The UnGala acomplishes what others always seem to be chasing, an “authentically Napa” experience.
On Saturday June 18th I joined 100 people at William Hill Estate Winery for the UnGala, a dinner & auction supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Napa Valley. This is the second time I’ve attended and I’m even more impressed today than I was a year ago by this small but substantial event. “This is what Napa is about,” I told myself as I took in the moment. Laughter, smiles, wine, joy with the backdrop of Napa at dusk. As you walk in that old song by Sam Cooke, “Twistin the Night Away,” comes to mind. The UnGala is billed as a “come as you are” event with guests dressed in everything from suits to Hawaiian shirts, but there’s also a clarity of purpose. Kids greet us as we walk into the estate with smiles, and high fives, and bubbles. They tell their stories and why they love being a part of the Boys & Girls Club.
As we get settled, the Club’s executive director, Greg Bouillerce takes the stage to bring our attention to the work the Club is doing. Greg doesn’t just work at the Club, he grew up in Clubs across the country. As he speaks you can see the impact this has had on him and how passionate he is about giving that same experience to our kids. “Everything we do guides kids toward their best selves by embracing them for who they are and pushing them to be more.”
Mark Ibanez, a local Napan and recently retired from channel 2, described the auction packages while John Curley serenaded the bidders. The combination of the two left me feeling like I was at a comedy show but the result of that effort was an event that raised more money than any other event in the Club’s history! The auction packages we’re Unreal with trips to Paris and St. Barts, experiences on the wine train and a stay at in the vineyard at Black Stallion. Along with wine from Brown, Melka, Pott, Fayard and more.
As we got to the Fund a Need portion of the evening a donor raised his paddle to contribute $100,000! When another stood up to raise 40k, he told us about how his work as a volunteer at the Club had personally touched him. Through these stories it hit me; there are events in Napa Valley, and then there are rare events that capture the spirit of Napa Valley; the UnGala is one of the latter. It never felt like a fundraiser, it felt like I was in a friend’s backyard talking about and investing in this place that I love. Congratulations Boys & Girls Club and thank you for all that you do for our kids!
“I felt like I was in my neighbor’s back yard having a great time.”
I was blinded by Mark's sparkling shoes!
"After 2020 I felt like I had lost my purpose. This event brought me back. People spend their careers chasing a night like this."
John Curley, Auctioneer
Literally the best event I went to this year! Or maybe ever....
Did you see all those people with their hands in the air when the Auctioneer played Sweet Caroline?! That was Epic!!
I can't believe those hosts. Where the heck did they get these guys!
This is a watershed moment for the Napa Valley Boys & Girls Club.
"I can't wait to see what they do next year"
"This is going to be the fundraiser I judge all others by. You guys really knocked this one out of the park."
"That video of the kids is the best video I have ever seen.""
John Curley, Auctioneer
"I was in tears because I was laughing so hard, I was in tears because of that video with the kids. I was all over the place and I can't wait to do it again. Just wow."
This was the most fun I’ve ever had at a fundraiser! Even my husband, who's been to too many agreed that it was a total blast! Great job everyone!
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We’ll be posting pictures of the 2022 UnGala soon but in the mean time please feel free to send us your pictures by email or tag us on social media
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Do you have pictures from the event you’d like to share? Send them to us at Info@BeGreatNv.org