Sunshine, goats, ocean air, handmade gourmet food, and big smiles all around – by that measure alone, Puente’s first-ever Fall Harvest Fundraiser was a consummate success. It also achieved its primary objective, raising $32,000 for Puente’s youth programming.
The fundraiser, held September 14, brought 106 Puente supporters to the sunlit pastures of Harley Farms, Pescadero’s acclaimed goat dairy. Unlike most visitors, these special donors had the run of the farm – and a great deal of happy chatter and goat petting ensued.
“Everybody was just so happy to meet everybody else,” recalls Kerry Lobel, Executive Director of Puente.
Supporters also enjoyed a mouth-watering menu of finger foods, prepared in-house by Harley Farms chef Jim Harrington. Dishes included artichoke frittata, stuffed jalapeno peppers, pulled pork from Markegard Family Grass-Fed, lemon cucumbers with Harley Farms tomatoes and thyme, and duck crostini with melted onions and Farmstead quince.
“We had a fabulous afternoon with wonderful people supporting Puente and their involvement in our community. It was a pleasure to host the event and to be a part of our diverse and happy village! I hope we will have the opportunity to do it again,” says Dee Harley, founder of Harley Farms.
Lobel made some remarks inside the farm’s beautiful big barn, along with Program Director Rita Mancera and board members Laura Franco and Mary McMillan. The women updated guests on important goings-on at Puente, including progress on the mobile medical clinic bound for the South Coast in 2015 and Puente’s emerging early literacy programs.
About half the money raised came from foundations and sponsoring corporate partners, and half from individuals. All new and increased donor gifts, and gifts from donors who had not given to Puente in the previous 12 months, will be matched by the Sobrato Family Foundation.
All the money raised at the Harley Farms event will underwrite the costs of Puente’s transformational youth summer program as well as its children’s programming. It’s an essential source of support, says Lobel.
“These unrestricted gifts allow us to be the most flexible and do things other organizations would wait for money to do, like create a youth program. It helps us respond quickly to community needs.”