Miracle for Kids gala raises nearly $1.3 million

On Saturday, Oct. 20, nearly 500 of Southern California’s most generous philanthropists, business and civic leaders gathered at the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point for the Miracles for Kids Annual Night of Miracles Gala: The Miracle of Magic. Brought together by a shared goal to raise funds to benefit families with critically ill children, guests made the biggest impact in the nonprofit’s 16-year history, raising nearly $1.3 million.

“Words cannot express our gratitude to the incredible community of friends, donors, volunteers and sponsors who help make miracles happen at Miracles for Kids every day of the year,” said Autumn Strier, co-founder and CEO of Miracles for Kids. “We are incredibly humbled and thankful that, in just one evening at this year’s Night of Miracles Gala, this community rallied with love and support to raise a record-breaking nearly $1.3 million for the courageous families we serve.”

Miracle for Kids Strier and Smith

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Autumn Strier, co-founder and CEO of Miracles for Kids with Tim Smith

The amount of $700,000 of the $1.3 million was raised as pure donations through the Gala’s Fund-a-Family portion of the evening, during which guests raised their paddle to donate at various levels that range from $100,000 to $100. In an exciting and unexpected moment, four $100,000 donations were gifted by generous supporters. 

Guests continued to raise their paddles during the lively and highly anticipated live auction. Top items included a Telluride Ski Resort Package and a Vintner Hosted Wine Connoisseur’s Getaway with Private Air, which were each generously donated by Orange County locals and company owners – Chad Horning of Telluride Ski & Golf Resort and Steve and Seanne Contursi of Arrow&Branch. These top packages sold for $26,000 and $20,000, respectively. Another exciting live auction item of note was a Heisman House Football Weekend with ESPN SportsCenter Co-Anchor Neil Everett and other ESPN on-air talent – a unique package donated by Miracles for Kids Ambassador and long-time friend Neil Everett, who also donated his time as the evening’s Emcee and Master of Ceremonies. The live auction was rounded out with a VIP Hollywood Package to the movie premiere of Captain Marvel, a Whisky, Wine & Craft Beer Experience in San Luis Obispo, a Luxury Getaway to Kiawah Island in South Carolina, a $10,000 Custom Wardrobe by Celebrity Clothier David August, a Toy Poodle Puppy, and a thrilling Robb Report Car of the Year Napa Experience.

In addition to raising funds to help families with critically ill children fight bankruptcy, homelessness, hunger and depression – so the families can focus on fighting for their kids’ lives – Miracles for Kids also recognized several members of the community during this special evening.

Miracle for Kids Perricones

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Joe Perricone, chairman of Perricone Farms in Newport Beach and Karen Perricone

Joe Perricone, Chairman of Perricone Farms, based in Newport Beach, was named the 2018 Miracle Maker Honoree, the nonprofit’s highest community honor. Under Perricone’s leadership, Perricone Farms – one of the nation’s largest citrus growers and the biggest supplier of freshly squeezed orange juice in the western United States – has shown incredible support for Miracles for Kids’ mission and families in need, including launching the company’s Home Runs for Kids Program, which raised more than $50,000 through their pledge to donate $250 for every home run hit by the Los Angeles Angels during the 2017-2018 season.

“Perricone Farms is a family business and we truly believe that there is nothing more important than family,” said Joe Perricone. “Miracles for Kids is working hard to change the lives of families in need every day and we knew that, in partnership, we could make a huge, positive impact. I’m honored to be named their ‘Miracle Maker’ this year.”

The gala also honored Moises Alvares and his family, who are currently residing at Miracle Manor, Miracles for Kids’ affordable housing program located near CHOC Children’s in Orange. Moises’ story embodies the many challenges faced by families fighting a life-threatening illness. Moises was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in 2015, and continues to battle the disease. His story highlights his fight and Miracles for Kids’ financial and emotional support throughout his inspiring journey.

Miracle for Kids Paula Wilhelm

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Paula Ansara-Wilhelm with Surterre Properties Newport Beach, Autumn Strier and Kelly Ellis

The magical evening was also filled with mesmerizing entertainment by award-winning recording artist and Broadway star Crystal Starr, and acclaimed illusionist and resident magician at the Wynn Resort & Casino, ShimShi – who was also the last magician standing on the 2008 season of NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Guests were also treated to up-close magic and sleight-of-hand by some of the country’s best magicians from the world-famous Magic Castle.

A gourmet dinner and signature cocktails from custom bars by longtime sponsors NOLET’S Silver Gin, Ketel One Family Made Vodka and Duke Spirits kept the guests satisfied. Further adding to the excitement of the evening was the Opportunity Drawing for the chance to win a pair of White Gold Diamond Earrings containing 370 round diamonds weighing 9.06CTS with a retail value of $18,500 – generously donated by the Night of Miracles Gala exclusive jewelry sponsor, Martin Katz. The lucky winning guest, Brian Hill, took home the opportunity item after purchasing just a handful of tickets for $100 each.

For more information on Miracles for Kids, visit www.miraclesforkids.org.