Open That Bottle Night Honors Donors

From an unexpected philanthropy award presentation to the announcement of a new program, a chart-topping live auction and the debut of a new app, NorthBay Healthcare Foundation's Open That Bottle Night – held on Feb. 11 – was jam-packed with surprises.

More than 700 people turned out for what may have been Solano County's largest fundraiser ever at the sparkling Sunrise Event Center in Vacaville.

NorthBay Healthcare Foundation used the opportunity to thank its largest sponsors, donors and vendors of the Solano Wine & Food Jubilee for supporting NorthBay Hospice & Bereavement programs for the past 30 years.

At center stage, were Al and Patt Shaw, whose generous gifts in the past decade have fueled NorthBay's Dream of a Lifetime program, Hospice & Bereavement programs and most recently, a Cuddle Cot for grieving parents who have lost newborns.

In fact, just minutes before they were presented the award, Al – at his wife's encouragement – was on his feet offering $10,000 to support a new “Mission to Serve” program to further Hospice & Bereavement's quest to earn its fourth star in the “We Honor Veterans” program.

“Mission to Serve” will provide scholarships and services for veterans who cannot afford hospice care during this, their last battle, explained Ed Lowe, executive director of Health at Home, Hospice and Bereavement.

Lowe got the ball rolling by announcing that the Lowe family would donate $10,000. It was followed by Al and Patt's donation and then another $10,000 from Foundation Board Member Stanley Davis. Many in the room followed suit, donating what they could. When all was said and done, the tally was $53,000 for the new program. And that was just part of the $173,000 raised during the evening.

The evening also included the second presentation of the Foundation's Spirit of Philanthropy Award. In 2016, it was given to Heidi Campini for the contributions she and her husband, Jim Lawrenz, made through the years. Jim was president of NorthBay Healthcare Foundation when he lost his battle to cancer in 2013.

Al and Patt were overwhelmed to learn they had been tapped for the award. “We only thought we were coming here tonight to enjoy some food and a little wine,” Al said, admitting they were completely surprised, but thoroughly honored.

Garibaldi painting

“What a great night for NorthBay Hospice & Bereavement and what a special night for the Shaws,” Patt noted. “Thank you all so very, very much for letting us be part of the ever-growing NorthBay organization and family.”

Guests also learned they can discover many local fundraising events and opportunities through NorthBay Healthcare Foundation's new mobile app, which was unveiled at the event. It complements, and pays special attention to activities that support not only NorthBay Healthcare, but also businesses and individuals that support NorthBay Healthcare.The app is free and can be found at Google Play and the iPhone AppStore.

The elegant evening featured a pre-party wine tasting of local varietals and tasty treats. The menu, prepared by Merchant & Main's Bob Tooke, featured locally celebrated, nostalgic fare from the heyday of Vacaville's famous Nut Tree restaurant, which closed in 1996.

Entertainment – for the second time in two years – was provided by nationally acclaimed performance artist David Garibaldi, with musical accompaniment by original Papa Roach drummer David Buckner. As the audience watched, Garibaldi would splatter a canvas, adding a swoop here, embellishment there, until simple strokes turned into three amazing portraits – one of Marilyn Monroe, one of the Statue of Liberty, and one a tribute to the late Jim Lawrenz.