About $30,000 were raised Saturday evening for local scholarships, nonprofit grants and community improvement projects during the seventh annual Los Gatos Community Foundation's CATillion Gala at La Rinconada Country Club.
According to LGCF Executive Director Sharon Childs, the organization has raised $200,000 for such purposes during the past six years.
Some of the money's beneficiaries include the Auxiliary of Good Samaritan Hospital, a nonprofit organization that created ACCESS, or A Caring Community of Education, Services and Support, to help families of infants born prematurely or with special needs who face many challenges.
Foundation President Janice McCabe presented Los Gatos Councilwoman Diane McNutt with the President's Award for her longtime dedication to public service.
A total of 117 people rsvp'd for the event, titled “Puttin’ On the Ritz – Los Gatos Style.” Among those in attendance were several active business and community members, as well as local elected officials dressed to the theme of the Great Gatsby.
“We always strive for community awareness and successful events money wise to give back to the community,” Childs said.
The gala featured a live and silent auction with prizes donated by local residents and small businesses including a necklace designed and made by local resident Marilyn Dorsa and a trip to Kauai donated by foundation board member Nancy Walker with airfare provided by CATillion Chairperson Jan Morris of Peak Travel Group.
Morris, who has also served as the foundation’s immediate past president, said she organized the annual dinner as an effective way of raising money for the community, and every year the foundation hosts a different theme for the event.
Local metal sculptor Jeff Owen of Jeff Owen Artworks sculpted and donated 25 metal cat designs for auction. Santa Cruz '50s-era band the Sparkletones provided music for the evening.
Los Gatos Rotarian and longtime volunteer John Pencer lent his talents as the event’s auctioneer.
“He’s not a professional auctioneer, but loves doing it for the community,” Childs said of Pencer.
Local general contractor Barry Swenson provided complimentary wine, while Eric and Sharon Childs donated champagne served to attendees as they walked into the club.
“It’s been really rewarding to give back to the community you live in,” McCabe said. “The CATillion is a nice way to kick-off the holiday season, see some new faces and spread the word about the foundation to new attendees and get then to give more to the community.”
Also in attendance were Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman, Los Gatos Mayor Joe Pirzynski, Vice Mayor Steve Rice and past Mayor Randy Attaway.
According to McCabe, money raised from the CATillion events in the past has gone to LED lights for the Christmas tree in downtown Los Gatos, Christmas lights for Santa Cruz Avenue, the planting of trees downtown and the building of the Lyndon Bandstand in .