The Skagit River Poetry Foundation, a local educational and arts nonprofit, celebrated with its 3rd Annual Auction event on June 24th, 2023. One hundred and twenty five supporters gathered to raise funds for our mission of cultivating literacy and changing lives through the power of poetry.
Early that morning volunteers gathered at the beautiful Hillcrest Park Lodge in Mount Vernon and worked together for hours to set up what was to become a truly magical night. It is indeed midsummer and the theme for this event was Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The whole place sparkled and shimmered with fairy dust as the decor, some wore costumes, and even the auction items imbued the evening. As guests arrived they were greeted by our volunteers, then had many choices to enjoy the festivities, with games, a photo booth with props and costumes, and other worldly hors d’oeuvres to satiate the appetite before bidding began. Guests wandered from table to table to bid on the array of auction items during the silent auction and then as bid sheets filled they were welcomed by our Executive Director who set the stage and the context for the evening reminding the audience of why they were seated around our tables. As the auctioneers prepared to make the place shine with excitement during the live auction our guests enjoyed delicious food from Simply Sound Catering. Chef and Owner Josh Van Hine creates delectable alchemy of his own. As the live auction began bid numbers shot in the air as quick as the anticipation rose. Guests competitively bid on impressive packages, on a writing retreat, on getaways, on art classes, bird watching expeditions, kayak adventures, a hand carved Native American wall totem entitled, “Sky, Land, Water”, dinner packages, a picnic in a park with a poet, and even a letterpress signed by poet Robert Bly. Each package and item was a must-not-miss that our guests reveled in. A break in the bidding came with more fundraising and raising hands. This time it was Raise-Your-Hands-for-Kids where people gave money to the help our Poets in Schools program – then a 50/50 raffle, and each table even bid on dessert with our Dessert Dash! One of the most significant moments of the event is when a poet and a teacher shared how much our work meant to them and the students they see in their classrooms as they partner with the Skagit River Poetry Foundation’s Poets in Schools Program. One of our poets, Jeffrey Morgan, who held a residency in each of our district schools through the school year, and a teacher, Linsey Kitchens, from the Sedro-Woolley school district. Another reminder for everyone in attendance about why our organization holds such meaning and directly impacts young lives. As bidding continued, quite the surprise transpired as a former teacher and supporter of poetry raised her voice and announced she will be donating $5,000 from her retirement fund! Jaws dropped and hands came together to applaud this generosity and principle.
As the evening wound down, our dear friend Kevin Paul, a Swinomish tribal elder and a donor of the hand carved totem, honored our evening with a chant. This allowed the whole room a chance to pause and give thanks to each other’s presence and a moment to reflect. In doing so, Paul honored our vision and our impact. It was truly touching and a perfect way to say goodnight. The culminating event was a sheer success as the Executive Director, Molly McNulty, proudly announced that the event brought in over $35,000. These funds will go towards our Poets in Schools program, our Skagit River Poetry Festival in October 2024, community events, and administrative costs to keep ink in our pens (keep the doors open).
We would like to thank everyone who made this magical evening possible. First we would like to thank everyone who attended and everyone who was able to give, no matter how small or large, your gift was generous in our eyes. There’s many causes worthy of your attention, so thank you for choosing our organization and believing in our mission. We thank our amazing volunteers who helped all along the way from planning, to procuring auction items, to donating their time, skills, and efforts to ensure our event was a success for our guests. We thank our auction committee who gave hours of time and the greatest attention to detail to make sure we had everything we needed. We thank our auctioneers, David Perry and Emcee, Rob Zwick who kept it lively and humorous throughout the evening. We thank our donors who gave amazing auction items that inspired us and our guests. We thank the City of Mount Vernon, Hillcrest Park Administration, and Simply Sound Catering. We thank our PEO volunteers, LaConner chapter – a philanthropic women’s group that supports the success of women through supporting their education endeavors. We thank our Board of Directors and Staff. We list all our sponsors and donors below. Thank you for believing in us – with your help our vision and dreams at the Foundation really do come true!
If you believe in the power of poetry and helping us cultivate educational opportunities for our youngsters in this local region and community members alike, consider donating at: SkagitRiverPoetry.org/donate/