Sun. Apr 14th, 2024


Debbie Ferrée, Vice Chairman and Chief Merchandising Officer of DSW Inc. Returns as Event Chair,
Joined By Mike Donnelly, President, Ralphs Grocery Company, As the Evening’s Honorary Chair

Orange County wine lovers and philanthropists will once again have the chance to raise their glasses—and raise critical funds—for the best of causes, as Olive Crest announces the return of its popular springtime fundraising event, “Harvesting Hope for the Olive Crest Kids.”

“Harvesting Hope” will be held on Saturday, March 20, 2010 at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach. As is its always-anticipated tradition, the evening’s centerpiece event will be a grand ballroom wine tasting that spotlights some of the finest vineyards in California. Dressed in business casual, an expected 350 of Orange County’s notable citizens will also enjoy culinary adventures, plus a cooking demonstration by one of the talented chefs at Big Canyon. In addition, the evening will feature exciting silent and live auctions showcasing fine wine and wine-related packages, plus opportunity and 2nd chance drawings. Individual tickets for $195 and sponsorships ranging from $1,000 – $25,000 are now available. Click here for more information.

All proceeds will benefit Olive Crest’s Project Independence, a unique and comprehensive program that provides foster youth, 15–24 years of age, with the support and training necessary to become independent and successful adults. In addition to providing assistance with basic needs—including safe and affordable housing, building a support network, and tutoring in essential life skills—Project Independence changes lives by providing a sense of family through counseling and mentors. Guidance is offered on decisions that affect the very future of these young adults.

Last year’s “Harvesting Hope” event raised more than $300,000 for Olive Crest under first-time chair Debbie Ferrée, Vice Chairman and Chief Merchandising Officer of DSW Inc., who returns as Event Chair for 2010. Joining her this year as the evening’s Honorary Chair is Mike Donnelly, President of Ralphs Grocery Company.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to chair this fantastic event again,” said Ferrée. “My committee members and I love the challenge and the joy of bringing this event together. And speaking of joy, it will be a true pleasure to work with Mike and his esteemed colleagues in the grocery industry. Between my steering committee and Mike’s grocery industry committee, we are bound to create a truly delicious evening!”

“I’m delighted to bring together a remarkable committee of grocery industry executives led by co-chairs Mickie Sharp-Villanueva of Hansen Beverage and Chuck Balassa of Dreyers Ice Cream,” added Donnelly. “There’s nothing we like better than an evening of marvelous food and drink, especially when it’s in service to a wonderful cause!”

Joining Ferrée on the steering committee are: Darrel Anderson, Knott Anderson Enterprises; Mark Anderson, Newport Beach; Jenn Avritt, Advantage Placements; Lorraine Bader, Seven Gables Real Estate; Steve Bernardy, Merrill Lynch; Kelly Bosley, Irvine; Dan Brussell, West Coast Hosiery Group; Mike Grant, Costello & Sons Insurance Brokers; Mike Mattos, enCards Inc.; writer-director-producer David McKenna (American History X) and his wife, Marcy; Jeff Mathews, Esq.; philanthropists Cindi & Norm Morales; author Terri L. Sjodin, Sjodin Communications; and Leslie Wulff, Surfside.

Joining Donnelly, Sharp-Villanueva and Balassa are: John Arnold, Kellogg’s/Keebler Co. Snacks; Allan Baum, Acosta Sales & Marketing; Blake Buckley, Winery Exchange; Jim Caperton, Hartz Mountain; Justis Cook, WJ Deutsch; Terry Dana, Pepsi Bottling Group; Tom Franscell, Kraft Foods; Jeff Hansen, Two Chefs On A Roll; Rick Mitchell, Crossmark Sales & Marketing; Tim Prager, Nestle Waters; and Alan Stock, Coca‐Cola Enterprises.

“Harvesting Hope” attracts many of Orange County’s top business leaders and philanthropists who enjoy the chance to meet and mingle in a festive atmosphere, replete with great food and outstanding wines. Among the highlights of the evening are a silent auction focusing on fine wines, as well as an exciting live auction—led by auctioneer Chuck Dreyer—featuring a spectacular array of luxury items donated by event sponsors who appreciate the opportunity to showcase their brands to Orange County’s tastemakers.

Among the expected sought-after auction items are notable bottles of special vintages, chef-prepared gourmet meal for you and your friends, weekend stay at a luxury hotel, an evening of wine tasting, day of golf at a country club, vacation getaway to a luxury condo, harbor cruise on a private yacht, weekend in the wine country, airline miles, spa get-away, gift certificates to favorite stores, and a special surprise from a personal wine cellar.

Donors who would like to participate by providing one of the above luxury items can contact Olive Crest’s Tina Fuertes at 714-543-5437 ext. 1184 or

“Olive Crest’s big-hearted supporters are legendary for their generosity—and their ability to turn a good cause into a truly great time!” said Donald Verleur, CEO of Olive Crest. “I know we’ll be seeing the ‘fruits’ of that spirit during Harvesting Hope 2010. We’ll also be hearing success stories from young people who have benefited from Project Independence, so that everyone enjoying Harvesting Hope can appreciate the direct, positive results of their participation.”


Media Contacts

Alison Hill 714.444.9731, ext. 201,
Marisa Aguilar 909.851.0613

About Olive Crest

Since 1973, Olive Crest has transformed the lives of over 50,000 abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families. We work tirelessly to meet the individual needs of kids in crisis by providing safe homes, counseling, and education for both youth and parents. Our many innovative programs reflect our conviction that strengthening the family is one of the most powerful ways to help heal children. With unwavering compassion, the Olive Crest family maintains a lifelong commitment to the youth and families we serve even after they have graduated from our programs.

Olive Crest serves nearly 1,000 children and families each day throughout California, Nevada, and the Pacific Northwest. For information call 1-800-550-CHILD (2445) or visit

Marisa Aguilar

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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