Our House celebrates 25 years of life enriching services with a record breaking auction and event!

February 18, 2013

It has often been said, that we do not remember days; we remember moments. Though this is true, I will forever remember the day in which Our House of Portland raised over $438,000 on Saturday, February 16, 2013 to support their mission of delivering expert medical care to people living with HIV/AIDS. This day, and the perfect moments tucked within the folds of its hours, will forever remain in my heart.

Our House - You are forever in my heart. {Photo Credit: Kaileen Elise}

Like the Prom’s of our youth, every guest in attendance was filled with a youthful optimism throughout the night. An optimism that swept through the Portland Art Museum’s Sunken Ballroom during the Silent Auction, and onwards and upwards into the Kridel Grand Ballroom, filling the hearts and souls of each attendee with a lingering notion that this would be a night to remember. And it was.

Prom Night - Our House of Portland's 2013 fundraising auction and event!

Chaired by the beloved Gary Nelson and Minh Tran, Our House packed the Portland Art Museum with Portland’s finest supporters, who turned out by the hundreds, decked out in their favored Prom attire, to celebrate 25 years of Our House’s services, and showcase unyielding support for the passionate care and vital assistance which they so lovingly provide to low-income people living with HIV/AIDS.

Our House Prom Chaperone, Anthony Stephano, A.K.A, Judith Rizzio {Photo Credit: Josh Wells}



Our House of Portland, PROM Night!


Benefit Auctions 360 Auctioneer, Johnna Wells {Photo Credit: Andrew Tweedie, Development Director at Our House of Portland}

Off the charts support in the Live Auction, gave way to an unforgettable performance by the incredibly talented Dale Johannes , long time supporter and treasured friend of Our House, whom performed Keep Holding On”, a memorable and captivating tribute to Our House, and their 25 years of life enriching services, expertly arranged by the handsome and heartwarming, John Oules, Director of Marketing and Communication at Our House, and Founder and Artistic Director at Live on Stage!

Thanks to our friends at Magaurn Video Media, Our House was able to shine light on their compassionate and inspiring work during the Special Appeal, as they featured the unforgettable stories of three clients whose lives had been touched by the love and support of Our House. Providing a beacon of light for every life they touch, Our House provides people with HIV/AIDS with a radiant source of strength and courage, shining a light of compassion and hope, encouraging clients to keep holding on.

With each level of giving presented throughout the course of the Special Appeal, bid paddles were unleashed in droves, each donor extending their bid cards high into the air, with pride, with love, and with a powerful belief that each donation made was truly making a difference, because it was. Every single attendee helped to light the way for those served by Our House, and for that, I humbly say Thank You. A perfect moment of authentic and passionate support, that will forever remain in my heart.

Our House of Portland {Enhanced Photo Excerpt from Magaurn Video Media}




Albertina Kerr Centers – They Rock Around The Clock!

Thousands of kids, families, and adults in our community rely on the services of Albertina Kerr, the leading provider of services to children, adults and families with emotional or mental health challenges and developmental disabilities.

Every year, Albertina Kerr relies heavily on the support from their Army of Angels at their annual Spotlight on Kerr fundraising auction and event, to ensure that they can continue to provide outstanding services to those in need.

Albertina Kerr Centers Army of Angels {Photo Credit: www.kerrangels.org}

And every year, for many, many years now, we at Benefit Auctions 360 have had the honor of joining Albertina Kerr, to stand up for our communities most vulnerable, and rally support for the work of Albertina Kerr.

This year, Kerr’s Army of Angels Rocked Around the Clock in support of Albertina Kerr at this 1950’s themed fundraising auction and event! This year’s Army of Angels rolled into the Left Bank Annex on Friday, February 15, 2013 to twist and shout, and show their support for every facet of Kerr programing!

Keely Montgomery and Johnna Wells of Benefit Auctions 360 {Photo Credit: Paparazzi Tonight}

The Pink Satin Ladies rocked their jackets, poodle skirts and saddle shoes bee-bopped through the Silent Auction, and even Elvis made a guest appearance!

Albertina Kerr's Rock Around The Clock

Keeping with the theme at hand, Albertina Kerr incorporated some fun filled activities into the Silent Auction section! The Hop for Wine, comparable to the wine toss, was creatively reinvented to appeal to the treasured past time of the 1950s – Hopscotch!

Hop for Wine!

Also included was the Dine and Dash (comparable to the restaurant gift certificate raffles), and The Golden Ticket (a raffle option providing the winner with the opportunity to select any package from the Live Auction).  For those guests that wanted to try their hand at ALL of these opportunities, they had the chance to head over to the “Dinner” and purchase The Daily Special” – providing the purchaser with a chance to play the Hop for Wine, the Dine and Dash, Heads and Tails, and score a Golden Ticket!

Twist and Shout for Albertina Kerr!

Made complete with KPTV’s lovely and talented, Stephanie Kralevich serving as the Master of Ceremonies, a lively Live Auction, and Special Appeal, the night was still young once Kerr’s Army of Angels had raised their paddles enthusiastically in support of Kerr’s multifaceted programing. So out came the hoola hoops, the Blues Brothers, and last but certainly not least, Elvis for another whirl around the dance floor.

Though the theme may change year after year, one thing remains true, Kerr’s Army of Angels continues to grow, and continues to showcase unwavering support for Kerr to insure that Albertina Kerr can continue to rock around the clock for people with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges, so that they may lead rich and meaningful lives and realize their full potential.

If you would like to join Kerr’s Army of Angels, visit www.kerrangels.org, and learn about the many ways in which you can showcase your support!







Young Audiences – YAY ART!

Interacting in this great big world, requires creative problem solving every day.  When a child gains exposure to enhanced creativity, instead of problems, they see potential! When a child gains exposure to the arts, instead of obstacles, they see opportunity! When a child is inspired through the arts to think outside the box, instead of challenges, they see a chance to create new and improved solutions!

YAY ART! {Photo Credit: Young Audiences}

Young Audiences is bringing artists and teachers together to ensure the arts are an integral part of our children’s educational experience, and because we at Benefit Auctions 360 are such strong supporters of the arts and arts and education based programs, we were over the moon with joy and excitement to be presented with the opportunity to join Young Audiences of Oregon and SW Washington with their annual fundraising auction and event, held this year on February 9, 2013!

As an artist at heart, my earliest child hood art memory was in Mrs. Reynolds first grade class. A professional artist worked with us for the week (sponsored by our local arts commission), and he spoke with us in a bold, but basic way about the power of art as a tool for expression and exploration. I remember him kneeling down beside my desk and cheering me on as I drew an elephant and a man walking through the jungle of my inspired imagination. A treasured representation of my youthful expression that I have kept to this day!

"Hard Work", by Johnna Wells back in the days of 1st Grade

Art has, and will always remain, a true treasure of my heart. And I, along with Young Audiences believes that every young person deserves to have exposure to the arts. But currently, approximately 94% of Oregon elementary schools are unable to provide visual arts courses. Luckily, Young Audiences is trying to change that statistic, which is why a showcase of support for their vital work is so very important!

This year’s Young at Art fundraising auction and event for Young Audiences was a fantastic success, and we are so honored to have had the opportunity to join them in their fundraising efforts to ensure that all children have access to arts based education!

If you missed this year’s auction and event, and would like to showcase your support for area children to have access to art based education, contact the fabulous Christi Crowley, Development Director at Young Audiences to showcase your heartfelt support! YAY ART!


Schoolhouse Supplies spells S-U-C-C-E-S-S once again!

Portland, Oregon sprang into the fundraising season of 2013, with the Onpoint Community Credit Union Celebrity Spelling Bee, presented by Comcast!  This annual fundraising event held each year in January at the Portland Art Museum, brings local celebrities into the limelight to test their spelling chops in support  Schoolhouse Supplies –  an award-winning nonprofit that supports public education in Portland by giving students and teachers free classroom supplies.

Celebrity Spellers! {Photo Credit: Joni Shimabukuro}

This year’s Celebrity Spellers included, our friend, KGW’s own, Reggie Aqui, Mayor Charlie Hales (Hales Yeah!), Oregon Ballet Theatre’s principal dancer Candace Bouchard, Dandy Warhols dandy Zia McCabe, and former Bee Champ Pat Janowski to name just a few!

As every Spelling Bee needs a panel of judges, three of the finest were pulled into the orthography mix, to ensure that each speller could accurately hold their own.  This year’s judges included our favorite man about town, Byron Beck, Timbers Army rallier Timber Joey, and the ever so witty Tyler Hughs!

Celebrity Judges - Timber Joey, Byron Beck, and Tyler Hughs {Photo Credit: Joni Shimabukuro}

As these celebs vied for the title of Portland’s Spelling Champ, deserving funds were raised for Schoolhouse Supplies, thank in part to our incredible community of supporters! Each and every paddle raised, celebrated Schoolhouse Supplies, their growth and success over the last twelve years, and their unwavering efforts to ensure that every child can have access to school supplies and a quality education.

Auctioneer Johnna Wells {Photo Credit: Joni Shimabukuro}

With the help of local businesses, the support of the community, and Schoolhouse Supplies steadfast supporters, the 2013 Celebrity Spelling Bee was able to raise close to $250,000, helping Schoolhouse Supplies to put much needed classroom supplies into the hands of our Public School children, helping them to learn, helping them to succeed, and helping them to grow! Way to go Portland!

Schoolhouse Supplies! {Photo Credit: Schoolhouse Supplies}

And Congratulations to the 2013 Celebrity Seplling Bee Winner Zia McCabe of The Dandy Warhols! We’ll see you back here next year, as you join the 2014 Celebrity Panel to battle for your Spelling Champ title!

2013 Celebrity Spelling Bee Winner Zia McCabe {Photo Credit: Joni Shimabukuro}



The Giving Tree

February 6, 2013

On one the most gratifying aspects of our work here at Benefit Auctions 360, is witnessing the achievements of the many organizations we have the honor of partnering with as they grow and continue to reach their fundraising goals each year.

As we look at where so many of our long-time partners stand today, and reflect upon the fact that the foundations of these organizations all began with one simple, yet powerful, ideato make a difference.  I liken these ideas to the seeds of a tree that sprout and slowly take root into the soil.  Over time these sprouts become saplings and these saplings become glorious trees. They weather the seasons and hold strong despite any obstacles that come their way.

This week, we had our initial auction planning meeting with long-time client – The Dougy Center, an organization that provides support in a safe place where children, teens, young adults, and their families grieving a death can share their experiences.

In 2009, The Dougy Center lost their home and headquarters to arson. Despite the huge loss, they powered forward with  tremendous dedication to their clientele without missing one single day of service by quickly relocating into a temporary facility where they could meet with and help begin the process of healing for those children and young adults who needed their support.

After three long years and with the help of many generous donations, they have just re-opened their center on SE 52nd Avenue and as I took a tour of the beautifully constructed new facility this week, I couldn’t help but to feel overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude to all of the staff that have worked so hard to carry on despite the hurdles they have faced, to all of the generosity of the donors who helped carry The Dougy Center forward, and to the many many volunteers and supporters who have helped in so many other ways!  That system of support is truly the essence of The Dougy Center in action.

The re-construction of The Dougy Center was so well thought out and truly offers a healing and safe space to move through the heavy loss and burden that is felt when grieving the death of a loved one.

One of the first things you see when walking through the front door to the building, and the piece that immediately caught my attention, is the copper, back-lit tree, showcasing many of the top donors to the Center that have been such important supporters through the many years.  This “Giving Tree,” if you will, is symbolic of so many things – starting with that one original idea to make a difference, and in how an organization like The Dougy Center has become stronger as it has shown the powerful value and importance of powering forward to continue to make a difference in the lives of those who need it so much.

Their 2013 REFLECTION GALA, is scheduled to take place on Friday, May 10, 2013 at The Portland Art Museum. Tickets can be purchased through their website at www.dougy.org


For more information about the story and history of The Dougy Center, I’ve pulled a section from their website and posted it below. It is a beautiful story:

The Dougy Center, the first center in the United States to provide peer support groups for grieving children, was founded in 1982. A courageous boy named Dougy Turno died of an inoperable brain tumor at the age of 13. In the two months prior to his death, he was a patient at Oregon Health Sciences University, where Beverly Chappell, at the request of Swiss psychiatrist and pioneer in the field of death, dying and bereavement, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, supported Dougy and his family during his treatment. Bev quickly observed Dougy’s ability to bond with other teens facing serious medical issues, how he intuitively knew he was dying, and how he helped other kids talk about their fears. After his death, Bev envisioned a place where children, teens, and their parents coping with the death of a family member, could share their experience with others who understood, who didn’t tell them to “get over it” or judge how they chose to grieve. The first grief support groups met in Bev’s home and has grown from that grassroots effort to become a sought after resource for children and families who are grieving. It is still the only year-round child-centered program offering peer support groups to grieving families in our community.

Today, The Dougy Center serves 400 children and their 250 adult family members each month. Our 27, open-ended peer support groups meet every other week and are divided by age, type of death (illness, sudden death, murder, suicide) and who died (parent, sibling). The concurrent 27 adult support groups meet at the same time for the caregiver of the child or teen who is attending group. Since our founding, The Dougy Center has served 30,000 children, teens and their families and has received national and international acclaim for our pioneering peer support model for helping children cope with the death of a family member.

We provide educational materials about children and grief and training opportunities to local and national agencies in need of our expertise. We are widely known for our groundbreaking grief support group model, and our expertise has spread nationally and internationally. Around the world, The Dougy Center’s pioneering model has been replicated through our trainings and the trainings of programs we’ve trained. We now estimate that there are over 500 organizations worldwide that are using our peer support group model and credit the Center with their founding.

The Dougy Center relies on the generosity of individuals, businesses and foundations. We receive no government funding and are supported entirely by private donations and professional training fees. We never charge families for our services.