Excitement builds for Mt. Ada open house fundraiser

Courtesy file photo Mike Rivkin, co-founder and president of the Catalina Island Foundation, with Santa and Mrs. Claus at a previous fundraiser.

Excitement is building on Catalina as the Catalina Island Foundation and the Island Company have announced plans to resume its annual Open House fundraising event to benefit major charitable efforts on the island at the historic home on Mount Ada.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to bring everyone back together,” said Hague, “and do so for such a really good cause,” he said. They are especially happy to have the Long Beach duo of “The Bierman Brothers” coming in to perform at the event, scheduled from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

Spokesman Cliff Hague announced that the beneficiaries for this year’s event are the Avalon Rotary Club and the Woman’s Foundation working with Avalon schools.

According to Hague, “the Avalon Rotary Club does a lot of community service in Avalon with the motto ‘Service above Self’,” he said, and they “organize and sponsor the Interact youth leadership program at Avalon School, and provide scholarships for Avalon School graduates.”

Others on the island say the resumption of the Foundation event is especially timely.

Alison Rusack, Chair of the Catalina Island Company, said hosting the fundraising event at the Mt. Ada home built by her great grandparents would make them proud of the way it is still being utilized.

“I’m sure my great-grandparents would be proud that, a century after they built it, their much-loved Avalon home is not only still in use, but also being shared by so many members of the community this holiday season. They loved great get-togethers—and I’m sure they’d have big smiles knowing that Mt. Ada is welcoming Avalon neighbors to such a beautiful and fun gathering,” she said.

“This is such a great opportunity to bring the community together again. Avalon is a wonderful place, and the Foundation is very pleased to support programs that foster community spirit, improve our community’s quality of life, and in particular, help our Avalon School and it’s new leadership in their efforts to excel,” said Mike Rivkin, Co-Founder and President, Catalina Island Foundation (CIF):

“It’s the 100th anniversary of Mt. Ada, the original Wrigley home in Avalon, and there will be a big birthday cake and ceremony around 5:00 p.m. at the Open House to celebrate this wonderful milestone,” said Roberto Perico, Senior Vice President of Hospitality for the Catalina Island Company.

According to Janeece Lowder, President of the Catalina Island Women’s Forum, “we’re working hard with Rotary to put together raffle and silent auction items for the Open House. We’ll have some great things to help raise funds for our community, so we hope the attendees buy lots of raffle tickets and bid high and bid often.”

Lola DiMiele, an Avalon Rotarian and head of Rotary’s Interact Program at Avalon School, said she too is looking forward to the event because the proceeds can do so much good in the community.

“We have such a great group of Interact kids at the high school, and I’m so proud of them. They learn leadership and organizational skills, as well as the value of volunteering. They’ll be helping at the Open House, selling raffle tickets, greeting visitors, and distributing cookies,” said DiMiele.

“And to make it even more convenient to purchase wristbands, you can also text either Janeece (949-584-5765) or me (310-510-2788), and meet us at work or somewhere in town,” she said.

“We need more cookie bakers,” said Lori Montgomery, cookie coordinator for the event (DaveLoriM@gmail.com). “Please email me if you can provide a batch or two for the Open House,” she said.

Hague said the Catalina Island Foundation also supports local community nonprofits and is focused on supporting the school and its students.

One of its main programs is the Santa Catalina Island Fund, which supports college prep, SAT tutoring, and life skills instruction, enabling more than 200 of our Avalon kids to achieve their dream of a college education.

Of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus are confirmed, he said, as the Mt. Ada open house promises to usher in the holidays with fun, holiday music and tremendous island fellowship.

Special arrangements have been made for taxis to run from 1:30 – 6:30 p.m. at $2 each way, to and from the Plaza and the Inn during the event, he said.

Also, said Hague, anyone interested in volunteering for the event, please contact Cliff Hague (cliffrider@mac.com).