By Madeline Zuckerman

It was an elegant evening as the Association of Fundraising Professionals CA, Desert Communities Chapter, hosted a private reception at a stunning residence on Stevens Road in Palm Springs, to honor this year’s Nominees for the 13thAnnual National Philanthropy Day® In The Desert.  Once again, the dynamic duo of Mark Anton and Scott Histed graciously sponsored and underwrote this not-to-be-missed elegant soiree.

Over 100 guests were in attendance, including this year’s National Philanthropy Day® In The Desert Nominees, VIP guests, NPD Awards Luncheon Sponsors, City Officials, NPD 2019 Honorees, Board Members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Past Year’s Nominees and Honorees, Nominators, as well as members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Blue Ribbon, Gold Ribbon, and Awards Committee. As guests enjoyed the sumptuous cocktail reception, they were serenaded throughout the evening by the Hot Purple Energy Band.

“In a world with messages about what is always wrong, we definitely celebrated at this special evening what is right with the world and the people in the Coachella Valley who make it so,” stated Brian Daly, Event Chair of National Philanthropy Day® In The Desert 2019.


The 13th Annual National Philanthropy Day® In The Desert will take place on Friday, November 8, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells.  Each year, this day of recognition honors philanthropists, businesses, and organizations that generously support our community.  AFP, Desert Communities Chapter, believes that philanthropy benefits not only our communities, but enriches and empowers the entire global community. 

Harold Matzner, notable Coachella Valley philanthropist and owner of Spencer’s Restaurant, will be returning for his 7th consecutive year as the Presenting Sponsor and Honorary Chair of National Philanthropy Day® In The Desert.  This year’s Award Sponsors are the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and Wells Fargo.  Patrick Evans, KESQ TV’s Meteorologist and Host of ‘Eye On The Desert,” will serve as Emcee for the Awards Luncheon.

(left to right) Terence Dwyer, CEO of McCallum Theatre, Sally Berger, Honoree in the OUTSTANDING
FUNDRAISING VOLUNTEER category for the 2019 National Philanthropy Day® In The Desert
Awards, Harold Matzner, Honorary Chair & Presenting Sponsor of the 2019 National Philanthropy
Day® In The Desert Awards, and Amy Dwyer. PHOTO CREDIT: Dimitri Halkidis Photography.

“We are immensely grateful for the opportunity to join in celebration of our National Philanthropy Day® Nominees and Honorees,” stated Judi Olivas, President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals CA, Desert Communities Chapter.  “This unique reception recognizes the great contributions of these outstanding philanthropic individuals, who through their generosity enrich our community and the quality of life for Coachella Valley,” she continued.

Nominees honored in the six categories of the 2019 National Philanthropy Day® In The Desert Awards included:

OUTSTANDING PHILANTHROPIST AWARDJames & Carol Egan, Patti and Jack Grudhofer, Peggy Jacobs, Shelley Kaplan, Connie & Bob Lurie, Elaine & Jerry Morgan, and Tim & Carol Rochford.

OUTSTANDING FUNDRAISING VOLUNTEER AWARDKaren & Tony Barone, Sally Berger, Dee Brown, Julie Frazier, Thommy Kocan, Dr. Priscilla & Charles Porter, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Palm Springs Chapter, Tracey Starr, and Ralph Thompson-Cantua.

OUTSTANDING PHILANTHROPIC FOUNDATION, CORPORATION, OR CIVIC SERVICE ORGANIZATION AWARD – Friends of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, The Grace Helen Spearman Charitable Foundation, Regional Access Project (RAP) Foundation, Saks Fifth Avenue, Palm Desert, Southern California Edison, and Trader Joe’s.

OUTSTANDING NONPROFIT FOUNDER AWARDRon Celona of Coachella Valley Repertory, Eva M. Ford of A Greater Hope, Dimitri Halkidis of Boo2Bullying, Val Horton of INCIGHT, Jan Lupia of Mama’s House, Jo Rosen of Parkinson’s Resource Organization, Karen Riley of S.C.R.A.P. Gallery, Dr. Joan RuBane of International Classical Concerts, Michael Shaw of Dezart Performs, Jeff Taylor of HARP-PS, and E. Jane Woolley, M.D. of Big Hearts for Little Hearts Desert Guild.

OUTSANDING YOUTH IN PHILANTHROPY AWARD – Matthew Castleberry, and the Boys & Girls Club of Palm Springs, Keystone Club Members.


“We are so grateful to all of our Awards Committee members for the time and care they devoted to this selection process,” stated Awards Committee Co-chairs Gailya Brown and Angela Allen.

Seen in the overflow crowd were Harold Matzner & Shellie Reade, Carol & James Egan, Jan & Art Lupia, Sally & Miles Berger, Gary Hall & Jerry Green, Tim & Carol Rochford, Terri & Bart Ketover, Laura Fritz, Lori Serfling, Patrick Evans, Terence & Amy Dwyer, Betty Wolf, Tom Head, Julie Frazier, Elaine & Jerry Morgan, Dennis Flaig, Nate Otto, Eva Ford, Gailya Brown, Angela Allen, Josh Zahid, Jillian Payne, E. Jane Wooley M.D., Mitch Blumberg, Julie Makinen, Karen & Tony Barone, Geoff Kors, James Williamson, Carolyn & Chuck Brackin, Ron Celona, Liz Chambers, Walter & Geri Clark, Leticia De Lara, Jo Rosen, Jill Golden, Roberta & Clay Klein, Dimitri Halkidis, Barry Dayton, Ralph Thompson-Cantua, Sister Penney Pasta, and Sister Kennor Barbie.

For National Philanthropy Day® In The Desert registration and event information please visit or contact Event Chair Brian Daly at 760-469-8252 or    

Story on National Philanthropy Day® In The Desert Nominee Reception for SOCIETY SCENE by Madeline Zuckerman for CV WEEKLY –  Madeline Zuckerman is Owner & President of M. Zuckerman Marketing & Public Relations, Inc., a Marketing Communications firm located in Rancho Mirage, California.  She can be reached at 760-328-2880 or at