Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower Luncheon Blooms With Goodwill

Posted on May 24 by Leslie Dinaberg

Enjoying the Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon (L-R): Bryce Corcoran; Stefani Canin-Mullen, Dream Foundation Events & Special Projects Director; Karen Kerns; Colleen Barnett-Taylor, Rose Sponsor; Jennifer Darling; Alisa Hall; Renee Grubb and Natalie Campbell. Photo: Kiel Rucker Photography.

Enjoying the Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon (L-R): Bryce Corcoran; Stefani Canin-Mullen, Dream Foundation Events & Special Projects Director; Karen Kerns; Colleen Barnett-Taylor, Rose Sponsor; Jennifer Darling; Alisa Hall; Renee Grubb and Natalie Campbell. Photo: Kiel Rucker Photography.

Celebrating a beautiful cause in a beautiful place has become a yearly tradition for Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower Luncheon, and the 6th annual gathering at the Historic Bates Ranch House overlooking Rincon Point was certainly something special. More than 200 local community members gathered on May 19 to support the volunteers who assemble and deliver more than 150 fresh bouquets each week throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

The fête raises funds and acknowledges the volunteers, sponsors and growers who make Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower program possible and is always a joy to attend. Not only do guests make their own bouquets—which are delivered to hospitals, hospices, cancer centers, and personal residences later that week—this year we were also treated to tours of the of the historic Bates Ranch, which was originally part of a 1,200-acre Spanish land grant that included half of Rincon Point. Built in 1928, the charming, panoramic view ranch house is now available for vacation and event rentals.

Snippets of the historic Bates Ranch House and views, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Snippets of the historic Bates Ranch House and views, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

The luncheon, emceed by long-time Dream Foundation supporter, Ivana Firestone (whose adorable daughter Anja was seated near me on the bus that took us from the beach parking to the ranch) and KEYT Channel 3’s Alan Rose, featured an exquisite ocean view, silent auction, a raffle that included a 7-day Holland America Line Caribbean cruise, excellent cuisine from Rincon Catering, and a lively fundraising activity that garnered $15,000 worth of generous donations in just five minutes.

Dream Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Kisa Heyer honored and awarded the 2016 Flower Empower program sponsors: Diane & Tim Brown, Lisa & George Hagerman, Nissrin Mahmoud & Bob Fuladi and Alison Wrigley Rusack & Geoffrey Rusack, whose donations will fund the program throughout the year. Also honored were Yoze Van Wingerden, Grower of the Year; Jan & Jay Anderson, Volunteers of the Year; and Delaney Werner, Youth Volunteer of the Year.

Dream Foundation's Valerie Banks gives flowers to Yoze Van Wingerden, 2016 Grower of the Year. Photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Dream Foundation’s Valerie Banks gives flowers to Yoze Van Wingerden, 2016 Grower of the Year. Photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

“Flower Empower enriches our entire community,” Heyer says. “A gorgeous bouquet of fresh flowers, artisanal chocolates, homemade cookies and a thoughtful card can make an enormous difference to our neighbors in need. This simple gesture makes an incredible impact not only on those we serve but also to those who help make this program possible. There is nothing more amazing than a community coming together to help one another.”

Flower Empower is a volunteer-driven program that delivers hope and compassion—in the form of beautiful bouquets—to those in need. Groups of volunteers prepare dozens of arrangements using donated flowers and make deliveries to hospitals, hospices, cancer centers, and personal residences. In addition to abundant bouquets, flower recipients enjoy fresh-baked cookies, fine chocolates, and cards hand made by local school children. For more information or to refer a flower recipient, contact flowerempower@dreamfoundation.org.

Guests prepare bouquets at the Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Guests prepare bouquets at the Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Dream Foundation is the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults. The organization fulfills final dreams that provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life.  For more information, please visit DreamFoundation.org.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon by Kelly Sweda Photography.

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