At the end of 2011, Semilla Nueva threw two major fundraisers that were a huge success! The New Harmony fundraiser in Ashland, Oregon and the New Harvest event in Boise, Idaho together brought over $11,000 in donations, as well as many new smiling faces to the Semilla Nueva family. Here are the highlights of both.
New Harmony Fundraiser — Ashland, OR
The Ashland, Oregon event quickly became a packed house as supporters were eager to get a good seat. The renowned Wilson-Rubaloff jazz trio opened the evening, serenading the mingling crowd while they enjoyed the wonderful local and organic buffet. Delicious seasonal squash and Swiss chard was provided by Fry Family Farms and prepared lovingly by Muriel Ames and Rolar Yondorf, fresh bread was provided from La Baguette Bakery and Café, and a mixed salad from Grilla Bites. Nobel Coffee generously provided some of their specialty roasted coffee, and Standing Stone Brewery and Wooldrige Creek Winery provided some delicious beer and wine, warming up the crowd’s spirits as they took their seats.
The performances followed, commencing with a standout reading from Oregon legend Lawson Inada as the audience looked on in silence and reverence. Local artists Brian Holley, Eileen DeSandre, Dorothy Ormes, Jonah Bornstein, Alma Rosa Alvarez and Rabbi David Zaslow all took their turn providing personal perspectives, folklore, song and poetry that highlighted environmental and social justice. The crowd giggled with delight as Dorothy Ormes vividly spun the tale of how the toad got his spots, and clapped and sang along with Rabbi Zaslow as he unfolded the tale of an ancient city rediscovering its roots.
Darren Yondorf and Joseph Bornstein, co-founders of the organization and Ashland residents since birth, shared the story and the inspiration behind Semilla Nueva’s work. Cathy DeForest then joined the duo on stage, invoking the audience to close the evening in unison by reading a heartfelt poem written by Guatemalan co-founder Trinidad Recinos:
Health to friends, Health to Semilla Nueva, Health to Campesinos!!! …with concrete actions we plant life and not death.
All in all, the night was an inspirational and warm experience, and a perfect way for us to share our story. Special thanks to everyone who attended, and especially those who volunteered their time to help the event run smoothly!
New (Funnier) Harvest (with Wine!)
At the spacious Basque Center in Boise, Idaho, emcee Anjuli Waybright welcomed guests and kicked off the New Harvest event. Lively bluegrass-inspired tunes by James Coberly Smith and LeAnne Towne wafted through the air as supporters of all ages were greeted with a beautiful buffet of enticing bites, tempting wine samples from local Idaho wineries, and the camaraderie of community. Wine from Wood River Cellars, Koenig Vineyards and Fraser Vineyards as well as a delicious local menu prepared by the Bourner family warmed stomachs and souls.
Later, talented comedy masters Joe Golden and Tom Willmorth from the Idaho Shakespeare Festival’s Fool Squad engaged the crowd with their hilarious routine. The evening’s highlight was an informative and inspiring presentation by Curt Bowen, Semilla Nueva’s Executive Director. As Curt spoke, photos and video illustrated the organization’s mission as well as served to connect the generous Boise community to the Guatemalan families Semilla Nueva serves. The evening culminated with a silent auction featuring beautiful handmade Guatemalan crafts and tapestries, as well as two coveted bottles of 23-year Zacapa Rum, a distinguished Guatemalan spirit.
The generous support from individuals and organizations that donated their time, money and resources to the New Harvest fundraiser made it an unforgettable evening. With the overwhelming success of the 2011 event, we can only imagine what 2012 will bring!