It was an evening of Roman gladiators, centurions and gods and goddesses at the 43rd annual Benefit Auction to support the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley.
The event, held Saturday in the Valencia Industrial Park, attracted more than 600 guests and volunteers, many clad in costume to honor the auction theme: “When in Rome…”
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The empty warehouse and office space had been converted into an event facility adorned by softly draping fabric, Roman columns and tables decorated in a Roman theme with ivy and sculptures.
Boys & Girls Club of SCV
The auction, which featured more than 50 live auction and more than 200 silent auction items, netted more than $150,000 for the club with provides nearly 3,000 SCV youth with a place to go after school and during school vacations.
The club also provides a host of programs that enrich SCV youth including: education and career development, character and leadership development, sports, fitness and recreation, health and life skills and exposure to the arts.
“I am so pleased and thankful to the community for coming out and supporting the kids in the SCV,” said Ronda Chobanian, development director for the Boys & Girls Club of SCV Foundation. “Chris and Jayne Fall were amazing chairs for the second year in a row. We had an incredible crew of volunteers that really made it happen.”
Chobanian said the funds from the auction are necessary for the operation of the club.
“Because of everyone’s contributions we will be able to serve hundreds of kids all summer long with great programs, hot meals and a safe place to be,” she said. “That was what ‘When in Rome…’ was all about.”
Tribute to Jim Ventress
Jim Ventress, the chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Club of SCV for the past 29 years, will retire on June 30. The scholarship fund will assist youth with club scholarships, tuition to leadership training workshops and funds for higher education.
A tribute video for Ventress featured individuals who lauded the work Ventress has done with the youth of the SCV.
“This is a unique opportunity for you to show your appreciation for Jim’s dedicated service to the youth of the SCV,” said emcee Ed Masterson at the conclusion of the tribute video.
More than $30,000 was raised for the Jim Ventress Scholarship Fund.
“It was a great tribute to Jim Ventress that so many supported this new scholarship fund,” said Carl Kanowsky, president of the Boys & Girls Club of SCV Foundation.
At the beginning of the evening Ventress said he planned on “enjoying every moment of tonight.”
“I am sure that before tonight is over it will be a little emotional,” he said. “There are a lot of good people here tonight, the people who have made the club what it is.”
Ventress, dressed in the garb of a Roman senator, took the auction stage several times during the evening. He pulled Mike Bjorkman’s winning Roman Raffle special opportunity ticket from the ticket drum and announced that Bjorkman had selected the 14-day Princess Cruise as his raffle prize. The $100 a ticket raffle allowed the winner to select any live auction prize in the auction book except the 2015 Benefit Auction Head Table.
Chris and Jayne Fall
As the evening kicked off event chairs Chris and Jayne Fall, along with Ventress, were led to the stage by Roman centurion Phillip Thompson, with his sword at the ready, and students from the Boys & Girls Club of SCV waving palm fronds.
“Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,” said Chris Fall. “Welcome to the 43rd annual Boys and Girls Club of SCV benefit auction and tribute to Jim Ventress for his 37 years with the Boys & Girls Clubs and 29 years here in Santa Clarita. Tonight the club needs your help so we hope you look through the auction book and find something you like and bid for it.”
Ventress was then called up to address the guests.
“It’s been a long time, this is my 30th auction,” Ventress said. “The consistency of our volunteers and the people who come out to support us makes this a special night. This auction is the backbone of the Boys and Girls Club.
Ventress credited the efforts of Tony Newhall, who started the auction and of Ed Bolden, the second board president of the club, for helping start the club on the path to success.
“When I think of Tony Newhall who started it all, and seeing Tony and Ed Bolden, our second president, here tonight, I hope they are proud of what we’ve done,” said Ventress. “I want to thank everyone here who has taken the time to support us. The bottom line is that this for the kids. Remember, it’s about our kids, so let’s spend some money.”
The live auction was led by Mark Schenfeld of Stokes Auction Group and earned more than $100,000. Among the most sought after items were tickets to the One Direction concert at the Rose Bowl, which brought in $5,000; the “Ultimate Sport Package” (which included tickets to the Lakers, Kings, Clippers and Dodgers and several racing packages) which fetched $5,000; several Dodger ticket packages which were purchased for more than $3,000 and a Sand Canyon Mansion Party that earned the club $3,000.
Todd and Karen Stevens donated several packages of concert tickets, including two sets of One Direction tickets as well as tickets to see Cher, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Arctic Monkeys and The Fray at the Greek. In addition, they also donated sports memorabilia and several ticket packages to the Dodger Dugout Club, Dodger Suite and the WWE SummerSlam 2014.
Richard and Marian Sandnes donated several expensive items of jewelry to the auction which raised more than $5,000.
A final tally of proceeds won’t be available until next week when all live and silent auction items, ticket and table sales, bar receipts and sponsor totals are finalized, as well as expenses, said Chobanian. “We are hoping to top $175,000 when we are done counting,” she said.
The Head Table for the 2015 auction was purchased for $10,000 by Wayne and Dianne Crawford, Harold and Jacquie Petersen and G. Marshall Hann. The table, which seats 12, offers front row seating for the auction, a special menu (this year prepared by Salt Creek Grille Catering,) free wine and drinks from the bar, table service and is elaborated decorated. This year’s creation, from interior designer Ruben Haynes, of Ruben Haynes Designs.
The same bidders have held the Head Table at the Boys & Girls Club auction for several consecutive years.
“We don’t want to give it up,” said Crawford. “It is important to support the club. The club is important to Santa Clarita.”
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Another important donor to the auction was Six Flags Magic Mountain, a longtime supporter of the Club.
“We really love the Boys and Girls Club,” said Bonne Rabjohn, president of Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor. “It is sad that this is Jim’s (Ventress) last year with the club, but I know the club will do well and continue to move forward. This is a wonderful organization and it is all about helping the kids.”
Items donated by Magic Mountain, which included a Fright Fest package, coaster tours and other VIP experiences, earned more than $12,000 for the club.
A successful auction
After the auction guests danced into the night to the music of Tom Thumb and the Hitchhikers.
Kanowsky said he was pleased with the auction and the efforts of the Boys & Girls Club staff, especially Chobanian and all the volunteers.
“I don’t think Ronda Chobanian ever stopped moving during the event,” he said. “She was keeping everything organized and on track.”
Auction committee chairs
Bar: Craig’s Crew; Bid board closing: Wayne Mahaffey and Jim Walsh; Bid board installation and preparation: Cheryl Gray; Catalog: Barbara C. Morris; Catering: Salt Creek Grille and Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing; Event designer: Ruben Haynes; Item display: Patricia Teichert; Item disbursement: The Bill White Team; Item placement: Jami Kennedy; Live auction production: Bryan Lake; Jewelry display: Lisa Bomben; Live auction support: Karen and John Mahaffey; Logistics Phillip Thompson and Barbara C. Morris; Registration: Judy Penman; Retail and individual gifts: Pat Allen, Jami Kennedy and Patricia Teichert and Security: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Deputy Joe Trejo.
For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of SCV visit www.scvbgc.org.
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Source: Santa Clarita News