BASIC Fundraiser, Lives Changed


Last updated 2/20/2020 at 11:36am

Thanks to an amazingly successful, tightly coordinated effort at de Anza Desert Club on Jan. 31 for the Basic Assistance to Students in the Community scholarship program here in Borrego Springs, proceeds from a golf tournament, dinner, silent auction, live auction, and other fundraising activities mean that lives of even more Borrego students will soon be changed forever.

Starting earlier in the afternoon out on the de Anza golf course, it was a perfect day for 31 participants in foursomes to play a round of golf in the annual tournament.

Using a scramble format to keep the game moving, the fairways were in top shape, the greens fast and true, and the sand traps were playable. The winning foursome of Paul White, Rusty Jones, Jan White, and Tim Crutchfield shot an amazing 10-under par, earning each of them a gift certificate at the pro shop; Paul also was closest to the pin (KP) on one of the par-3s for an additional gift certificate.

Our rapid-fire auctioneer extraordinaire Tim White, BASIC's Summer Learning Academy Administrator, also got in on the gift certificate action with Tim and his assistant golf coach Paul Taylor, plus golf team members Even Padilla and Moses Garcia, finishing third in the golf tournament, with White also winning a KP certificate of his own on another par-3. Unfortunately, no one aced the third hole, a 180-yard par-3, to win $10,000, but there's always next year.

At the dinner, de Anza Desert Club, Chef Vincent Cavalli served up a baked chicken-mashed potato-vegetable delight and with a secret sauce beyond delicious.

Laura Alcaraz was on hand at the dinner-auction event to attest to the benefits afforded her daughter, also named Laura, now well on her way to a Master's Degree at San Francisco State University this coming May; her brother Fernando, also participating in the BASIC program, spoke at the dinner fundraiser on how it is changing his life for the better.

In another testimonial, Elaine Tulving spoke about how her son Eric used the funding from BASIC to attain a bachelor's degree and become a pilot.

Another student in the program, Keylly Lopez, who graduated in 2019, was scheduled to speak on how BASIC has helped her, but was unable to attend the event.

Then it was time for the live auction where 10 items went up for bid. Barbara Coates began by thanking all the businesses who support the BASIC program, giving special kudos to Borrego Outfitters and to Jim and Anne Wermers. "Supporting our kids matters," she said.

Deichler and White split the auctioneer duties into a promotion by "Mouthy Martha" as she referred to herself, and the auction-ese used by Tim to up the bidding to numbered paddle-holders. First up on the auction block was a case of Barr Estate wines, valued at $500, that went to winning bidder Jessie Cardens for $1,000. What a great way to start off.

Bidding was lively for nearly all items, including a ski trip to Park City, Utah, eventually bringing in $1,550; a group of six will be spending three hours at the San Diego Zoo, including a behind-the-scenes tour; another group will be staying at a lovely ocean-front home in Maine for a week; Sun publisher Patrick Meehan now has a Ron Egelund oil painting to hang at his Borrego Airport restaurant, The Propeller, which will be "opening soon," he says; a half-dozen folks will enjoy the airport-adjacent Pilot House for two nights; a group will spend an entire week in a Lilac Park chalet the Sierra Nevada Mountains for the bargain price of $1,700; and for the folks who want to stay local for a weekend, there was the Copley Estate "Happy Days Residence" that rose in bidding price to an eventual $1,500.

Last on the list of formal auction items came as a surprise to everyone. It was a starring role in a short play next season to be written specifically to the character and disposition of the winning bidder, offered by Sun reporter Michael Sadler, who is also a playwright and director.

The opening bid of $250 was quickly raised, and re-raised, and raised again until it reached $750.

The bidding war between Urmi Ray and David Liebert ended with a compromise – Michael would write a two to three minute play for both of them if they each donated $750 to the BASIC program. Done.

But that wasn't the end of it, because Martha Deichler and her friend El Sheldon said they would also donate $1,500 to BASIC if Michael would write a short play just for them. Done. What is the price of stardom? $3,000 seemed to do it, and for a very worthy cause. To close the auction event, Deichler used her skills at persuasion to great advantage, getting folks to pledge about $4,000 in cash towards the BASIC program.

With more private donations pouring in every day ($1,000 so far), plus pledges made for BASIC that will arrive later, plus $14,000 from the live auction, $11,000 from golf and dinner reservations, $2,800 from hole sponsors, plus the funds raised from 53 items from the silent auction, the total BASIC fundraising gross came to about $40,000! What a night.

The success of the entire fundraising event, from Golf to clubhouse decorations to dinner and dessert, was made possible by the incredible time put into the effort, first by virtually every BASIC Board Member (Barbara Coates, Curt Yaws, Joanne Ingwall, Sharon Goldsmith, Jacq Goodrich, Lorry Seagram, Martha Deichler, Urmi Ray, Angela Cassidy, Joann Stang, Andrea Taylor, Sue Vescera, and Vickie Mercer), but especially the uncounted hours of time and effort by the Planning and Leadership committee members, made up of Caroline Manildi, Urmi Ray, Mary Watkins, Marcia Knutt, and Joanne Ingwall.

"It certainly takes a village to pull off such a successful event," Ingwall said.