4-H Foundation of Sonoma County Annual Dinner
By Taylor Pires
The 10th annual 4-H Foundation BBQ and “Fun”draiser brought 700 community members together for an evening of grape stomping, friendship, appreciation and support of the dynamic Sonoma County 4-H program. Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens in Fulton was the beautiful backdrop for a record-breaking event.
The live auction alone raised more than $100,000 with the event as whole generating more than $200,000 in gross revenues. Proceeds from the annual fundraiser are used to operate the Sonoma County 4-H Center in Rohnert Park and to provide grants and scholarships for 4-H club members.
“I was amazed by the support and how generous everybody was. It was definitely a record breaking year. I thought last year was going to be hard to top; It was way over what we had anticipated,” said Susan Hansen, Executive Director of the 4-H Foundation of Sonoma County.
The theme of this year’s BBQ was “Making the Best Better,” which many will agree is what the 4-H program accomplishes for all involved. The proceeds from the event will contribute to the theme. “We will continue to do what we have always done and that is ‘making the best better,’ meaning awarding more scholarship money and grants this year,” Hansen said.
4-Hers will see the “Fun”draisers proceeds making a positive difference in numerous ways. One of the most obvious was that very evening when the “Pig on a Spit for 50” live auction lot, donated by the Sonoma County 4-H Camp, sold for $12,000. Half of the proceeds from that lot will go directly to the camp.
The wave of support was also evident in the remembrance of Saralee McClelland Kunde. In addition to selling two of her signature, statement-making hats, $35,000 was raised in Saralee’s honor for the Saralee McClelland Kunde Community Award. The award will grant $2,500 annually to an individual 25 years or younger who is dedicated to making a difference in the community, just as Saralee was.
The event also honored the Jackson Family of Kendall-Jackson Wines with the Shining Star Award in recognition of their extraordinary support of 4-H in Sonoma County. Floyd Ridenhour, an executive with American AgCredit who has been involved with 4-H in many capacities, was recognized with the Alumni Award.