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‘An Affair to Remember’ helped raise $415,000 for The Alzheimer’s Association held on March 12 at Gulf Harbour Country Club.
That’s nearly double of the money raised in 2017, which was the first year of the event.
More than 200 people attended.
Guest speakers included Angel Duncan from the Neuropsychiatric Research Center of SWFL and Carol Poole, an early stage Alzheimer’s patient and advisor. Emcee Kellie Burns and auctioneer Scott Robertson also participated.
There also was a special message from Dr. Fred Schaerf, who spoke at the 2016 event.
In a video, Schaerf shared that he has ALS – Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
For almost 20 years, Schaerf a board-certified neuropsychiatrist, brought his training and experience from Johns Hopkins to Fort Myers and created the only research center in Lee, Collier, Charlotte and Hendry-Glades counties solely dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias.
His Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida has been a nationally recognized destination, providing state-of-the-art clinical research trials in Alzheimer’s disease and other memory impairments to the citizens of Florida.
Friends of Foster Children Forever (FFCF) held their 11th annual Boogie Bash fundraiser on March 23 at Grey Oaks Country Club. The ‘boogie through the decades’ themed fundraiser had over 250 supporters in attendance and raised over $415,000 to benefit FFCF’s one-on-one educational mentoring programs for local foster children. The Fund-a-Future fundraising portion of the evening brought in $215,000 to fund the FFCF mentoring program for foster children who are failing academically. This amount was double what was raised in the previous year. Party-goers enjoyed a cocktail reception and silent auction followed by a surf and turf dinner, a live auction, and dancing to the sounds of Society Hill presented by Forman Productions. Edee Deluca and Rio DeArmond were this year’s event chairs, celebrity emcees were Pzazz Productions’ PJ Fuerstman-Meyer and local chef Brian Roland of Crave Culinaire. Auctioneer Scott Robertson encouraged bidders to give until it felt good. Making the evening possible were Hand-Jive sponsors: Children’s Network of Southwest Florida, HBK CPAs & Consultants, NEST Multi-Facility Management, and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Schroeder; Moonwalk sponsors, American Eagle Mortgage/Lauren Maxwell, First Florida Integrity Bank, Home-Tech, Naples Auto Donation Center, and The Woodruff Institute; and media sponsor, Naples Daily News. The FFCF mission is to focus on the children they serve by providing targeted educational and enrichment opportunities that allow each child to fulfill his or her potential. The charitable organization works to fulfill the unmet needs of every child who enters, or is at risk of entering the foster care system in Collier, Hendry and Glades Counties. For more information about Friends of Foster Children of Forever (FFCF) or how to help, visit www.friendsoffosterchildren.net or call (239) 262–1808. (Photo ID: Scott Robertson, Auctioneer and Edee Deluca, co-chair celebrate a great night)
Published by News-Press
The wine flowed, the bidding paddles flew up and down, and the audience hooted and cheered as the big bids got bigger at Saturday’s Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest Auction:
• $35,000 for a seven-day wine-tasting trip to Argentina.
• $75,000 for a five-night “super yacht adventure” to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
• $100,000 for a five-course wine and food tasting for 40 people at New York’s famous Rao’s restaurant.
By 4:20 p.m., the rowdy, wine-drinking audience had raised $1.5 million for Southwest Florida kids. And the bids kept coming.
“The afternoon is still young!” said auctioneer Scott Robertson. “What generosity!”
When the ringing bells and other noisemakers finally quieted down at 6:10 p.m,, the 10th annual Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest had raised a whopping $2.9 million (according to an early estimate).
*Published by The Heights Foundation
“Love Your Neighbor”, the 10th annual event benefiting The Heights Foundation, raised a record $443,000 for educational programs for at-risk kids in Harlem Heights. The event was held at the Gulf Harbour home of Mary Jo Little. The VIP Pre Party was held at the home of David and Susan Knust. Mark Loren, Norman and Mary Love were honored for their years of support of The Heights Foundation. Norman Love Confections and Mark Loren Designs helped create this signature event and have supported it since its inception.
A $100,000 giving challenge was made by Bill and Caroline Bloomhall, residents of Gulf Harbour and long-time supporters of The Heights Foundation. If the audience pledged a minimum of $100,000 in donations during the Fund-a-Need in the live auction, the Bloomhalls would match the amount. Attendees generously met the challenge and donated $131,250.
Scott Robertson owns 10 tuxedoes that he accessorizes with 74 vests—some bought off the rack, some specially made. By color or pattern theme, each represents a fundraising auction he has called. They also represent his philosophy about being an auctioneer specializing in charity events. Whatever the gala, “I want to be a part of it,” he explains.
Whether it’s done by hand, paddle or keyboard click, the auction as a method of sale thrives in this area, being used to sell houses, land, livestock, vacations, antiques, estate lots and more—in person and online. And nearly everything about this method of sale changes depending on whether the buyers are in cowboy boots or cummerbunds.
“I’ll be the only one in a tuxedo, besides the wait staff,” Robertson says before the mid-November ForEverglades Naples fundraiser at the Naples Beach Hotel. And while the audience was in cocktail chic, the staff was in black tie—and so is the auctioneer, standing stage left during the pre-auction dinner and already in command of the room.
He is both part of the fabric of the event and a man apart as its salesman and leader. For the Everglades fundraiser, he wore a vest and tie of light turquoise: “one of the decorating colors” that night, he says.
Dress is only one aspect of the style a charity auctioneer adopts.
“With commercial auctions, you’re selling a product,” says Robertson. “You’re trying to get the most money you can for that product. With a charity auction, you’re selling [a concept] to people. So it’s a whole different mindset.”
Sara Rose Bytnar of Naples, Florida was recently crowned winner of the Women’s National Auctioneers Association (NAA) 30thAnnual International Auctioneer Championship in Columbus, Ohio. The 31 year old Rose Bytnar, a third generation auctioneer, grew up with four female auctioneers in her family to guide and mentor her, to which she credits much of her success. She finished second last year to her mother, Beth Rose, by one-tenth of one point.
Twenty women competed for the right to be known as one of the best auction professionals in the world. Rose Bytnar, Certified Auctioneers Institute (CAI), Accredited Auctioneer Real Estate (AARE), Auction Marketing Management (AMM), received a $5,000 cash award, trophy and championship
ring. The contest included a preliminary bid-calling round, an interview round, and a final round of bid- calling that included seven women.
As part of her responsibilities as auction champion, Rose Bytnar will travel to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN later this year to conduct the annual NAA Toy Auction for patients and their siblings. All of the children leave as winners after bidding successfully on a toy to take home. The NAA formed its partnership with St. Jude in 1995 and has raised more than $5 million to support St. Jude.
“I am honored to have won the auctioneer championship and be recognized by the world’s largest association dedicated to auction professionals,” said Bytnar. “My involvement with the NAA has provided an opportunity to network with the best auction professionals in the business and the educational opportunities to keep me at the top of my field.”
This article originally appeared in Gulfshore Life Magazine.
“Ted Nugent is on his way,” Brenda Melton leaned in to tell me at the end of a record-setting night for the Celebrity Martini Glass Auction, which this year benefited PAWS Assistance Dogs. The CMGA founder is friends with Nugent’s wife, Shemane. The Nugents cut out early from a private “wild game” party and arrived in the parking lot of Artis—Naples for an impromptu meet and greet. No guitar. No stage. No problem. The 68-year-old rocker said he just had to meet a young man who sacrificed greatly in service to our country.
CMGA honored Marine Lance Cpl. Tim Donley, who lost his legs because of a bomb explosion in Afghanistan. While guests of the late March event were still enjoying the Norman Love dessert reception and dancing the night away, about 15 people gathered around Nugent in the parking lot while he spoke to the Marine. Donley, a musician himself, sat in a wheelchair next to his wife, whom he met while at Walter Reed Hospital. Nugent dropped multiple four-letter words while describing his disdain for the government, mainstream media and academia. He told a story of being scolded by a military officer for carrying a gun on a trip to Fallujah during the war in Iraq. “I carry my gun when I go out to get bread,” Nugent joked. The Nugents took pictures with the small crowd gathered and cuddled with several golden retriever service dogs. Nugent is hitting the road this month for his Make America Rock Again summer U.S. 2017 tour. It stops at Bonita Springs’ Southwest Florida Performing Arts Center on July 11 and 12—and don’t bet against more political talk in parking lots.
Surprises opened and closed this year’s Celebrity Martini Glass Auction as well. Auction lot 1 not only featured a glass inspired by the Broadway hit Hamilton and autographed by the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, but also included two “producer seats” to the hit show. Auctioneer Scott Robertson proudly announced the late addition to the lot.
Friends of Foster Children Forever (FFCF) held their 10th annual Boots & Boogie Bash fundraiser on March 25 at Grey Oaks Country Club. The ‘boots and bling’ themed party had over 220 guests in attendance and raised over $165,000 for foster children.
Party-goers enjoyed a cocktail reception and silent auction followed by a surf and turf Texas-style dinner, a live auction and dancing to the sounds of the Blue Stone Circle Band.
Rob Wilson and Rio DeArmond were this year’s event chairs, celebrity emcees were ABC-7 anchor Krista Fogelsong and local chef Brian Roland of Crave Culinaire, and auctioneer Scott Robertson energized bidders as he does each and every year. Once the auction started, the crowd had the opportunity to bid on incredible live auction items including exotic trips such as a stay at the original ICEHOTEL in Sweden.
Friends of Foster Children Forever (FFCF) held their 10th annual Boots & Boogie Bash fundraiser on March 25 at Grey Oaks Country Club. The ‘boots and bling’ themed party had over 220 guests in attendance and raised over $165,000 for foster children. Party-goers enjoyed a cocktail reception and silent auction followed by a surf and turf Texas-style dinner, a live auction and dancing to the sounds of the Blue Stone Circle Band. Rob Wilson and Rio DeArmond were this year’s event chairs, celebrity emcees were ABC-7 anchor Krista Fogelsong and local chef Brian Roland of Crave Culinaire, and auctioneer Scott Robertson energized bidders as he does each and every year.
Midway through the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest’s Grand Tasting & Auction on Saturday, somewhere around the $2.2 million mark, emcee Kellie Burns stopped.
She quieted the crowd of generous attendees, a crowd that had been sipping exclusive wines and eating plates from renowned local and national chefs for the last several hours at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club.
She asked the drum line to set down their sticks. She asked the women in sparkly dresses and feather boas for their attention.
“I need everybody to listen right now, we’re about to get serious,” Burns said as the tent hushed.
She talked about the lack of mental health care in our state and region, touching on the battles her own family has faced with eating disorders and depression.