BEST Friends to celebrate their 10th Anniversary!

You may have heard that the LA's BEST Friends board will be holding its annual UnWINEd fundraising event on October 11th at Hangar 8, but did you also hear that the board is celebrating its 10th Anniversary?!

In honor of #BESTFriends10, let's take a walk down memory lane... In 2004, Carla Sanger, President and CEO of LA's BEST, discovered the opportunity to tap into the community of young professionals for support, after seeing the volunteer initiatives of her two sons. The 18-member board was created in February of that year, with Mario Marin as the founding board chair.

Today, the board is comprised of 26 members, including Board Chair Jordan Kaye, Vice Board Chair David Lessoff, and Jr. Vice Chair Jennifer Searle. Beyond the board, there are over 3,500 BEST Friends in the network who advocate for LA's BEST and support the group's fundraising events, as well as the volunteer initiatives.

It's worth mentioning that the BEST Friends Board went from raising $35,000 in 2004 to now raising over $400,000 annually! 

BEST Friends events fall under three categories: Friendraisers, Fundraisers, and Volunteer events. Throughout the school year, there are First Fridays every month that involve visiting an LA's BEST site to engage in a fun activity with students. The BEST Friends also host a Park Day, which emphasizes "good old-fashioned fun" with relay races, a water balloon toss, and picnicking with students.

Annual fundraising events include Cycle 4 LA's BEST (cycling on a stationary bike) and UnWINEd (a wine and cheese social). This year, the Cycle event included over 30 participating teams and raised over $100,000 for the non-profit organization.

This year will be the 8th Annual UnWINEd and the board has set a fundraising goal of $125,000. The event includes wine tasting, bourbon tasting, and a silent auction.

"This year we are celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the BEST Friends Board! What a perfect time to take UnWINEd to new heights with an all new location, Hangar 8 in Santa Monica," UnWINEd Co-Chair Jennifer Searle explains. "In addition to a new venue, bourbon and wine tastings, premium wine pours and incredible silent auction items, this year we plan to have a special musical guest, food trucks and other fun on-site activations. We are all committed to making this our best UnWINEd yet!"

The BEST Friends board recently had its annual retreat to introduce six new board members and discuss its goals for the upcoming year.

"We have opened the doors to new corporate partners, including Neutrogena, Nickelodeon, Rustic Canyon Partners, Guggenheim, just to name a few," said Cassandra Krause, Director of Development, Strategic Relationships for LA's BEST. "For this year, we want to grow more revenue from UnWINEd and Cycle, as well as grow our corporate partnerships."

More details surrounding #UnWINEdLA will be announced in the coming weeks, but for now, be sure to reserve the night of Saturday, October 11 for UnWINEd and get ready to celebrate #BESTFriends10 and help raise money with the BEST!

For more information about getting involved with the BEST Friends, click here.

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BEST Friends
Fundraising Events