Wee Dreams Ball attracted an enthusiastic young crowd eager to part with the big bucks to help needy children.
This was the 13th annual gala for 850 at-risk kids and families served by Florence Fuller Child Development Centers. So fundraising becomes a serious business and the fun part is saved for later.
More than 420 supporters ponied up bids for fancy auction items at Boca West Country Club Friday. And an hour into the gala, the give $100 to get a Neiman Marcus gift booth was sold out.
A walk-on part in a new TV series went for $20,000 in a 10-item live auction. People applauded when auctioneer Neil Saffer brought a bid up to the next level. A general ask for support brought in even more money to help the kids. “We exceeded our expectations,” he told Boca Voice later.
What did honorary chair Carrie Rubin think was going on here? “It’s about the children. We take 2-, and 3- and 5-year-olds and get them ready for school. These young people you see here, they have kids and realize how fortunate they are.”
“This is something where you can make a difference,” said Kathy and Paul Adkins, among the gala sponsors.
This was the fifth year Neiman Marcus was the presenting sponsor and PR guru Lauren Johnson stepped in again as co-chair. Her co-chair was Boca Raton Resort & Club president John C. Tolbert.
On a lighter note, Florence Fuller board chair Stacey Packer was wearing a pair of Neiman Marcus heels with a sequined heart. She bought the pair-each-month-for-a-year auction item at last year’s Wee Dreams, she said. This year that auction item went for $13,000.
Florence Fuller CEO Ellyn Okrent thanked the crowd for their great support. Then a curtain was pulled back on the ballroom for a dessert buffet and dancing.
Why all the generosity? “It’s Boca. People who move here give money,” reasoned Arthur Adler, who started the Boca West Foundation that funds 26 children’s charities like this one.
By Marci Shatzman