Flower Empower Luncheon Committee with Flower Empower Coordinator Valerie Banks. (Kiel Rucker/Head & Heart Photography)

Dream Foundation raised more than $140,000 at its 11th Annual Flower Empower Luncheon. The event, held May 12 in the Santa Barbara Historical Museum courtyard, honored the donors, volunteers and flower professionals who make the program possible.

Honorees were: Volunteers of the Year, Jill Rode and Barbara Schoch; Youth Volunteer of the Year, National Charity League Class of 2023; Grower of the Year, Karen Graf and John and Vera Welty of Hilltop Farms Inc.; and 2021 Program Sponsors Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation, Colleen Barnett-Taylor and Michael Taylor, Kate and Arthur Coppola, Robin and Roger Himovitz, and Kenny and Elizabeth Slaught.

Welcoming guests and serving as emcees were Alan Rose, former chief meteorologist at KEYT, and longtime program supporter; and Brooks Firestone, one of the program’s youngest volunteeers and supporters. Brooks is the son of Andrew Firestone.

A silent auction items included an original piece by artist Laina Miller titled “Bliss;” and Santa Barbara Film Festival VIP tickets. Guests also enjoyed a wine pull, a bouquet-making station, and an opportunity drawing that included an El Capitan Canyon getaway, a necklace by Waxing Poetic, and a Westerlay Orchid display.

Honorees received an engraved vase filled with flowers by Flower Empower program coordinator Valerie Banks, and Seasons Catering served a spring luncheon for attendees.
Longtime foundation supporter Andrew Firestone led the paddle-raise and live auction that featured:

A Maui getaway, courtesy of Four Seasons Maui Resort at Wailea and Dream Foundation’s Sustaining Partner Alaska Airlines; a VIP Big Apple rendezvous, courtesy of Janine Cifelli Representation, The Greenwich Hotel, Mario Muredda, Indochine, Peter Siegel, Blue Ribbon Restaurants, Lindsey Ornstein and Rockefeller Center; a Central Coast road trip with a selection of hotel stays and VIP activities, courtesy of Ballard Inn, Bell’s Restaurant, The Landsby Hotel, The Stables Inn, Sensorio, J. Wilkes and Miller Family Wines; and an ocean-inspired custom surfboard, designed and donated by Katherine Hedrick, a senior in the Multimedia Arts and Design Academy at Santa Barbara High School. (So many bidders were interesed in the surfboard that a second board was auctioned off as well.)
Speaking at the event was Flower Empower volunteer Kira Duffy, a senior at Dos Pueblos High School, who has been volunteering with her mother Jennifer Gillon Duffy since the fifth grade. Duffy reflected on years that have passed and how the program’s mission and meaning will remain with her.

The program also took time to remember Tara Haaland-Ford, a treasured member of the Flower Empower program.

The luncheon was made possible by its sponsors, underwriters, and event committee: Southwest Airlines; Magnolia Sponsors, Kenny and Elizabeth Slaught; Peony Sponsors, Kate and Arthur Coppola, Robin and Roger Himovitz, Wells Hughes, Arlington Financial Advisors, Shelley and Paul Schulte, Rudi Schulte Family Foundation.

Rose Sponsors, Elizabeth and Andrew Butcher, Casa Dorinda, Roberta and Stan Fishman, Montecito Bank & Trust; Orchid Sponsors, Colleen Barnett-Taylor and Michael Taylor, Betty Dominguez, Michelle and Luke Ebbin, Jenny Hoffman, Amie Parrish, Elizabeth Patterson, Claude Raffin, Justine Roddick and Tina Schlieske, Melinda Rogers, Crosby Slaught, and Well With Rynell.

Daisy Sponsors, Christina Rottman Designs, Laura Collins, Renee and Stella Crawford, Jennifer Gillon Duffy, Rimon Law, Corinna Gordon, Hospice of Santa Barbara, Hutchinson & Bloodgood LLP, Kimi J. Mater.

Event underwriters, Jen and Skip Abed, Colleen Barnett-Taylor and Michael Taylor, Debra Borden, Pieter Crawford-Van Meeuwen, Christine and Robert Emmons, Marisa and Brett Grimes; Event committee, Jen Abed, Rebecca Borgioli, Rynell Casey, Renee Crawford, Shannon Di Padova, Jodi Fishman-Osti, Erin Griffin, Lynette Hall, Robin Himovitz, Margaret Lloyd, Amie Parrish, Melinda Rogers, Alan Rose and Crosby Slaught.
Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower program is a volunteer-driven program that delivers floral bouquets, fresh-baked cookies, fine chocolates, and hand-made cards to people in hospices, cancer centers, and their homes every week. Since its inception in 1994, the Santa Barbara-based program has made more than 120,000 of these deliveries.

A recipient can be anyone in Santa Barbara who needs some cheer.

For more about the program, visit http://www.dreamfoundation.org/flower-empower/. To support he organization’s mission, visit DreamFoundation.org/donate.