The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, the Presenting Sponsor of the event, provided an amazing and flawless experience for 350 guests once again. Sutter Health returned as the Sweepstakes Sponsor and Northern California Medical Associates returned as the Best of Class Sponsor. In addition, there were 13 Double Gold Table Sponsors; representing support for the local area business community and those from the wine industry as well.
Ziggy, the Wine Gal, Event Chair lent her energy and immense talent together with her committee to assemble top fundraising auction packages for the YWCA’s domestic violence services. Notable packages included a Pig Roast by Iron Chef Celebrity Chef Duskie Estes for 6 at Arista Winery with rooms at nearby Farmhouse Inn and a Sonoma Helicopter experience over the Russian River Valley for the entire party; another top lot was a Kosta Browne Winery package including dinner for 8 at the winery, VIP tour and tasting, a 3L and two magnums of their famous Pinot Noir, and four allocations in the next fall and spring releases. A surprise addition to the live auction was an autographed guitar from the band, Journey presented by musician Frank Hayhurst who played the guitar live at the luncheon. The live auction raised over $76,000 and the silent auction raised more than $8,200, while a raffle for a stunning diamond tennis bracelet generously donated by Bennett Valley Jewelers raised over $15,000! The YWCA donors really showed their support during the Invest in a Life portion pledging nearly $47,000 to empowering women who are ready to make a break from their abuser and pursue a life free from violence. Dawn and Chris Benziger generously donated the final amount to the cause, making the total raised $200,000.
The YWCA Sonoma County, established in 1977 operates the only confidential safe house in Sonoma County for women and children who are fleeing domestic abuse. A Special Place Preschool Development Center offers children living with violence or neglect a safe setting five days a week. Additional services include support groups, therapeutic and legal services, family advocacy, community education and professional development training. Through these programs the YWCA Sonoma County is able to serve men, women and children in our community who are struggling with the difficult issues of domestic violence assisting them in creating lives free from violence.
Madeleine Keegan O’Connell, Executive Director noted “In addition to the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter, people deserve respect, dignity and safety to conduct productive lives and care for their children. I’m thrilled at the results of this year’s Women, Wine and Cheese event which supports our ongoing work addressing the needs so many people take for granted.”
As an affiliate of an international membership organization, the YWCA Sonoma County has devoted the past 35 years to empowering women and affirming the worth of all people, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or ability.
The mission of the YWCA:
The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women
and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
For more information on the YWCA Sonoma County, YWCA USA and YWCA World, please visit our website at www.ywca.org/