Saturday, November 20, 2010

Stay Classy San Diego

For all you Will Ferrell fans, "Stay Classy San Diego" was his signature sign-off in Anchorman. And it's also the name of a great organization Stay Classy that helps non-profits raise money and promote their fundraising events.  Here's a quick bio from their website:
StayClassy was founded in 2006 by a couple of average guys who wanted to support a cause they cared about, but didn't know how. They decided to host a fundraising event in San Diego, CA called the "StayClassy PB Pubcrawl" to raise money for cancer research (yes, it started with a bar crawl... and yes, the name was inspired by the movie Anchorman). Over time, more and more nonprofits started reaching out to the founders asking for help in engaging a younger audience. One event turned into dozens, and the idea for an online platform that could empower anyone to support the causes they cared about was born. 

The organization has now expanded to 16 cities nationwide. They held their Second Annual Classy Awards in San Diego on November 7th and honored non-profits from across the country. I attended with my friend Sheena and it was a really inspiring evening. They even rolled out a red carpet... there were a lot of "stars" from the non-profit world. 

I was thrilled to meet some of the guys from Invisible Children, an amazing organization which started with a few Southern California guys making a documentary on the war in Uganda. It sheds light on the abduction of children by the Rebel armies to use as troops in the war, and how many children are night commuting to avoid abduction. If you haven't seen it, get a box of tissues and watch. It's heartbreaking.  It now has expanded to an incredible organization helping put a stop to the conflict in Uganda. Invisible Children has brought so much awareness to the issue through its grassroots movement. It's inspiring. Invisible Children won the award for best awareness campaign, and couldn't be more deserving. 

La Jolla Playhouse where I work is opening a play Sunday night called RUINED, which is about the struggle of women during the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play is devastating but at the same time uplifting and hopeful. We are honored to have Invisible Children as community partners for the production, and as guests Sunday for our opening!

So, back to the night of the Classy Awards. In addition to some amazing people from the non-profit world, there were some reality TV stars in attendance. Tenley and Kiptyn from the Bachelor and Bachelorette were there who I met at the after party. They "found love" on the Bachelor Pad, the horrible spinoff from the franchise that I'm sad to admit I watched. Kiptyn is a big philanthopist/businessman in San Diego, and presented one of the awards. Also, one of the top 10 finalists from Season 9 of American Idol performed, Andrew Garcia. He was known for his acoustic rendition of Straight Up by Paula Abdul - which he performed that night along with Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson. He's an amazing artist! The amazing night concluded with a swanky after party at the nightclub Sway in the Gaslamp quarter of downtown. Here's a picture of me and Andrew Garcia - now the third American Idol finalist I've met :) When living in Charlotte I met both Kellie Pickler at a shoe store at the mall, and Fantasia at a restaurant. 

I left the night reeling with ideas and things I wanted to do to get more involved in the causes I heard about at the Classy Awards. The night solidified my desire to work in fundraising and in the non-profit world. I'm glad I can do what I love for a living. I'm really blessed. 

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