national philanthropy day

Creating Change

Reception honors outstanding philanthropic individuals, businesses, and organizations making a difference in the Coachella Valley.

Madeline Zuckerman Current Digital, Social Scene

national philanthropy day
Terrence Dwyer, CEO of McCallum Theatre; Sally Berger, honoree in the Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer category for the 2019 National Philanthropy Day In The Desert Awards; Harold Matzner, honorary chair and presenting sponsor of the 2019 National Philanthropy Day In The Desert Awards, and Amy Dwyer.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals California, Desert Communities Chapter, hosted a private reception recently at a stunning residence in Palm Springs to honor this year’s nominees for the 13thAnnual National Philanthropy Day In The Desert.  Once again, the dynamic duo of Mark Anton and Scott Histed graciously sponsored and underwrote this not-to-be-missed elegant soiree.

Over 100 guests were in attendance, enjoying a sumptuous cocktail reception, and musical serenade by the Hot Purple Energy Band.

“In a world with messages about what is always wrong, we definitely celebrated at this special evening what is right with the world and the people in the Coachella Valley who make it so,” says Brian Daly, event chair of National Philanthropy Day In The Desert 2019.

The 13th Annual National Philanthropy Day In The Desert will take place Nov. 8 at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells.  Each year, this day of recognition honors philanthropists, businesses, and organizations who generously support the valley.

Harold Matzner, notable Coachella Valley philanthropist and owner of Spencer’s Restaurant, will return for his seventh consecutive year as the Presenting Sponsor and Honorary Chair of National Philanthropy Day In The Desert. This year’s Award Sponsors are the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and Wells Fargo.  Patrick Evans, KESQ TV’s meteorologist and host of ‘Eye On The Desert,” will serve as emcee for the Awards Luncheon.

Nominees honored in the six categories include:

Outstanding Philanthropist Award
James & Carol Egan, Patti and Jack Grudhofer, Peggy Jacobs, Shelley Kaplan, Connie & Bob Lurie, Elaine & Jerry Morgan, and Tim & Carol Rochford.

Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer Award
Karen and Tony Barone, Sally Berger, Dee Brown, Julie Frazier, Thommy Kocan, Dr. Priscilla and Charles Porter, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Palm Springs Chapter, Tracey Starr, and Ralph Thompson-Cantua.

Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation, Corporation, or Civic Service Organzation Award
Friends of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, The Grace Helen Spearman Charitable Foundation, Regional Access Project (RAP) Foundation, Saks Fifth Avenue, Palm Desert, Southern California Edison, and Trader Joe’s.

Outstanding Nonprofit Founder Award
Ron Celona of Coachella Valley Repertory, Eva M. Ford of A Greater Hope, Dimitri Halkidis of Boo2Bullying, Val Horton of INCIGHT, Jan Lupia of Mama’s House, Jo Rosen of Parkinson’s Resource Organization, Karen Riley of S.C.R.A.P. Gallery, Dr. Joan RuBane of International Classical Concerts, Michael Shaw of Dezart Performs, Jeff Taylor of HARP-PS, and E. Jane Woolley, M.D. of Big Hearts for Little Hearts Desert Guild.

Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award
Matthew Castleberry, and the Boys and Girls Club of Palm Springs, Keystone Club Members.

Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award
Liz Nable, Judi Olivas, and Darrell L. Tucci, CFRE.

Seen in the overflow crowd were Harold Matzner and Shellie Reade, Carol and James Egan, Jan and Art Lupia, Sally and Miles Berger, Gary Hall and Jerry Green, Tim and Carol Rochford, Terri and Bart Ketover, Laura Fritz, Lori Serfling, Patrick Evans, Terence and Amy Dwyer, Betty Wolf, Tom Head, Julie Frazier, Elaine and Jerry Morgan, Dennis Flaig, Nate Otto, Eva Ford, Gailya Brown, Angela Allen, Josh Zahid, Jillian Payne, E. Jane Wooley M.D., Mitch Blumberg, Julie Makinen, Karen and Tony Barone, Geoff Kors, James Williamson, Carolyn and Chuck Brackin, Ron Celona, Liz Chambers, Walter and Geri Clark, Leticia De Lara, Jo Rosen, Jill Golden, Roberta and Clay Klein, Dimitri Halkidis, Barry Dayton, Ralph Thompson-Cantua, Sister Penney Pasta, and Sister Kennor Barbie.

For more information on National Philanthropy Day In The Desert, visit