It’s Not a Film Premiere, It’s a School Fundraiser

Last Saturday night I witnessed an event that raised over $400,000 to help fund resources for schools in the Las Virgenes Unified School District.  Basically, it was as if your PTA was made up of powerful, wealthy, influential people whose full time job is to get people to donate amazing prizes, and throw a seamless, entertaining party that will loosen the wallets of the richest people in town.

T.H.E. Event at the Calabasas Tennis and Swim Center was an evening of food and wine tasting coupled with a silent auction, followed by a live auction that featured prizes like:

-A VIP Girls’ Night Out complete with limo service, beauty treatments at Drybar, dinner and wine, and a live taping of The Bachelorette

-A trip to Boston to see the Red Sox vs. the Yankees

-Tickets and backstage passes to multiple concerts

-Golf and ski packages

-A fully stocked high-tech wine refrigerator

T.H.E. stands for Together Helping Education, a non-profit that raises money to “provide sustainable and consistent funding directly to all the public schools in the” LVUSD.  As I understand it, funds raised by T.H.E. can pay for teachers’ jobs, days of school that are threatened by ever-looming budget cuts, and other things that individual schools’ parent-faculty groups are not allowed to supply.  With the condition of the budget in California, every school is in jeopardy and uses donated funds to support the personnel and programs once funded by our tax dollars.

So basically, even if your kid is in a nice public school, it’s still like he’s attending a private school, because they still need more of your money.

T.H.E. Event, the first in what is planned to be an annual series, was like a fundraiser for the fanciest private school I’ve ever witnessed.  I’ve been to many high-end events that showcased luxury in painful excess, and thought “imagine if all this money went to charity.”  Well, on this night it did.

The program for T.H.E. Event alone is an impressive full-color spiral bound notebook filled with glossy ads for huge brands like Fiji Water, Dole, Wells Fargo, and the Academy of Country Music.  If you had been there, you would have seen hundreds of the parents you see at pickup and dropoff, a smattering of celebrities like Jennifer Love Hewitt, and at least one school principal in attendance.

See anyone you know?

Tickets to attend the event were $150 just to get a plate and make your way around the food and wine and beer booths, $250 per person for a seat at one of the artfully laid tables.  A special-access lounge tent was set up too, of course, because even at an event full of VIP’s, there were extra-special VIP’s about.

Just regular VIP's. Not in the lounge.

My friends and I barely made it around the horn to sample the food and beverages, so I didn’t even get a glance at the silent auction tables, which were full of offerings for local businesses and services, tickets to shows or local attractions, and trips to faraway places like Antigua.  I was happy enough to meet and greet the proprietors of our close-by restaurants, wineries, and crafters of beer.

This is the team that makes Red Mile Road Ale.  They are three pals who met at Cal State Northridge, who purchased a beer-making kit in Encino and grew to love the craft.  Now they roam the countryside, plying their delicious craft brews at events, because they don’t have their license to sell the beer retail yet.  Isn’t that adorable?  They were serving samples of something amber and tasty, and I liked it.

Entertainment after the presentation and silent auction was provided by The Band From TV, which is basically a band made of minor TV stars who seem to want to get together and jam, and they only do it at charity events.  They actually did it big on this night, and quite well.

These hills are crawling with VIP’s who send their kids to public school.  Why do you think we moved here?  Now let’s hope T.H.E. uses the giant pile of money they raised in a responsible, constructive fashion.  After all, they raised quite a ruckus to publicize T.H.E. Event, so now everyone is paying attention.


  1. Loved it! I’d be your date again! We are so v.i.p.!

  2. This looks like a really great event. I love these things, especially when the proceeds are going towards benefitting children. I always have a blast.

  3. So was your ticket complimentary?

  4. It was a wonderful beautiful evening. Nicest event I have ever been to. No stone was left unturned. The evening was seem less from the auction to the food and wine. Good times and great friends! Love supporting lvusd! Go public schools go!!!

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