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Ed Foundation Wine Auction Sets Fundraising Record


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By Lookout Staff

May 16, 2024 -- With fundraising "alarmingly down," the Santa Monica Education Foundation last month raised a record $435,000 for local public schools during its ninth annual Wine Auction, the organization announced Thursday.

The money raised at the event hosted by the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows will support arts programs, elementary classroom aides, STEM programs, as well as stretch grants for Santa Monica's 11 public schools.

"In a year that proved difficult for fundraising, going into the Wine Auction, donations were alarmingly down and the ability to supply the needed funding for programs hung in the balance," Foundation officials said.

"However, attendees came ready to support the Ed Foundation’s efforts with lively bidding and a room that seemed electric with philanthropic energy all evening."

The event featured food and wine tastings from local restaurants and renowned wineries under Fairmont’s iconic Moreton Bay Fig tree before moving to the Starlight Ballroom for dinner, a live auction, and performances by the Samohi Jazz Band.

The Miramar also opened its newly expanded Library Reserve Room, where the most exclusive wines were poured for 75 people.

“The evening was one to remember that will benefit the students and families in our Santa Monica community,” said John Baracy, president of the Foundation’s Board.

“We are grateful to our generous sponsors, volunteers, tasting partners, student performers and donors for their ongoing involvement and support.”

To date, the nine combined Wine Auctions have raised more than $2.4 million for Santa Monica’s public schools.

The near decade long partnership between the Ed foundation and the Miramar has seen fundraising increase dramatically after averaging about $275,000 during its first six years.

In 2022, the annual event raised a record $400,000 for local schools when it returned to the Miramar for its first in-person auction in three years.

This year's presenting sponsors in addition to the Miramar were Bjorn Farrugia Real Estate, BXP, Kilroy Realty, Kindo and Saint John’s Health Center Foundation.

"The success of the Wine Auction reflects the community's dedication to providing exceptional opportunities for students," Foundation officials said.

"The funds raised will undoubtedly make a significant impact on the quality of education and the enrichment of programs in local public schools."

Fundraising for 2024-2025 school-year programs will continue through June 30, 2024. For more information or to make a gift, visit

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