Seacology Knows How to Throw a Party!

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Seacology is a dedicated environmental/humanitarian organization with an important global mission. In particular, my job as development director is pretty intense. I need to make bank for a lot of projects and programs for some of the most economically impoverished people in the world. It's hard work, but there is a healthy dose of fun involved. It's a well known fact that the best way to fundraise is to raise fun. Seacology is good at this because we take it seriously.

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Part of my job is throwing parties for a living. Well not really, but sometimes it feels that way. This is especially true when I get a chance to collaborate on interesting events with generous, cause-oriented people, which I do several times a year.

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Each fall we hold an event in San Rafael, California, called "Marin's Glorious Glass Pumpkin Harvest." One of our creative board members and his significant other conceived this event in 2007. Their aim was to raise funds for Seacology, make money for a small coterie of talented glass-blowing artists, bring exposure to an historic regional facility and develop an annual family event. They hit their target. The result is a gorgeous, two-day public "pumpkin patch" that feels an awful lot like a big block party with a purpose. Held on the lawns of a Victorian mansion known as the Falkirk Cultural Center, this event takes place during the most beautiful time of the year in Northern California. Many thanks to Kimo and Kerry. If you are in the area this October, we invite you to drop by.

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We've also had success with intimate theatre events. A celebrity or public personality fills a theatre for an entertaining interview with a moderator, including a question and answer session with the fans. The celebrity speaker then donates the proceeds of the special evening to Seacology. Past donors have included Jared Diamond, Barbara Kingsolver, Oliver Sacks, Robin Williams, Alice Walker and Margaret Atwood to name a few. Last month we staged an interview with the wonderful Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen at Golden Gate Theatre (left), produced by City Arts and Lectures, great friends to Seacology. Hosted by Todd Oppenheimer, the lively evening was filled with the big personalities (but not big egos) of Ted and Mary, whose warm, open manner and hilarious storytelling kept us well entertained. We are so appreciative to all of these philanthropic glitterati and literati who have generously donated their time, treasure and talent to us.

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We also create receptions several times a year which are held in the private homes of board members, fellows and donors. Very much like a small cocktail or dinner party, these occasions generally host 15 to 30 people who come to learn more about Seacology's mission. Last year we held two receptions in Manhattan, two in California (Healdsburg and Malibu) and one in London.(Right, Seacology Fellow Wendy Lang and donor Ruth Shapiro at the Malibu reception.)

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These personal gatherings always include a beautiful visual presentation on our global island projects and often serve to inform existing members of our latest endeavors. This year we've already held an event in Utah, with plans for more: Tokyo in March, Texas in April, Colorado in August, Florida in September, and both Los Angeles and London in October, (whew!) helping to significantly broaden Seacology's donor base. (Left, Fellow Barbara Meyer, Executive Director Duane Silverstein, and Board Member Shari Sant Plummer.)

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Seacology does musicals, too, sort of. We secure tickets to Best of Broadway productions in San Francisco and hold private celebrity receptions after the event. We've had a couple of great evenings with Jersey Boys and Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, both of which turned out to be successful fundraisers. Our donors saw a terrific Broadway show and were feted afterwards while supporting their favorite charity. (Below left, Board Member Larry Barels, Wendy Barels, Board Member Marsha Williams and Duane Silverstein) It's a lot of good will, which brings me to Spamalot.

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We will again be hosting a spirited evening on May 27th, 2009. It's San Francisco's opening night of Broadway's Tony award winning Spamalot, a musical comedy lovingly ripped off from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This is promising to be another momentous evening for Seacology's fundraising efforts. Of course we'll be hosting a splendid post-show reception, because . . . Seacology knows how to throw a party!

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This page contains a single entry by Susan Racanelli published on March 11, 2009 9:00 AM.

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