19th Annual TNDC Celebrity Pool Toss
Breaks Fundraising Record

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Events

Published on October 13, 2011 with No Comments

As many as 300 guests attended TNDC's 19th annual Celebrity Pool Toss fundraiser, held Tuesday at the Phoenix Hotel. Photos by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

October 13, 2011

Like rules, fundraising records are made to be broken! And so it was Tuesday when the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation’s 19th annual Celebrity Tool Toss fundraiser smashed all previous fundraising records, amassing $338 thousand for TNDC’s after-school program for low-income children and families (TASP).

“TNDC’s Celebrity Pool Toss is the silliest, wackiest, funnest fundraiser in town,” said local hero and TNDC Executive Director Don Falk, “but it’s for a serious cause: TNDC’s Tenderloin After School Program, which serves over 50 kids six days a week throughout the year. With 4000 low income children living in the Tenderloin, the homework assistance, field trips, nutritious food and college tours TASP offers, helps improve their odds of leading successful lives.”

With emcee MC Hammer by his side, TNDC Executive Director Don Falk prepares to take the plunge dressed in TNDC-hearted superhero garb.

Superhero Don Falk to the rescue!

Superhero Falk emerges wet and all smiles.

Held annually at the swanky Phoenix Hotel, this year’s Celebrity Pool Toss featured a star-studded lineup of pool tossees including District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, famed socialite photographer Drew Altizer, Forest City Enterprises Vice President Alexa Arena, Core-a-Te-Fitness founder Whitney Arnautou, Erin and Bryana Cullen (Team Cullen), Geolo Capital CEO John Pritzker, Team Twitter (Twitter, Inc), Charles Zukow Associates CEO Charles Zuko and Falk – and emceed by an equally prestigious lineup of local celebrities including MC Hammer, Joie de Vivre founder Chip Conley, KGO-TV/ABC7 anchor Cheryl Jennings, CBS/5 Eye on the Bay host/producer Liam Mayclem, KRON and KCBS entertainment reporter Jan Wahl, Community Development Consultant Brad Paul, Tout Sweet owner Yigit Pura, author/blogger Tori Ritchie and TV host/performer Donna “Express XXX” Sachet.

Supervisor Jane Kim takes a deep breath before being tossed into the Phoenix Hotel's swimming pool.

"Please, God, make sure all my clothes don't fall off!"

"Wait, I forgot to mention I can't swim!"

Golds Gym lifeguards come to Kim's rescue.

"Quick, get me a towel before I freeze to death!"

Good sport, Drew Altizer.

Drew Altizer with Jan Wahl (left).

Team Twitter made the biggest splash of all.

Entertainment was provided by The Fabulous Bud E. Luv Show, DJ Rafa, Gold’s Gym Lifeguards, The Laugh Box and Samba Do Coração. Event sponsors included Ernst & Young and Ron Conway Family.

Colorfully adorned Samba Do Coração bedazzled the audience with hypnotic dance routines.

Other notables in attendance included State Senator Mark Leno, District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, San Francisco Examiner political columnist Melissa Griffin, SFist editor Brock Keeling and San Francisco Chronicle columnist Beth Spotswood.

Lit in magenta, Melissa Griffin, Brock Keeling and Beth Spotswood.

TNDC’s first Celebrity Pool Toss event was conceived 19 years ago by hotelier Chip Conley and former TNDC Executive Director Kelly Cullen.

TNDC Celebrity Pool Toss co-founder Chip Conley.

In addition to providing free after school programs, TNDC also provides affordable housing with on-site support services to over 3,000 low-income tenants in the Tenderloin and surrounding neighborhoods. With a growing portfolio of 30 apartment buildings, TNDC is also one of largest food distributors for the San Francisco Food Bank.

Asked why TNDC’s Celebrity Pool Toss is one of San Francisco’s most successful fundraisers, TNDC spokesperson Denise Lamott told FCJ, “I think it is successful because people can really get behind the spirit of the event and know that their money is going to help kids and families in the Tenderloin.”

More Photos

Core-a-Te-Fitness founder Whitney Arnautou.

Charles Zukow had his clothes literally ripped off.

Charles Zukow and granddaughter.

The prettiest Green Room and wardrobe assistants you have ever seen.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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