By Madeline Zuckerman

(left to right) Brooke Beare, Desert Arc Fashion Week Fundraising Event Chair, also a Desert Arc Board Member and past Board Chair, with Maurae Quigley, and London Grace Chisholm.

As the Giving Sponsor of Fashion Week El Paseo 2023 for the second consecutive year, Rancho Mirage resident Bobbi Lampros is shinning a light on five nonprofits within our Valley.  These deserving nonprofit organizations celebrated at this year’s Fashion Week El Paseo included Desert Arc, Safehouse Of The Desert, Oak Grove Sanctuary, Mizell Center’s Meals On Wheels, and Palm Springs Pathfinders.

Having grown up on a farm in rural Oregon, Lampros was raised by hard-working parents, who had seven children and very little money.  Lambros fondly recalls growing up that her mother “always found a way to find people who were poorer than we were, in order to help them.”  Because of my mother, I grew up knowing that helping others, especially the less visible, was the right thing to do.”

(left to right) Nancy Singer, Desert Arc Board Member and past Board Chair, Reggie D., Desert Arc Client Representative at this Fashion Week El Paseo Fundraising event, and Richard Balocco, President/CEO of Desert Arc.

Even as a farm girl, Lampros always had a flare for fashion, because she knew she could wear clothes to express her personality.  She would even pick strawberries to afford school clothes she liked.  As she grew older, Lampros thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of helping other people look good without spending a lot of money.


“Desert Arc is grateful for the kindness of benefactress Bobbi Lampros, in opening the door to Fashion Week El Paseo to our nonprofit organization,” said Richard Balocco, President/CEO of Desert Arc.  Her belief in Desert Arc’s mission to enhance the quality of life and create opportunities for people with disabilities took the form of our first-time participation in an extraordinary evening as a proud beneficiary of this vogue event. It was truly an amazing runway of networking, and gave Desert Arc entrée to a new audience of potential supporters. Reflecting on her tour of Desert Arc and drawing on this experience, our activation during the reception took the form of a showcase and sale of jewelry and artwork designed and created by people with disabilities. Her generosity and philanthropic spirit is a gift beyond measure to Desert Arc.”

(left to right) Richard Balocco, President/CEO of Desert Arc, and Vickie Sangberg.

Lampros’ hope as the Giving Sponsor of Fashion Week El Paseo was to raise visibility on the critical work these nonprofits do in our community, and to encourage attendees to donate their time and financial resources to these deserving organizations.

“One of the best things we can give ourselves as a gift is to give back to others,” Lampros commented.

(left to right) Bob Schwarz, Nancy Singer, Desert Arc Board Member and past Board Chair, Dr. Ronald A. Stewart, Executive Vice President of Desert Arc, and Richard Balocco, President/CEO of Desert Arc.

On Wednesday, March 22nd, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Debut Collection was presented by Education Sponsor Jordan Schnitzer, benefitting Desert Arc.  The evening’s festivities began with an elegant and fun Reception at 7:00 pm followed by an extraordinary Runway Show at 8:00 pm attended by several hundred people.  The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising’s graduating third-year couture students revealed their Debut Couture Collection during the show. Each of these emerging designers presented a unique and modern take on what’s next in the world of Fashion. Collections shown during the evening featured designers Joel Elliott, Esther Gaor, Susan Lizotte, Ethan Martin, Yubin Min, Cole Moscaret, Thierry Kepgang Nana, and Sasha Swedlund.  While their collections were decidedly personal and individualistic, overarching themes of sustainability, self-assuredness, and growth wove them together with a sense of harmony that was found to uplift audience members.

(left to right) Richard Balocco, President/CEO of Desert Arc, Bobbi Lampros, Giving Sponsor of this year’s Fashion Week El Paseo, and Jules, St. Marie.

“It’s important that everyone, especially young people, have a chance to make their dreams and hopes soar,” commented Jordan Schnitzer.



Desert Arc boasts an impressive 64-year history of providing comprehensive  programs and services for over 700 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities within the Coachella Valley, the Morongo Basin, Palo Verde Valley, and outlying Desert Communities.

For more information on how you can assist in supporting Desert Arc’s vital programs and services, please call 760-404-1368 or visit www.desertarc.org