Mark McDermott

Manhattan Beach About Town

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Wine Auction sets new record

The 24th Annual Manhattan Beach Wine Auction, the signature event for the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation, set a new record on Saturday, hosting a sold-out crowd of 2,000 and raising $1.3 million for local schools.

Guests enjoyed culinary delights from over 40 local restaurants and beverages served by more than 80 wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Top sponsors included The Bay Club, Chevron, Belkin, Moss Adams, and Sherry-Lehmann. The Manhattan Country Club, under new ownership from The Bay Club, hosted the event.

A silent auction opened to the community prior to the event, leading to a new high of $260,000. The live auction raised $400,00 and featured a private dinner and tour at the House of Louis XIII in Cognac, France; a VIP trip to the 2019 Masters Tournament; In-home dinners with local famed chefs David LeFevre and Anne Conness; an all-inclusive VIP trip to New York for the 50th Annual US Open; and a ruby ring from 23rd Street Jewelers. The Bay Club donated six experiences for a combined 40 people to New York and San Francisco that brought in over $150,000 of the total raised.

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One of the evening’s highlights was the Fund-a-Need Paddle Raise to fund visual arts education, a growing parent priority in the district.

New MBEF executive director Hilary Mahan noted that the festivities were made more joyous by the June 5 ballot box victory of Measure MB, which will help fund schools. MBEF raises about $6 million annually but the school district faced budget deficits that the measure’s $2.6 million in annual revenue will help address.

“The approval of the parcel tax in Manhattan Beach allows us to continue to strive for academic excellence in all areas and to create a powerful, integrated, visual arts education curriculum throughout the district,” said Mahan.

Research shows that arts education has the power to foster healthy social-emotional learning, reduce absenteeism, increase student engagement, and foster a positive school community. Former executive director, Farnaz Flechner helped kick off the Paddle Raise by introducing Angie Silverman and a donation from her art education foundation, FOLA (Foundation of Local Arts), in honor of her late husband, Les Silverman. Guests at the Wine Auction continued the momentum, donating over $165,000 towards the Visual Arts Initiative, including Chevron’s $50,000 contribution.

“The incredible show of support reflects how passionate the Manhattan Beach community is about art in our schools and reinforces the impact MBEF has on the caliber of teaching and learning in the District,” said Remco Waller, MBEF president.

Wine Auction Chair Roger Spencer gave credit to the entire Wine Auction Committee and the new partnership with the Bay Club.

“We have achieved new heights this year through our partnership with the Bay Club,” he said. “The tremendous generosity of Matthew Stevens, Anne Wharton, and the entire Bay Club team helped make this one of the most memorable of all the Wine Auctions.”

It was announced that this would be Spencer’s last year as Wine Auction Chair. His family is relocating to Chicago. Spencer has been praised by many for his innovative ideas and passion for the continued cultivation of the Wine Auction.

Mahan said the event was a perfect ending to a week in which the community made a statement about its commitment to its schools.

“Our community is committed to building stronger schools together – first with the passage of Measure MB last Tuesday, and now another incredible success with the 24th Annual Wine Auction,” she said. “This is why we all love Manhattan Beach – it’s our common passion for education and the willingness to step up or lend a hand – and have a great time doing it.”

See photos from the event online and in next month’s Beach magazine.

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