The Mercury News

How COVID helped to promote fundraiser

- Sal Pizarro COLUMNIST

In years past, San Jose-based nonprofit Cancer CarePoint staged a garden party fundraiser, an event that among sponsorshi­ps, ticket sales and auction proceeds would raise more than $1 million. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the group to go with a still-successful virtual event last year.

But Cancer CarePoint’s board faced a tough decision while planning for this year: Stay virtual, as some other nonprofits had done, or venture back into the world of in-person galas. The result was A Very Merry Un-Garden Party, a monthlong fundraisin­g campaign with an “Alice in Wonderland” theme that will take place throughout August.

There are nine small gatherings taking place over the next three weeks, followed by an online auction Aug. 26-29 and a raf

fle drawing on Facebook Live, hosted by Lissa Kreisler and Cancer CarePoint Executive Director Dawn Hogh.

The in-person events kicked off Tuesday with a wine-tasting reception at Joseph George Fine Wines in San Jose, and others will be at coffee shops, brewpubs and restaurant­s in Los Gatos, Saratoga and Mountain View. Most of them are open to the public, who can join in the fun by buying a raffle ticket or bidding in the online auction.

“Doing it this way lets people get back in the community and supports the businesses that have given us so much support,” said Sandi Frazer, a Cancer CarePoint board member. It has been a big success so far, bringing in about $500,000 for the Cancer CarePoint’s programs to support cancer patients and their families.

You can find out more about the fundraiser at cancercare­point.org/gardenpart­y.

NEIGHBORLY NIGHT >> Like many other people around the Bay Area, we gathered with other residents in our neighborho­od for National Night Out on Tuesday. And it was great to socialize with other people again, hanging out in a driveway or front lawn with a hot dog or a beer.

Since it was entirely outdoors, most people were unmasked, but some took the extra precaution of masking up (including some of the San Jose police officers we interacted with). But there was definitely a bit of foreboding in the air that made its way into some of the conversati­ons that we should enjoy the night out because we might be on the verge of being forced back into isolation.

Some of that concern is because of how fast COVID-19 infections and hospitaliz­ations are going up outside the Bay Area, but it should be a reminder that we can’t let the situation get out of hand here. After all, we want to keep hanging out with our neighbors, right?

SJCC AT THE OLYMPICS >> As part of its centennial celebratio­n this year, San Jose City College has created a 12-minute documentar­y short on its connection to the Olympic Games. “Against All Odds: The Olympic Heroes of City College” puts the spotlight on the famed track and field program coached by Bert Bonanno and Robert Poynter, which produced gold medalists Lee Evans, Andre Phillips and Millard Hampton.

In the video, Hampton — who won a silver and a gold in the 1976 Montreal Olympics — explained why he chose San Jose City College, when the elite sprinter had his choice of schools. “Because San Jose City College is diverse,” Hampton says. “It was an environmen­t that I was comfortabl­e with. I had friends, which I still do to this day, from all cultures because I think that life is living with all cultures.”

And though San Jose City’s athletes may have been fast, you can’t beat the school’s timing with the video being released with the Olympics in Tokyo wrapping up this weekend. You can watch the video at youtube.com/ SJCityColl­ege/videos.

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 ?? SAL PIZARRO — STAFF ?? Cancer CarePoint supporters taste wine at Joseph George Fine Wines in San Jose on Tuesday during one of the events that is part of the nonprofit’s monthlong Very Merry UnGarden Party fundraiser.
SAL PIZARRO — STAFF Cancer CarePoint supporters taste wine at Joseph George Fine Wines in San Jose on Tuesday during one of the events that is part of the nonprofit’s monthlong Very Merry UnGarden Party fundraiser.

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