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