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Huge Santa Clarita Party Draws Up to 1,000 Each Year

When Michael Hoefflin Foundation throws a party, people show up – 750 to 1,000 people, to be exact. The Santa Clarita-based organization that raises funds for children with cancer is recognized for its successful annual Evening Under the Stars Gala. The organization uses silent and live auctions, sit-down dinners and headliner concerts to attract people to the annual event, which has been held for nearly 17 years. Executive Director Jeffrey Shapiro said the organization makes the gala a success by its utilizing its planning committee, as well as the community. “We wouldn’t be able to pull it off without literally the hundreds of volunteers, over 200, volunteers, who help make it happen,” he said. “People in this community are very committed and they want to help. When we ask, they respond.” Each gala brings in about $250,000 to $400,000, contributing about 40 to 50 percent of the organization’s annual budget. The foundation uses social networking, local media, bus shelters and other methods to advertise the fundraiser. Shapiro said performing artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire help attract the crowds. So does the organization of the event, he added. “I think we have a reputation for the quality and caliber of how the event is produced, as well as the heart and emotion that is involved with the event,” Shapiro said. Santa Clarita Councilwoman Marsha McLean, who attended the gala last year, said one thing that makes it so successful is the foundation’s ability to bring in people from all over the region. “Michael Hoefflin Foundation has reached out to beyond our valley,” she said. “That’s very important (in) standing out among some of the others because they have such widespread support.”

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