Dream Foundation’s 13th Annual Flower Empower Luncheon Celebrates the Profound Impact of a Bouquet » Dream Foundation


Dream Foundation’s 13th Annual Flower Empower Luncheon Celebrates the Profound Impact of a Bouquet

Press Release | June 3, 2024

The event raised over $160,000 to support the volunteer-based program that delivers hope and compassion.

Santa Barbara, Calif.— Dream Foundation’s 13th Annual Flower Empower Luncheon on May 28th at Rosewood Miramar Beach raised over $160,000 for the program. The event was made possible by and honored the devoted donors, volunteers, and flower professionals who bring cheer to the Santa Barbara community with fresh flower bouquets.

The chic five-star hotel was bustling as 200 guests gathered to enjoy lunch, each other’s company, raise vital funds, and honor Volunteer of the Year: David Sparer; Youth Volunteers of the Year: Chloe, Luca and Matteo Bottorff and Natasha and Alina Stapf; Grower of the Year: Alex Van Wingerden of Gallup & Stribling; and Program Sponsors: Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation, Robin & Roger Himovitz, and The Thornton Foundation.

Attendees had an opportunity to participate in a wine pull, bid in a silent auction that included tickets and a private tour of Bellosguardo, travel packages at El Encanto and Rosewood Miramar Beach, and many gift certificates and unique treasures from local businesses, and purchase tickets for an opportunity drawing for one of three prizes; an El Capitan Canyon retreat, signature floral jewelry designed by local artist Marilyn Harrison, and a beautiful orchid display thanks to program florists, Westerlay Orchids.

Special guests Pam and John Johnston shared their heartfelt and firsthand experiences with Flower Empower. When John was diagnosed with throat cancer Jill Rode added his name to the Flower Empower delivery list. Throughout John’s intense treatment and recovery, a bouquet of fresh flowers and homemade chocolate chip cookies were delivered to the Johnston’s home every week.

“The flowers we received each week were so powerful, I often cried,” said Pam. “Volunteers dedicate time out of their lives to create and deliver each bouquet. It is so generous and so kind. I was so thankful for this extra layer of support.”

“I didn’t realize it would have such a profound impact,” John said about receiving flowers each week. “I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

Andrew Firestone and his daughter, Anja, served as emcees and hosted the live auction. The auction featured a 7-night Croatian escape for ten, courtesy of Jim Alexander, Paul Trevino, and John and Theresa Nahajzer, an exclusive table for six at The Ranch Table Gathering plus a signed copy of The Ranch Table cookbook thanks to Elizabeth Poett, a tropical excursion in Maui at the Four Seasons Resort Wailea and first-class travel courtesy of Dream Foundation Sustaining Partner, Alaska Airlines, a two-night star at the Beverly Hills Hotel with a tour of the Virgina Robinson Garden and dinner at Gracias Madre, and a one-of-a-kind ‘Flower Empower’ surfboard designed by Jaden Ojeda of Self Indulgence Design.

The luncheon was made possible by event sponsors, in-kind event sponsors, and the event committee.

Magnolia Sponsors included Elizabeth and Kenny Slaught, Arlington Financial Advisors, Elizabeth and Tom Patterson, and Southwest Airlines. Peony Sponsors included Robin and Roger Himovitz, Amie Parrish of Morgan Stanley, and Colleen Barnett-Taylor and Michael Taylor. Rose Sponsors included Kate and Arthur Coppola and Elizabeth Farnan Rodrigues and Gerry Rodrigues. Daisy Sponsors included Liz and Andrew Butcher, Louise and Tim Casey, Casa Dorinda, Christine and Robert Emmons, Montecito Bank & Trust, David Nygren, PhD, Laura and Kevin O’Connor, Justine Roddick and Christina Schlieske, Isabelle and Emmanuel Stapf, and Melinda and Timothy Werner.

In-kind event sponsors included Amy Love, Blue Blossoms, Boho Chic Dreams, Ella and Louie Florals, Emma Rose Florals, Flower Empower Volunteer Design Team, Robin and Roger Himovitz, Margaret Joan Florals, Margerum Wine Company, My Bougie Bottle, Rosewood Miramar Hotel, Toast, Truflorals, and Ysidro.

The event committee comprised Michelle Avila, Rebecca Borgioli, Shannon DiPadova, Sheri Dirksen, Erin Griffin, Lynette Hall, Robin Himovitz, Margaret Lloyd, Amy Love, Guillermina Neal, Melinda Rogers, Crosby Slaught, and Serena Weddle.

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 125,000 of these special deliveries. A recipient can be anyone in Santa Barbara in need of cheer.

To learn more about the program, please visit http://www.dreamfoundation.org/flower-empower/.

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, healthcare organizations, and committed donors, the organization has served more than 35,000 final Dreams over the last thirty years. Dream Foundation has Charity Navigator’s four-star rating—its highest—for sound and transparent fiscal management, ensuring its donors and partners that their investment will be used wisely. Dream Foundation receives no state or federal funding, relying on individual and corporate donations. To support the mission please visit DreamFoundation.org/donate.

For additional information, please contact Dani Cordaro at dani@dreamfoundation.org

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