CAIS Community Rocks in More than A Million Ways

ShowCAIS Co-Chairs Didem McCollum and Stefani Wedl
ShowCAIS Co-Chairs Didem McCollum and Stefani Wedl

Raising a Spectacular $1,110,000 for the People and Programs of CAIS

From elegant feathers and cool cats to playful plague doctors and even three Mandalorian helmets, ShowCAIS attendees had a blast with the Masquerade Ball theme. Despite so many guests arriving “incognito” in their masked splendor, there was no mystery about our community’s love for the teachers, staff, and one another. Attendees were greeted by the lush sounds of parent musicians Charlene Chen and Joanne Lin, and then the excited peals of parents recognizing one another in the registration line. Co-Chairs Didem McCollum and Stefani Wedl welcomed the current (and even alumni!) parents streaming into the Ritz-Carlton and graciously introduced them to the delights of the Opening Reception, including a fun Photo Booth and Silent Auction.

Emcee Laura Lockwood (parent of Henry M., 6th grade) channeled her inner CAIS teacher to get our spirited crowd settled into their seats for dinner in the Ballroom. Head of School Jeff Bissell honored all the volunteers who put so much time into making the evening a rousing success. Then Didem and Stefani introduced the first surprise of the evening: a room-wide toast in appreciation of Advancement Director Pam Winthrop on her 10th and final ShowCAIS.

After dinner was served, Auctioneer Scott Robertson kicked off the Live Auction which featured a number of items donated by current and alumni parents. The electrifying bidding resulted in a total of $100,000 raised for the six items, a number of which were doubled.

The next surprise came during Fund-A-Need, when the call went out for leadership gifts to support Adjusted Tuition to Keep Our Community Together and a bid card went up for an astonishing $100,000. Gifts then also poured in at the $50,000 and $25,000 levels. As Scott Robertson launched into the $10,000 level, Global Program Coordinator Julie Farrell let him know that she had been asked to give him a note which turned out to be an anonymous match for another $100,000. The auctioneer asked Ms. Farrell what she did at CAIS and the room erupted in applause when she shared “I take your children to Taiwan.” After that match was secured with an amazing ten $10,000 gifts, the room showed enthusiastic appreciation for everyone’s support all the way through to the $250 level that capped off Fund-A-Need.

Didem and Stefani returned to the stage-turned-dance floor to announce the grand total raised, and a family even gave an additional gift to round the number up to a cool $1,110,000! Cue the dance music…and the tears of joy from Pam Winthrop watching our community astound her once again.

Though the event was slated to end at midnight, the revelers didn’t leave the dance floor until after DJ Annie Yu played some encore songs and the Ritz turned up the ballroom lights. THAT is a sign of a great party!

Many thanks to everyone who helped make this jaw-dropping success possible. (Please see the electronic program for lists of sponsors, item donors, Party Sign Up hosts, supporters, and volunteers.)