With results from the 31st Annual Auction Napa Valley blazing across the Twitter-verse and the countdown clock on to Share our Strength’s Taste of the Nation in L.A., fancy food and wine fundraisers are at the top of our event radar. But one question we’ve always had about these events— and we’re probably not alone — is, "What exactly is the financial bottom line?"
After the celebs have posed for the social column photos, the caviar has been devoured, and the auctioneer has brought the gavel down on the last six-figure lot, how much benefit do the charities in question actually see? Answer: Sometimes, a stunning amount.
Annual big-ticket food and wine fundraisers are not only among the hottes
t tickets on a jet-set social calendar, but also a crucial fundraising channel for all sorts of charities, from community-centric children’s foundations to international philanthropic organizations. Here, we give notable numbers and background details on eight of the biggest and best.
Though the amount raised is just a fraction of the major auctions, Taste of the Nation is part of a much bigger organization, and this event generates the group substantial buzz amongst Angelenos. In general, events not related to entertainment struggle to find traction in L.A., but this one has a sizeable following.
There is an auction, but the main event is a walkaround tasting event featuring nearly 50 Los Angeles-area restaurants. The $100 ticket price ($125 at the door) is hefty enough to ensure a fairly well-heeled crowd, but not so expensive that only corporate accounts and Weinsteins can afford it. It’s a big, friendly, food-inspired day party where craft brewers mingle with television execs, restaurateurs and Hollywood Hills types, all for a good cause.
Who attends: This year, expect Mary Sue Milliken and Michael Voltaggio among the celeb chef contingent, and comedians Randy Sklar and Kathy Griffin among celebs showing up just for the party. Notable numbers: Although last year’s L.A. event grossed just $230,000, TOTN events in all have raised more than $75 million.
Date: June 12, 2011
Nashville’s signature wine charity event goes up against Auction Napa Valley for the title of "America’s Oldest Charity Wine Auction." Bold indeed, especially considering that it’s nowhere near wine country. However, though Nashville is not a wine industry town, it is a diverse city with a surprising number of wine collectors, business people and deep pockets.
Whether stepping up to repair damages from the 2010 flood or supporting local medical organizations on an ongoing basis, residents show solidarity for community and causes. And this charity’s cause — to support "organizations whose purpose is directly related to the treatment, patient care and eradication of cancer" — is among the noblest of all.
Who attends: Celebrity guests like Kix Brooks and Reba McEntire brush shoulders with doctors, scientists, local restaurateurs, and the owners of Krug Champagne and Chateaux Margaux.
Notable numbers: More than $16 million has been raised in 32 years. This year, the heavy-hitting connoisseurs will be bidding on a Chateauneuf-du-Pape tasting featuring 41 of the best wines going back to the early 1970s.
Dates: July 16, 2011