and which meant so much to the entire family.
Board Chair Kenny Slaught explained how Dream Foundation approached Hotel Californian owner Michael Rosenfeld with the idea many years ago, before the hotel was even approved, and Rosenfeld heartily welcomed it. Slaught lauded Rosenfeld for his intellect and shrewdness, but shared that Rosenfeld’s “secret sauce” is his kindness and his compassion. Rosenfeld related how it wasn’t a hard sell and that he “is thrilled to partner with Dream Foundation, which brings so much light to this community and to families they serve. The Dream Plaza will represent a gathering place and lasting memory for donors and loved ones to share for years to come.”
The plaza is a 40 x 70 foot area with 1,140 stones available for engraving. Heyer suggested that donors purchase a stone to celebrate a birth, graduation, wedding, anniversary, or corporate milestone. A stone can be in the memory of a loved one, or can be used to raise awareness for a foundation or a business.
Margerum Wine Company was the wine sponsor for the event. This fall, Margerum will open a new tasting room in the Hotel Californian complex at the corner of Mason Street and Helena Avenue, where it will pour its Margerum Wines. The Barden Wines from Santa Rita Hills will continue to be poured at its El Paseo tasting room.
Dream Foundation, headquartered in Santa Barbara but operating nationally, annually fulfills about 2,500 final dreams for terminally-ill adults to provide comfort and closure. In the Santa Barbara area, it also operates the volunteer-driven Flower Empower program, which delivers fresh floral bouquets to residents facing illness, loss or recovery. Dream Foundation is supported by a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations and donors. For more info, go to dreamfoundation.org.
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By Gail Arnold