by: Anita Roark
Last year the dedicated women of Palm Springs Pathfinders celebrated the 60th anniversary of their charitable organization’s founding with a sparkling diamond-themed fundraising gala. It was such a big success that it was hard to imagine how they could possibly top it this year. But top it they did, with their late-February “Mardi Gras Ball.”
The Pathfinders transformed Thunderbird Country Club into a dazzling New Orleans Mardi Gras scene featuring iron-railed balconies, colorful beads, Harlequins, and 4-foot-tall floral displays. Their imaginative feathered and bejeweled masks and sequined gowns added to the festive spirit.
The 225 gala guests were warmly welcomed by Pathfinders President Vickie Culver and the three energetic Mardi Gras co-chairs: Ellen Scheuer, Judy Stone and Kathy Weber. They soon also met the leaders of the two organizations the Pathfinders benefit: B&G Club Chief Professional Officer Andrea Madrigal and Pathfinder Ranch Executive Director Chris Fife.
The gala’s cocktail hour gave attendees a chance to bid on the 84 appealing items in the silent auction room and visit the high-end boutique. Later, after dinner, they also participated in the live auction with auctioneer Kevin O’Callaghan. The 11 spectacular items, including a pair of earrings valued at $16,500, were all quickly snapped up.
Sponsorships, which all had New Orleans-themed names, also contributed to the gala’s success. Gary Malouf and Stacy and Aleks Renshaw were the “Galatoires Sponsors” while Smoke Tree Jewelers were the “Brennan’s,” Leeds and Son Jewelers the “Palace Café,” and Pacific Premier Bank, Thunderbird Only and the Weber Family the “Acme Oyster House.” Individual gift levels started with the “Bourbon Street” sponsorship of Vickie and Larry Culver, Dee Fery, Carolyn and George Hubman, and Kim and Leroy Olsen, continuing with “St. Charles” and “Canal Street.”
Among the attendees were Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Gilbert Holstege, with husband and Boys & Girls Club Palm Springs Board President Adam Gilbert, as well as Joseph Roman, Lindsay Kaufman and Henry Hampton, Mary and Ray Adams, Marie and Birney Dempcy, and Stacy and Aleks Renshaw. Also: Ranch Board Members Jim Scheuer and Kim Smith, whose grandfather donated the land for Pathfinder Ranch, and Gary Malouf, whose mother was a Pathfinders founder. Plus members of Culver’s Board of Directors, including the event co-chairs and Nikki Bianchi, Sarah Birkbeck, Kelly Downs, Sylvia Ender, Eve Fromberg Edelstein (who is also Pathfinder Ranch President), Annie Hall, Bonnie Harvey, Kathi Jesse, Toni Johnson, Becky Julien, Margaret Keung, Susan Linsk, Ty Rogowsky, Bib Scott, Susan Showman, Sandy Swett, and Nila Tatum.
The program, emceed by CBSLocal2’s Patrick Evans (he’s also a Pathfinder Ranch Board Member), was short and sweet. Culver acknowledged the event co-chairs, hard-working members, and Board members of both the Boys & Girls and Pathfinder Ranch Board. She noted the remarkable $7 million for the two entities that Pathfinders has raised since their founding.
As a result of the Mardi Gras Ball and their other fundraising activities, the Pathfinders were able to add $122,000 more to their grand total–$61,000 each to Boys & Girls Club Palm Springs and Pathfinder Ranch, in recognition of this, the Pathfinders’ 61st year.
For more information, please go to palmspringspathfinders.org.