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2023 Gala & Benefit Auction



A Huge Success for our Schools!

CSF Island Paradise Gala & Tiki Club Raises Record-Breaking Amount for Coronado’s Public Schools

Annual CSF Gala at Hotel Del Held on October 28th With a New Tiki Twist!

With tropical drums, hula dancers and a picturesque backdrop, the Coronado Schools Foundation’s Island Paradise: Luau on the Lawn, held at the Hotel del Coronado on Saturday, October 28th, was a real-lei good time! Presented by Donna Salof for the seventh year in a row, the adults wore their tropical best to raise money for the kids, with proceeds benefitting Coronado’s public schools through CSF. Guests generously raised their paddles for a record night of fundraising, bringing in over $495,373 for STEM and Arts learning opportunities!

“We are truly honored by the generosity of our community,” said Michelle Gilmore, President & CEO of CSF. “It was such an amazing evening, watching business owners, parents, alumni, and community members support our Coronado students, bringing in a record amount of funds raised.”

Guests were welcomed to the Luau on the Lawn with a welcome cocktail sponsored by Dr. Wael Kouli of Esthetica on the Southpointe Lawn. A fabulous three-course tropical meal and collection of wines, sponsored by Salka Energy and Garage Buona Forchetta, were served as guests enjoyed a luau show complete with dancers and drums.

This year’s Live Auction portion of evening, sponsored by Coronado Bliss Salon, featured amazing tropical trips and unique experiences, all to generate funds to support teacher wish lists at all four schools. Christine Johnson spoke on the generous art donations from The Wyland Foundation, before two gorgeous pieces were auctioned off.

After the Live Auction, Kai-Lee Berke was called to stage to tell the story of her son Abraham, a senior at CHS who is already doing great things after his love for STEM was first discovered in the CMS iLab. Abraham is currently a Research Assistant at a Photonics Lab at UCSD Center for Advanced Nanoscience, working with a nuclear scientist at UCLA, helping prototype a UAV system for a startup in Silicon Valley and is about to be published as co-author on his first research paper.

“The teachers who inspired and encouraged him, the access to advanced coursework that exposed him to complex and sophisticated concepts, and the hands-on materials he used to be able to put that learning into practice through research, construction, and experimentation…all of those things were funded by Coronado Schools Foundation,” said Berke. “Our family is immensely grateful for the life-changing opportunities that CSF has provided for our son.”

The evening then went on to the Raise Your Paddle portion of the evening, sponsored by Thrasher Pest Control, brought in over $150,000 to fund classes like iLABs at all four campuses. Innovation Labs (iLabs) provide all students a place to create, collaborate and discover through technology, coding, art and more!

After dinner, guests moved into the Southpointe Ballroom for the Tiki Club, where guests danced to island beats courtesy of The Clements Group, The Henry and the coming-soon-to-Coronado Blanco Tacos + Tequila, enjoyed a “Kinzel Kocktail” courtesy of Alan Kinzel Realty Group- Compass, and sampled tropical inspired appetizers and desserts, sponsored by McKay & Associates Real Estate Team, Berkshire Hathaway. Guests then took to the dance floor, learning how to hula and warrior dance from professional dancers, sponsored by IVT Yacht Sales.

The fun didn’t stop there! Guests enjoyed a 360-photo booth courtesy of Dr. Stephen Dao of Coronado Family Dental, a Tiki Tasting sponsored by Ken Morris, CFA, CFP® at Merrill Lynch and provided by Coronado Tasting Room, island-style games sponsored by Clarke Construction and The Law Office of Terry J. Chapko, a Wine Wall sponsored by Jessica Cunningham, Helms Briscoe, plus an exciting Silent Auction! Thanks to both North Island Credit Union and California American Water for their help in making the Tiki Club come to life.

Del Coronado Realty hosted the Annual Online Auction, which included packages and donations from generous local businesses and vendors. One of the top items this year was a stay at The Shorehouse at the Hotel Del. The bidding was fierce, with the Online Auction bringing in close to $50,000.

The night would not have been possible without generous donors including Presenting Sponsor Donna Salof and the fabulous support of Harold Rapoza, President & GM, Hotel del Coronado and the Del Team. Additional sponsors included Cavanaugh Construction, La Mer, Katie Herrick Group, Pacific Western Bank, Mullins Orthodontics, Coronado Eagle & Journal, Nicolls Design + Build, Spiro’s Greek Cafe and Crown City Magazine.

Support Our Schools as a Gala Sponsor!

We are always looking for local businesses and organizations to help support our schools! If you would like to sponsor part of this annual event or donate an item to the Live or Online Auction, email or call 619-437-8059 ext. 1.


2023 Gala Sponsors