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Santa Barbara, Calif.— Following a two-year hiatus enforced by the pandemic, Dream Foundation hosted its 11th Annual Flower Empower Luncheon on May 12th in the courtyard of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. The event raised vital funds for the program and honored the devoted donors, volunteers and flower professionals that make the program possible. Honorees included Volunteers of the Year – Jill Rode and Barbara Schoch, Youth Volunteer of the Year – National Charity League Class of 2023, Grower of the Year – Karen Graf and John & Vera Welty of Hilltop Farms Inc., and 2021 Program Sponsors – Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation, Colleen Barnett-Taylor & Michael Taylor, Kate & Arthur Coppola, Robin & Roger Himovitz, and Kenny & Elizabeth Slaught. 

KEYT’s former chief meteorologist and longtime program supporter, Alan Rose, and one of the program’s youngest volunteers and supporters, Brooks Firestone welcomed guests into the magnificent garden of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Both Rose and Firestone served as emcees. A silent auction which included Bliss, an original piece by artist Laina Miller, Santa Barbara Film Festival VIP tickets, and a plethora of other delights, a wine pull, bouquet making station, and an opportunity drawing that included an El Capitan Canyon getaway, a beautiful necklace by Waxing Poetic, and an exquisite Westerlay Orchid display kept the attendees engaged until Seasons Catering presented a whimsical Spring luncheon. Honorees were presented with a stunning engraved vase filled with flowers by Flower Empower Program Coordinator, Valerie Banks. 

Longtime foundation supporter Andrew Firestone led the paddle raise and live auction featuring a decadent Maui getaway courtesy of Four Seasons Maui Resort at Wailea and Dream Foundation’s Sustaining Partner, Alaska Airlines, a VIP Big Apple rendezvous courtesy of Janine Cifelli Representation, The Greenwich Hotel, Mario Muredda, Indochine, Peter Siegel, Blue Ribbon Restaurants, Lindsey Ornstein and Rockefeller Center, a road trip featuring a selection of fabulous hotel stays and VIP activities along the central coast of California courtesy of Ballard Inn, Bell’s Restaurant, The Landsby Hotel, The Stables Inn, Sensorio, J. Wilkes and Miller Family Wines, and an Ocean Inspired Custom Surfboard, designed and donated by Katherine Hedrick, a senior in the Multimedia Arts and Design Academy at Santa Barbara High School. Desire for the surfboard was so intense, that another surprise board was also auctioned. It was an incredible display of generosity. 

The luncheon continued with Flower Empower Volunteer Speaker, Kira Duffy. Now a senior at Dos Pueblos High School, Kira has been volunteering with her mother, Jennifer Gillon Duffy, since the fifth grade. Her touching words reflected on years since passed and how the program’s mission and meaning will stay with her always. A treasured member of the community and the Flower Empower program, Tara Haaland-Ford, was remembered by all.

The luncheon was made possible by its sponsors, underwriters, and event committee – Southwest Airlines, Magnolia Sponsors – Kenny & Elizabeth Slaught, Peony Sponsors – Kate & Arthur Coppola; Robin & Roger Himovitz; Wells Hughes, Arlington Financial Advisors; Shelley & Paul Schulte, Rudi Schulte Family Foundation, Rose Sponsors – Elizabeth & Andrew Butcher; Casa Dorinda; Roberta & Stan Fishman; Montecito Bank & Trust, Orchid Sponsors -Colleen Barnett-Taylor & Michael Taylor; Betty Dominguez; Michelle & Luke Ebbin; Jenny Hoffman; Amie Parrish; Elizabeth Patterson; Claude Raffin; Justine Roddick & Tina Schlieske; Melinda Rogers; Crosby Slaught; WELL WITH RYNELL, Daisy Sponsors – Christina Rottman Designs; Laura Collins; Renee & Stella Crawford; Jennifer Gillon Duffy, Rimon Law; Corinna Gordon; Hospice of Santa Barbara; Hutchinson & Bloodgood LLP; Kimi J. Mater, and Event Underwriters- Jen & Skip Abed; Colleen Barnett-Taylor & Michael Taylor; Debra Borden; Pieter Crawford-Van Meeuwen; Christine & Robert Emmons; Marisa & Brett Grimes, Event Committee – Jen Abed; Rebecca Borgioli; Rynell Casey; Renee Crawford; Shannon Di Padova; Jodi Fishman-Osti; Erin Griffin; Lynette Hall; Robin Himovitz; Margaret Lloyd; Amie Parrish; Melinda Rogers; Alan Rose; Crosby Slaught.

Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower program is a Santa Barbara-based, volunteer-driven program that delivers floral bouquets, fresh-baked cookies, fine chocolates, and hand-made cards to people in hospices, cancer centers, and their homes every week. Since its inception in 1994, the program has made more than 120,000 of these special deliveries. A recipient can be anyone in Santa Barbara that needs cheer.

To learn more about the program, please visit

About Dream Foundation:

Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults, fulfills final Dreams that provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life. With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to more than 33,000 final Dreams since being founded in 1994. Dream Foundation receives no state or federal funding—we rely solely on private donations. To support our mission, please visit


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