Eat For Good: The 805 Living Dishing It Out for Charity Challenge

Take part in a delicious opportunity to help support worthy causes

It’s been quite a year, and the fact that 2020 is drawing to a close seems like reason enough to celebrate by dining at local restaurants in support of some worthy causes.
This issue marks the fifth 805 Living Dishing It Out for Charity challenge, and a great selection of eateries in the region have agreed to participate once again this year.

Each participant has selected a favorite dish or created a special new one for the challenge, and for each and every one sold during the months of November and December, they have pledged to donate $2 to the charity of their choosing. Last year’s challenge raised more than $17,300 for 22 deserving nonprofits. Generous local restaurants have stepped up to the plate once again, even during this unprecedented time when restaurants themselves need support just like the charities they’re supporting.

This spirit of giving is so heartwarming, we hope that you too will be inspired to participate by dining at these community-minded venues.

This year, Acme Hospitality’s (acmehospitality.com) Funk Zone restaurants, Helena Avenue Bakery, The Lark, Loquita, and Lucky Penny have all chosen to support Know Your Rights Camp (knowyourrightscamp.com). “Acme Hospitality’s company ethos is greatly aligned with Know Your Rights Camp,” says spokesman Willie Simpson, adding “the equality and well-being of all employees is what builds a strong business and community. We know there is still much more work to be done in the fight for civil rights and equality for all Americans. We acknowledge our responsibility to be part of the solution. Know Your Rights Camp elevates a new generation of Black and Brown change leaders through education, self-empowerment and mobilization.” Details about the individual restaurants’ involvement follow.

Helena Avenue Bakery
SANTA BARBARA
helenaavenuebakery.com
Chef Isaac Hernandez’s Carpinteria Avocado on Sourdough Toast layers fresh local avocado, Persian cucumber, sunflower seeds, French feta, and sprouts on a toasted slice of Helena Avenue Bakery’s fresh sourdough bread; diners can further elevate the dish with a poached egg. Bakery manager Wyatt Davidson hopes the popular take on avocado toast will be a great selection to boost their donation.

The Lark
SANTA BARBARA
thelarksb.com
Executive chef Jason Paluska’s Hand-Cut Tagliatelle Pasta, made with grilled sweet corn, sungold cherry tomatoes, garlic, serrano chile, shaved bottarga, preserved lemon, and Old Bay–seasoned breadcrumbs, is a hearty fall favorite at The Lark. The popularity of this locally sourced, handmade pasta plate makes it a promising candidate for the charity challenge.

Loquita
SANTA BARBARA
loquitasb.com
For this year’s challenge, Loquita picked executive chef Nikolas Ramirez’s signature Mariscos Paella, featuring locally sourced fish, scallops, octopus, sobrasada (cured
pork sausage), manila clams, squid ink sofrito (a Spanish sauce made from onion, green pepper, and garlic), yuzu, and salmon roe. It was manager Stephanie Perkins who
brought Know Your Rights Camp to Acme’s attention. “I believe it is crucial for the younger generation to know their rights, to truly understand who they are, and to learn they have
the power to change future generations for the better,” she says.

Lucky Penny
SANTA BARBARA
luckypennysb.com
Chef Dante Bogan chose the Margherita Pizza for this year’s challenge, knowing its popularity among patrons getting takeout and eating on Lucky Penny’s new extended patio. A classic that appeals to many diners, including vegetarians, the wood-fired pizza is topped with San Marzano marinara, burrata, cherry tomatoes, and opal basil.

Bell’s
LOS ALAMOS
bellsrestaurant.com
At Bell’s, where the menu is “Franch-inspired” (borrowing from both French and ranch-style cuisines), chef Daisy Ryan’s Egg Salad Sandwich is an iconic selection. “We feel something as simple and satisfying as an egg salad sandwich really speaks to our collaboration with No Kid Hungry (nokidhungry.org), whose mission is to end hunger and poverty,” says Ryan, co-owner of the restaurant with her husband, Gregory Ryan.

Belmond El Encanto
SANTA BARBARA
belmond.com
“While our doors were closed to the public due to the global pandemic, we partnered
with Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade (sbbucketbrigade.org) to make and provide masks for those in need, and we were able to provide hundreds of handmade masks,” says Belmond Encanto spokeswoman Julia Solomon. “We look forward to supporting them in their future endeavors.” To that end, the restaurant chose sous chef Carlos Ramirez’s Seared Wild King Salmon, caught fresh and prepared with herbs, spices, summer squash, shallot confit, and tomato jus, as its featured menu item to benefit the community crisis–response organization.


Bibi Ji
SANTA BARBARA
bibijisb.com
“As a Latino business owner, I’m thrilled to be able to contribute to La Casa de la Raza
(lacasadelaraza.org), an organization that helps educate Latino youth about their culture and build community,” says Bibi Ji co-owner Alejandro Medina. “I am hopeful that one day any of these kids may own a local business themselves and be able to do the same.” The restaurant’s designated dish is Chicken Tikka, which Medina’s business partner Rajat Parr grew up eating at his home in Kolkata, India.

Cello Ristorante & Bar
PASO ROBLES
allegrettoresort.com
Chef de cuisine Ben Drahos opted for Cello’s Certified Black Angus Filet. The oak pit–grilled steak is served in a red wine demi-glace with horseradish mascarpone and seasonal vegetables. The dish will benefit the nonprofit Bailliage de Central Coast Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs (centralcoast.chaineus.org). Currently overseen by Allegretto Vineyard Resort food and beverage manager Thomas Humphrey, the organization supports the development of young chefs and recently raised money for the culinary program at San Luis Obispo’s Cuesta College.

Chulo’s Cafe & Cantina
TEMPLETON
chuloscafecantina.com
“The Huevos Rancheros is our signature dish,” says Chulo’s executive chef Luis Ruiz. It “speaks to our Mexican heritage, and we love sharing our delicious culture with our patrons.” The menu item will support the anti-racism organization R.A.C.E. Matters SLO (racemattersslo.org). “We are so grateful to have a local charity on the ground here in SLO doing the work and fighting the fight for equality and justice for people of all colors, religions, histories, and sexual orientations,” he says. “We love to support them in any way we can.”

Finney’s Crafthouse
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, VENTURA,
SANTA BARBARA, SAN LUIS OBISPO
finneyscrafthouse.com
“My family has supported this amazing charity Support for the Kids (supportforthekids.org) for many years,” says Finney’s owner Greg Finefrock. Dedicated to providing educational enrichment and comprehensive services to underprivileged and foster children and their families in Ventura County, the organization provides essentials like food, clothing, and school supplies. For this year’s challenge, Finefrock has selected a new menu item: executive chef Eric Bosrau’s Bison Burger, made with bison sourced from Flocchini Family Ranch in Wyoming.

Goat Tree at Hotel Californian
SANTA BARBARA
goattreecafe.com
“In the wake of the current pandemic, it has become more important than ever to feature whole-animal butchery,” says Goat Tree executive chef Travis Watson. “The Braised Oxtail Tagliatelle features an often-overlooked cut of beef in a dish that nurtures the soul as we welcome the cooler seasons.” The pasta entrée is earmarked to support the Dream Foundation (dreamfoundation.org), which helps realize the dreams of terminally ill adults
and provides emotional support to them and their families.

Lido Restaurant & Lounge
PISMO BEACH
thedolphinbay.com
Lido’s picked Crab Cakes, a favorite starter among locals. “Being nestled along the Central Coast and having the privilege to sit and watch the sunset while dining on these tasty morsels is the perfect recipe for a truly breathtaking experience,” says spokeswoman Christina Stieb. “That wouldn’t be possible without our beautiful Pacific Ocean. That’s why we chose the Ocean Conservancy (oceanconservancy.org) as our charity, to protect and conserve the very thing that gives us the main ingredients of the dish and many others.”

Little Calf Creamery
THOUSAND OAKS/WESTLAKE VILLAGE
littlecalfcreamery.com
“We are creating unique spins on a frozen dessert classic just in time for the holidays,” says Little Calf Creamery owner Scott Levin, whose two new treats will support Special Olympics Ventura (sosc.org/ventura), an organization that enriches the lives of nearly 600 athletes who have intellectual disabilities. For the November Mud Pie, a graham cracker crust is filled with Pumpkin Cheesecake ice cream topped with an oatmeal crumble. For the December Mud Pie, an Oreo cookie crust is loaded with peppermint-stick ice cream
sprinkled with crushed peppermint candy.


Los Agaves Restaurant
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, OXNARD, GOLETA, SANTA BARBARA
los-agaves.com
Los Agaves Restaurant’s Land & Sea Molcajete, a hearty stew with steak, chicken, fish, shrimp, pork, and grilled nopal, is the ultimate Mexican comfort food and a cult favorite, especially during the cold season. “We serve you so we can be of service to others,” says owner Carlos Luna. “For every dish sold, Los Agaves will donate $2 to the Santa Barbara Zoo (sbzoo.org) to support and sustain a beloved community treasure that educates so many children, families, and visitors in the region.”

Milk & Honey Tapas
SANTA BARBARA
milknhoneytapas.com
“Burrata is always in season at Milk & Honey, so this is our nod to the cheese we love so much and the earthy flavors of fall,” says chef-owner Alvaro Rojas of the Falling For Burrata plate he designated to support the Organic Soup Kitchen (organicsoupkitchen.org), which produces and delivers soup meals to the elderly and
low-income cancer patients. “ ‘Take your food as your medicine or your medicine will
be your food,’ is a quote that resonates with me, given that my father, grandmother,
and uncle all died of cancer,” says Rojas, who admires the nonprofit’s nutritional
approach to treatment.

Oku Restaurant
SANTA BARBARA
okusantabarbara.com
Oku executive chef Koji Nomura happily created a new dish for this year’s 805 Living
challenge to support the work of CADA (Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; cadasb.org), which provides addiction prevention, education, and treatment services to teens and adults in Santa Barbara County. The 805CADA Roll is as delicious as it is beautiful, says co-owner Tina Takaya. Featuring fresh wild-caught salmon, crispy shrimp tempura, avocado, and cucumber, and a sauce made from fresh shiso leaf, miso, and yuzo, the roll is finished with flying fish roe and served with a side of sriracha aioli. “We enjoyed creating a special sushi roll for an amazing cause,” Takaya says.

Olio Pizzeria
SANTA BARBARA
oliopizzeria.com
“Our Umbra pizza is a signature favorite,” says Alberto Morello, executive chef and co- owner of Olio Pizzeria. “You may need to order an entire pizza just for yourself, it’s so addictive.” Morello selected the dish, which showcases Umbrian black truffles, to support
Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (teddybearcancerfoundation.org), an organization that provides financial, educational, and emotional support to Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San
Luis Obispo county families with a child who has cancer.

Opal Restaurant & Bar
SANTA BARBARA
opalrestaurantandbar.com
Since they opened Opal Restaurant & Bar 20 years ago, owners Tina Takaya and Richard Yates have been deeply committed to supporting the Arthritis Foundation (arthritis.org) by
participating in and often chairing its Taste of the Town fundraiser, Santa Barbara’s oldest wine and food event. That event could not be held this year, but Takaya and Yates offer their continuing support to the organization that provides assistance to people living with the disabling disorder by taking part in the 805 Living challenge with a riff on a local Opal favorite, the Chicken & Wild Mushroom Chipotle Pasta Charity Special.


Pico Restaurant
LOS ALAMOS
losalamosgeneralstore.com
Earmarking Pico’s donation to the Save the Waves Coalition (savethewaves.org), a nonprofit founded by the restaurant’s co-owner Will Henry to protect surf ecosystems across the globe, executive chef John Wayne Formica designates his Crispy Viet Brussels, made with garden herbs, carrot, red onion, chilis, fried shallot, and coconut-chili-lime agrodolce (sweet-and-sour sauce). The starter manifests the chef’s desire to share his experiences while traveling.

Santo Mezcal
SANTA BARBARA
santomezcalsb.com
Santo Mezcal executive chef Ricardo Garcia picked Enchiladas Verde—two chicken or beef enchiladas topped with special house-made verde sauce and served with rice and pinto beans—to support the Santa Barbara Zoo (sbzoo.org). A cause that’s close to
owner Carlos Luna’s heart, the zoo relies on donations to provide the best possible care for its resident animals and to impart conservation education.

Vina Robles Vineyard & Winery
PASO ROBLES
vinarobles.com/visit/bistro
“Our communities rely now more than ever on the support of food banks for access to wholesome nutrition,” says spokeswoman Catherine Jaeger. “Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery supports the SLO Food Bank (slofoodbank.org) to raise awareness as it works to meet the increased demand in our communities.” Served at the winery’s alfresco bistro, the Vina Robles Burger—made with grass-fed beef and topped with roasted portabella
mushrooms, garlic aioli, arugula, and red onions sautéed in a rosemary-infused reduction of Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon and balsamic vinaigrette—is the dish designated for the challenge.

Water’s Edge Restaurant & Bar
VENTURA
watersedgeventura.com
“It’s an ode to our local strawberries,” says Water’s Edge executive chef Alex Montoya of his Straw-Brie Crostini, which he says has “bright and light flavors, each with a different texture for you to enjoy in every bite.” The starter will support Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties (tri-counties.wish.org), because he says, “being able to make a child’s wish come true or to even be a part of that process has always been a dream of mine.”

Wood Ranch
AGOURA HILLS, MOORPARK, CAMARILLO, VENTURA
woodranch.com
The rich, decadent WR Butter Cake is a proven favorite at Wood Ranch. Served with vanilla bean ice cream, fresh raspberries, and raspberry sauce, “it’s popular beyond all our expectations,” says director of culinary development Alejandro Benes. The dessert will benefit Happy Trails Children’s Foundation (happytrails.org), a nonprofit whose mission is to promote the prevention and treatment of child abuse and provide fun activities and support for foster children.

To see more 805 Living Dishing It Out For Charity challenge chefs and dishes, visit 805living.com.

Cover of 805 Living Magazine, November 2020. This story originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, November 2020. Click here to see the section as it originally appeared in print.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

The beautiful Nesbitt Estate in Summerland was transformed into a fabulous fashion event when Dream Foundation—the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults—hosted its fourth annual Endless Summer Dream to raise vital funds for the organization.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

The fun kicked off with a poolside fashion show featuring headlining brand, Wildfox Couture, A Tropical Affair, Bubululu Malibu Bikinis, Jenni Kayne, K. Frank, Lolë, Make Smith, Saltura, Seavees, So De Mel Swimwear and local designer Danielle Rocha of Rocha Swim. Money raised will help bring final Dreams to life for terminally-ill adults and their families across the nation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Top model Alexander Amato was instrumental in rallying 27 of the globe’s hottest talent to model the latest looks down the catwalk to beats from DJ Gavin Roy Presents, accompanied by stunning aerial displays from Santa Barbara Airedanse Collective. Dancer and choreographer Josh Killacky made a surprise appearance, drawing whoops from the crowd. Following a live auction, singer/songwriter Cody Lovaas sang two songs. Along with the show, guests enjoyed food and drink, and visited pop-up shops where they bought clothing and accessories featured on the catwalk.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

“It is an absolute honor to have worked on Endless Summer Dream,” says Arlene Montesano, event Co-Chair (along with Ursula Nesbitt). “It was a compilation of boundless energy and love from the committee to the sponsors to the general public! We are all thrilled to have helped make so many Dreams come true for our terminally-ill recipients. We love Dream Foundation.”

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

After the fashion show was an exclusive After-Party held at the Nesbitt Nightclub, featuring a sneak-peek runway preview of Wildfox Spring 19 Collection “Riot Girl,” fire dancers, Julia Bowerback and Chelsea Pacheco, and an inspiring performance by Los Angeles- based singer/songwriter, Taliwhoah and her band.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

To support Dream Foundation, or learn more, please visit DreamFoundation.org.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 3, 2018.

Dream Foundation Summer Dream Fashion Show

Aqualillies entertain at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Aqualillies entertain at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Dream Foundation—the Santa Barbara-based nonprofit is the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults—recently hosted its third annual Summer Dream fundraiser to benefit Dreamers ages 18 to 40. The stylish event included a fashion show, with designs from A Tropical Affair, Calypso St. Barth, K. Frank, Lolë, Miller’s Oath, UGG and local designers Catherine Gee and Danielle Rocha of Rocha Swim.

A model at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

A model at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

“Summer Dream is the perfect opportunity to introduce and educate our local community about Dream Foundation’s mission, what the future holds, and about the diverse Dreamers and Dreams that the organization serves,” says Dream Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Kisa Heyer. “Many are surprised to learn how many Dreamers are under the age of 40 and how seemingly simple yet incredibly prolific their Dreams can be.”

A model at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

A model at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

In addition to the fashion show, the fundraiser included performances by local singer/songwriter, Gabe Reali, DJ Qu1z0, and synchronized swimmers, Aqualillies.

Gabe Reali performs at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Gabe Reali performs at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Also on the menu was decadent food and drink from Heat Culinary, Patròn Tequila, Sun Potion, Summerland Winery, Topa Topa, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery and Green Star Coffee.

Held at the home of Ursula & Pat Nesbitt, additional guests included Daryl & John Stegall, Eva Guerrand-Hermès, Mireille Noone, Jelinda DeVorzon, Michelle Ebbin, Belle & Daniel Cohen, Jim Nigro, Belle Cohen, Summer Dream emcee and KEYT Channel 3’s Meteorologist, Alan Rose, second and third annual Summer Dream Committee Chair Arlene Montesano, and Dream Foundation board members Justine Roddick, Luke Ebbin and Board Chair Kenny Slaught, among others.

Arlene Montesano (Summer Dream Event Chair), Tom Parker, Karla Blackwell and Soogie and Don Kang (Golden Sponsors) at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Arlene Montesano (Summer Dream Event Chair), Tom Parker, Karla Blackwell and Soogie and Don Kang (Golden Sponsors) at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

“Dream Foundation believes that everyone deserves to have their final days filled with inspiration, comfort and closure. Receiving no state or federal funding, the organization and its Dreamers rely solely on private donations. One hundred percent of the proceeds of Summer Dream will be allocated to fulfill the Dreams of terminally-ill young adults, 18-40 years old,” say the organizers.

Luke Ebbin (Dream Foundation Board Vice Chair), Michelle Ebbin, & Justine Roddick (Dream Foundation Board Member), photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Luke Ebbin (Dream Foundation Board Vice Chair), Michelle Ebbin, & Justine Roddick (Dream Foundation Board Member), photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Over the past two decades, Dream Foundation has served more than 25,000 Dreams to terminally-ill adults, and they have never turned down a qualified Dream applicant.For more information about Dream Foundation, visit DreamFoundation.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 26, 2107.

Dream Foundation’s 7th Annual Flower Empower Luncheon

Guests at Dream Foundation's Flower Empower Luncheon, photo by Kiel Rucker Photography.

Guests at Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower Luncheon, photo by Kiel Rucker Photography.

Dream Foundation‘s Annual Flower Empower Luncheon is always a beautiful and heartwarming affair, and this year’s 7th annual event, held at the gorgeous Klentner Ranch near the polo fields in Carpinteria, was a particularly lovely gathering.

More than 200 local community members came together for this annual event, which not only raises funds but also acknowledges the volunteers, sponsors, and growers who make Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower program a success.

The heart of the program is a simple but meaningful gesture, the gift of flowers to brighten the day of those that are in need.

Valerie Banks (Flower Empower Coordinator) and Sheri Parker (Volunteer of the Year), photo by Kiel Rucker Photography.

Valerie Banks (Flower Empower Coordinator) and Sheri Parker (Volunteer of the Year), photo by Kiel Rucker Photography.

Flower Empower is a completely volunteer-driven program that delivers hope and compassion—in the form of beautiful bouquets—to anyone who needs them. Several days each week, groups of volunteers prepare dozens of arrangements using donated flowers and make deliveries to hospitals, hospices, cancer centers and personal residences. In addition to abundant bouquets, flower recipients enjoy fresh-baked cookies (we even got samples made by volunteer Robin Himovitz, “the cookie lady”), fine chocolates from Chocolats du CaliBressan (whose lovely owner was at our table) and handmade cards from school-age artists.

“Flower Empower is an invaluable program to our community,” says Dream Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Kisa Heyer. “It reminds us that even the smallest gestures can make a lasting impression. We would love to see the program grow beyond Santa Barbara and bring happiness to others.”

Amanda & Justin Klentner (Klentner Ranch), Lynette Hall (Flower Empower Committee), Kisa Heyer (Dream Foundation CEO), photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Amanda & Justin Klentner (Klentner Ranch), Lynette Hall (Flower Empower Committee), Kisa Heyer (Dream Foundation CEO), photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Flower Empower receives no federal or state funding and relies solely on corporate and individual contributions and grants, so this luncheon was an important contributor to the cause.

KEYT Channel 3’s Alan Rose—a longtime Flower Empower program supporter and volunteer—served as MC, alongside his KEYT colleague and fellow Flower Empower volunteer Alys Martinez. Andrew Firestone led a short but entertaining and profitable live auction that included a private wine experience at Jaffurs Wine Cellars as well as a tropical getaway at the Sheraton Waikiki Resort and a visit to the set of CBS’ TV show, Hawaii Five-0.

Dream Foundation’s CEO Kisa Heyer and Flower Empower program coordinator, Valerie Banks honored and awarded the 2017 Flower Empower program sponsors: Laurel Barrack, Diane & Tim Brown, Kate & Arthur Coppola, Hollye & Jeff Jacobs, Nissrin Mahmoud & Bob Fuladi and Shelley & Paul Schulte, whose donations will help fund the program this year. Also acknowledged were Ed Van Wingerden, Grower of the Year and Steven Shulem and Sheri Parker, Volunteers of the Year. Honored in memoriam were William Pattis, Angie Redding and Michael Towbes who were staunch supporters of the Flower Empower program.

Dream Foundation volunteers lead the 50 Yard fundraising dash, photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Dream Foundation volunteers lead the 50 Yard fundraising dash, photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Dream Foundation is the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults.  With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to more than 27,000 final Dreams over the past two decades and has never turned down a qualified applicant. For more information, visit www.dreamfoundation.org.

To volunteer for the Flower Empower Program or to refer a flower recipient, contact flowerempower@dreamfoundation.org.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 24, 2017.

Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower Luncheon Blooms With Goodwill

Enjoying the Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon (L-R): Bryce Corcoran; Stefani Canin-Mullen, Dream Foundation Events & Special Projects Director; Karen Kerns; Colleen Barnett-Taylor, Rose Sponsor; Jennifer Darling; Alisa Hall; Renee Grubb and Natalie Campbell. Photo: Kiel Rucker Photography.

Enjoying the Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon (L-R): Bryce Corcoran; Stefani Canin-Mullen, Dream Foundation Events & Special Projects Director; Karen Kerns; Colleen Barnett-Taylor, Rose Sponsor; Jennifer Darling; Alisa Hall; Renee Grubb and Natalie Campbell. Photo: Kiel Rucker Photography.

Celebrating a beautiful cause in a beautiful place has become a yearly tradition for Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower Luncheon, and the 6th annual gathering at the Historic Bates Ranch House overlooking Rincon Point was certainly something special. More than 200 local community members gathered on May 19 to support the volunteers who assemble and deliver more than 150 fresh bouquets each week throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

The fête raises funds and acknowledges the volunteers, sponsors and growers who make Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower program possible and is always a joy to attend. Not only do guests make their own bouquets—which are delivered to hospitals, hospices, cancer centers, and personal residences later that week—this year we were also treated to tours of the of the historic Bates Ranch, which was originally part of a 1,200-acre Spanish land grant that included half of Rincon Point. Built in 1928, the charming, panoramic view ranch house is now available for vacation and event rentals.

Snippets of the historic Bates Ranch House and views, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Snippets of the historic Bates Ranch House and views, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

The luncheon, emceed by long-time Dream Foundation supporter, Ivana Firestone (whose adorable daughter Anja was seated near me on the bus that took us from the beach parking to the ranch) and KEYT Channel 3’s Alan Rose, featured an exquisite ocean view, silent auction, a raffle that included a 7-day Holland America Line Caribbean cruise, excellent cuisine from Rincon Catering, and a lively fundraising activity that garnered $15,000 worth of generous donations in just five minutes.

Dream Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Kisa Heyer honored and awarded the 2016 Flower Empower program sponsors: Diane & Tim Brown, Lisa & George Hagerman, Nissrin Mahmoud & Bob Fuladi and Alison Wrigley Rusack & Geoffrey Rusack, whose donations will fund the program throughout the year. Also honored were Yoze Van Wingerden, Grower of the Year; Jan & Jay Anderson, Volunteers of the Year; and Delaney Werner, Youth Volunteer of the Year.

Dream Foundation's Valerie Banks gives flowers to Yoze Van Wingerden, 2016 Grower of the Year. Photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Dream Foundation’s Valerie Banks gives flowers to Yoze Van Wingerden, 2016 Grower of the Year. Photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

“Flower Empower enriches our entire community,” Heyer says. “A gorgeous bouquet of fresh flowers, artisanal chocolates, homemade cookies and a thoughtful card can make an enormous difference to our neighbors in need. This simple gesture makes an incredible impact not only on those we serve but also to those who help make this program possible. There is nothing more amazing than a community coming together to help one another.”

Flower Empower is a volunteer-driven program that delivers hope and compassion—in the form of beautiful bouquets—to those in need. Groups of volunteers prepare dozens of arrangements using donated flowers and make deliveries to hospitals, hospices, cancer centers, and personal residences. In addition to abundant bouquets, flower recipients enjoy fresh-baked cookies, fine chocolates, and cards hand made by local school children. For more information or to refer a flower recipient, contact flowerempower@dreamfoundation.org.

Guests prepare bouquets at the Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Guests prepare bouquets at the Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Dream Foundation is the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults. The organization fulfills final dreams that provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life.  For more information, please visit DreamFoundation.org.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on May 24, 2016.

Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower Luncheon

Kenny Slaught (Dream Foundation, Board Chairman & Peony Sponsor), Elizabeth Slaught (Peony Sponsor), Lynette Hall (Flower Empower Event Committee), Kisa Heyer (Dream Foundation, Executive Director) and Tristan Layton (Dream Foundation, Director of Corporate Sponsorships & Marketing). Photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

Kenny Slaught (Dream Foundation, Board Chairman & Peony Sponsor), Elizabeth Slaught (Peony Sponsor), Lynette Hall (Flower Empower Event Committee), Kisa Heyer (Dream Foundation, Executive Director) and Tristan Layton (Dream Foundation, Director of Corporate Sponsorships & Marketing). Photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

The Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower program, like all of its programs, delivers kindness and compassion to those in need—but this particular act of kindness comes in the form of fresh bouquets, made and delivered with love to show people that the community cares about them, and that they’re not alone.

This simple yet power message was on full display at last week’s luncheon, held at Kevin and Christine Costner’s oceanfront meadow in Summerland and attended by approximately 225 supporters, including lucky me!

Waxing Poetic designed and donated these special one-of-a-kind charms for Flower Empower supporters. Photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

Waxing Poetic designed and donated these special one-of-a-kind charms for Flower Empower supporters. Photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

This unique spot, with a killer view, celebrated the dedicated band of volunteers (roughly 15 per week) who assemble and deliver 150 fresh bouquets a week to hospices, cancer centers, nursing homes and residences throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Flower Empower volunteers have made tens of thousands of flower deliveries in from Goleta to Ventura since the program began in June 1994.

To refer a flower recipient, contact Dream Foundation with your name and phone number, the name and address of the person you’re referring, and why you believe they need flowers. Perhaps he or she has lost a loved one, is recovering from surgery, has received a devastating diagnosis, is having a first or last chemo treatment, is in the hospital or a rehabilitation facility. These people will receive flowers every other week.

Farm-to-Table lunch set up, photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

Farm-to-Table lunch set up, photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

The program is made possible by the generosity of our community growers and retailers. It currently receives donated flowers from eight Carpinteria flower growers and distributors and is being sponsored by local residents Tim & Diane Brown and George & Lisa Hagerman.

Event hosts and Flower Empower volunteers Shirin Rajaee and Alan Rose of KEYT served as emcees. Nora McNeely-Hurley was the Flower Empower Luncheon Honorary Chair, and several supporters were honored at the event, including Special Volunteers of the Year, Roger & Robin Himovitz; Volunteers of the Year, William & Lauren Bonds; Youth Volunteer of the Year, Casey Slaught; and In-kind Donors of the Year, Jean-Michel & Jill Marie Carre, owners of Chocolats du Cali Bressan.

For more information about the Dream Foundation, click here.

Diane & Tim Brown (2015 Flower Empower Program Sponsors) with Valerie Banks (Flower Empower Coordinator). Photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

Diane & Tim Brown (2015 Flower Empower Program Sponsors) with Valerie Banks (Flower Empower Coordinator). Photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on May 21, 2015.

 

National Charity League of Santa Barbara, Senior Presents Class of 2014

For more than 50 years, National Charity League of Santa Barbara (NCL) has brought mothers and daughters together working on philanthropic projects. This year’s NCL Senior Presents takes place on April 6 at 5:30 p.m. at The Fess Parker Resort.

The graduating seniors of 2014, along with their mothers, gave an impressive 5,856 volunteer hours over their six years in National Charity League to local nonprofits in Santa Barbara.  Nonprofits included Dream Foundation, Safety Town, Special Olympics, CADA, Storyteller Children’s Center, Children’s Creative Project, Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Ridley Tree Education Center and more.

National Charity League Senior Class of 2014 (courtesy photo)

National Charity League Senior Class of 2014 (courtesy photo)

The graduating senior girls, known as “Ticktockers”  pictured include: (Top row from left to right) Sara Ashlin Doyle, Grace Copeland, Emma Eccles, Grace Jordan Woolf, Britten Barbara Ann Vilander, Clara Mae Madsen, Julia Rene’e McClintock; (Middle row from left to right) Madeleine Wall, Milana Rose Skiff, Sammi Schurmer, Rachel Rene Fay, Susan Madeline Marquis, Nicole Kristine-Marie Larson, Brenna Claire Geiger; (Bottom row from left to right) Hannah Rose Brisby, Olivia Jane Pickett, Olivia Belle Caesar, Kayla Zola, Caterina Jacquelyn Lafitte and Madeline Grace Frohling.

Says Ticktocker, Milana Skiff,  who has volunteered an inspiring 921 hours, “the Oncology Department at Cottage Hospital is my favorite place to volunteer.  I love it and everyone there is so kind.  It’s a good experience for me and because of it I will pursue a career as an oncologist in college.  My mom and I have also volunteered in the pasta booth at the I Madonnari every year for the past six years and we really enjoy it.  It gives us the chance to participate in community service together.”

Ticktocker Kayla Zola and Patroness Belinda Zola enjoyed volunteering together making flower arrangements for the Dream Foundation.  Belinda shares, “it feels more like we are sharing a hobby than anything else.  Kayla is very creative, and I have learned so much from her about just letting go and having fun!  Not only are we able to bring some joy to terminally ill people, but we can also share the joy of our efforts with other volunteers, with each other and ourselves!  This is just one example of how NCL has helped teach our three daughters how to get involved and give back to their community while strengthening mother, daughter and sibling relationships”

The NCL Senior Presentation Event is an opportunity for the girls not only be recognized for their service, but it is also the chance for them to share how these experiences have shaped their lives.  “It has been an privilege to work with the Class of 2014 NCL Ticktockers to help them achieve these outstanding goals,” say Luann Caesar and Ann Marquis,  co-chairs for the event.  “It has been an honor to work alongside our daughters for the past six years, to see them grow and mature while giving back through volunteer work to the the Santa Barbara community.”

Founded in 1962, the Santa Barbara chapter of NCL currently supports the works of 19 local philanthropies, often providing a valuable volunteer workforce for local organizations such as Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Direct Relief International, Santa Barbara Public Library,Unity Shoppe, Cottage Hospital, McKinley School and many more.  The local chapter is an “hours only” chapter, meaning that members donate their time only, and do not raise funds to assist the charities.   Each mother and daughter member is required to fulfill a minimum of both league and philanthropy hours, or community service.  Each Ticktocker is part of an age-level class that conducts a monthly meeting, has guest speakers on various age-appropriate topics, and often does an off-site philanthropy project as a part of their meeting.   For more information click here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on March 20, 2014.

Best Dressed Monk Brings a Fresh New Style to Coast Village Road

Owners Kira and Allen Gold, courtesy Best Dressed Monk

Owners Kira and Allen Gold, courtesy Best Dressed Monk

Fashion-forward men have a new place to shop in Montecito with the opening of Best Dressed Monk last week (1275 Coast Village Rd., 805/324-4600, bestdressedmonk.com).

Santa Barbarans turned out in full force to welcome this dapper new addition to the chic Coast Village strip. Founded by owners Allen and Kira Gold, Best Dressed Monk is a premium men’s clothing line featuring organic fabrics, tailored tunic shirts not meant to be tucked in, luxurious textured scarves, and polished safari-style jackets. 

Allen conceived of the collection following a seven-month retreat at a Buddhist hermitage in the company of 15 monks and nuns. Upon returning stateside, he noticed that men like him, who don’t wear suits but still want to appear elegantly casual in their dress, were “majorly lacking” in options. After ten years of development with his partner Kira, a former costume designer, Gold launched Best Dressed Monk, which uses earth-friendly textiles and manufacturing processes, wherever possible. All manufacturing takes place  in Los Angeles.  The 850 sq. ft. retail space was designed by architect John Mike Cohen.

In a generous nod to the spirit of the season, the Golds donated 20% of the opening-night sales proceeds to the Dream Foundation.

Plans are underway for the line to launch an e-commerce site in January and add additional stores in other markets later in 2014.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Actor/local resident Billy Baldwin, courtesy Best Dressed Monk

Actor/local resident Billy Baldwin, courtesy Best Dressed Monk

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on December 10, 2103.

A Day to Dream

To help celebrate a decade of making dreams come true for terminally ill adults, the Dream Foundation invites the community to spend a whimsical day in Dreamland.

On July 24, the Santa Barbara Zoo will be transformed a fanciful getaway where families can spend quality time together while helping to support the foundation, a national nonprofit that is based in Santa Barbara.

Founder Thom Rollerson’s goal with this event was to do something kid-friendly, that’s very accessible for families and really directly reflects the mission of the Dream Foundation: to enhance the quality of life for individuals and families battling terminal illnesses. He had always wanted to do something that got those people together again with the people in Santa Barbara who made the Dream Foundation a reality, explained Rod Lathim, who is the event coordinator, artistic director and producer of A Day to Dream.

“When you enter Dreamland it’s kind of like going into Disneyland or some place where you can leave your daily worries outside the gate and come in. And when you’re in there you get to do fun things with your friends and your family and your kids,” said Lathim.

The first thing guests will see is a magical tree of dreams, where they can pick “fruit” containing inspirational quotes and action items. “I call them little mini random acts of kindness that you are encouraged to go do and set out and accomplish while you’re in Dreamland,” said Lathim.

They will also be encouraged to answer the question “What are your dreams and wishes for the community?” Selected answers will read on stage by the Youth Host Committee — William Bermant, Justin Bogart, Carly Burnell, Kelsey Cage, Samia Finnerty, Jennifer Gray, Ryan Halsey, Mackenzie McGonegel, Bridget Mitchell, Nathalie Mitchell, Avery Schwartz, Sara Weiner, Claudio Zungri and Jackie Zupsic — as well as sent to Santa Mayor Marty Blum and the City Council for review and hopefully, inspiration.

The youth hosts (ages 8 to 15) have helped shape the event and will act as Ambassadors to the dream recipient families and guests.

The new NBC series “Three Wishes,” hosted by Amy Grant, will also be there, filming a Dream Foundation recipient, a man with brain cancer from South Dakota who has always wanted to take his family to see the Pacific Ocean.

Other celebrity guests include host Brad Garrett, and Bruce Jenner, Elizabeth Peña, and Harry Shearer, among others.

In addition to “a feast of delectable food and sweets,” and a nonstop lineup of theatre and music from Porch Dogs, Dancing Drums and Boxtales Theatre Company, guests will also be able to visit “Swamette,” a seer and interpreter of dreams; the Flower Empower Emporium, which echoes the Dream Foundation’s volunteer program delivering donated flower bouquets to people battling catastrophic illnesses; a Haberdashery where guests can create fanciful hats; and the Dream Journey Pavilion, featuring massages and face painting; as well as learn hip hop moves with MTV choreographer and dancer Cris Judd.

“The cool thing is that once you’re in, the ticket price ($29.50/$15.50) includes everything,” said Lathim.

The sets, inspired in part by Dr. Seuss, also sound very cool.

“I wanted to do something where you walk in and you’re enchanted and enticed and there’s something fun for adults as well as kids,” said Lathim crediting his “great committee (co-chaired by Clay Dickens and Sara Lytle) for really rolling up their sleeves and getting paint under their fingernails.”

The results should be truly dreamy indeed.

Tickets for A Day to Dream, which takes place at the Santa Barbara Zoo on July 24 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., are $29.50 for adults and $15.50 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at the Lobero Theatre Box Office, 963.0761, until July 23, and then in the lobby of the Mar Monte Hotel (across from the zoo) on the day of the event.

Originally published in South Coast Beacon on July 14, 2005.