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09 September 2009

Dominic Petraroia appears in The Kelowna Daily Courier Newspaper

Farris’ Kelowna Managing Partner, Dominic Petraroia appears in The Kelowna Daily Courier article entitled, “Foundation’s Night to Remember” by writer J.P. Squire.

Dominic and Sharon Petraroia (shown below) were the honorary chairs at this year’s Heart of Gold Gala.  Dominic is also the Chair of the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation.

One Night in New York was a smash hit, raising at least $365,000 for the KGH Foundation. The signature Heart of Gold fundraiser, held at The Delta Grand hotel on Saturday night, featured a gourmet dinner, an auction and after party. “It was fabulous. … It was way more than I was expecting,” Sarah Nelems, executive director of the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation, said Monday. “It was an amazing evening. I feel totally humbled by the kind of generosity with these tough times economically.”

And that $365,000 probably isn‘t the final total. “In my experience, this tends to prompt other people to make donations because it reminds them of the cause and how we can all connect with health care. We‘ll probably see more residual donations come into the office this week,” Nelems said.

There were 320 invited guests, 30 performers and “a small army of volunteers” – almost 400 people at the hotel. “The live auction almost doubled our expectations. I was totally overwhelmed. We just didn‘t know how to budget this time with these tough economic times,” Nelems added. “We‘re aware that $10,000 and $25,000 auction items aren‘t for everybody,” she said. “We also had an anonymous pledge of $25,000. As soon as presenting sponsor Tom Budd heard that, he said, ‘I‘ll match that.‘ He‘s a big fan of matching gifts. So we kicked the evening off with $50,000.”  And then, a trip for two to New York was auctioned off for $40,000.

“It was phenomenal. That was the trip in Tom Budd‘s private plane, hotel, Broadway show and ($8,000 in) gift certificates for shopping. That was way more than I thought it would go for. I think it went for $20,000 last time, so we doubled that auction prize this year. Obviously, the auction was the highlight for me,” said Nelems. “People also loved the after party in the Shag Lounge, Kelowna‘s first oxygen bar and the chocolate buffet. We had the fire troupe performing on the terrace with the permission of fire chief Rene Blanleil,” Nelems said. “We had two DJs who rocked the night away. The party wrapped up at 3 a.m. It was a party to remember, a night to remember. There was a great feeling in the room.”  The theme decor was spectacular, Nelems added.

“The all-volunteer organizing committee for Heart of Gold headed by Cathy Almond did a truly unbelievable job. It was like a restaurant looking out at the skyline of New York City that night. It was magical. Having lived there for a few years, it made me quite nostalgic.” The Heart of Gold gala is only held every two years “because it‘s just such a huge amount of work and also I feel like we can‘t ask that much of the community on an annual basis, to support that kind of fundraiser,” said Nelems. “And that makes it kind of special; people look forward to it.” It is going to be hard to match One Night in New York at future Heart of Gold galas, a reflective Nelems admitted.

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