Sunday, February 25, 2018

United Way’s Solstice Garden Party Sees Growth of Flowers & Funds
July 7, 2017 by Magdalene Pesch | No Comments

The United Way of Lake County’s Women’s Leadership Council planted the seeds of summer during its first Garden Solstice Party June 22.

The United Way of Lake County’s Women’s Leadership Council planted the seeds of summer during its first Garden Solstice Party June 22.

The event — held in the exclusive Sanctuary and Regency Woods developments in Kirtland — was progressive, with Lolly the Trolley transporting 160 guests to three different homes to enjoy a variety of gardens, menus and musical events.

“Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of Lake County works to positively impact the lives of women and girls through the philanthropic efforts of advocating, educating and giving through volunteering,“ said Women’s Leadership Council member Beverly Lee, who chaired the event.

Tami Lewis, UWLC’s director of marketing and communications, described how the event arose from the group’s philanthropic mission.

“The idea was conceived at our WLC’s annual retreat that was held this past January. The goal was twofold: to raise funds (to be added to those raised at the WLC’s annual Winterfest and Holiday Food Tasting fundraisers) to benefit Lake County women and girls in need, and to expose other women to the WLC in hopes they will consider advocating, giving and volunteering on our behalf by becoming a member.”

“Our WLC raises funds to support its annual grant allocation program. Grants are awarded in June to nonprofits with programs that benefit Lake County women and girls in need. Our most recent grant allocation ceremony took place on June 5, 2017,” added Lewis.

More grants are on the way, Lee said.

“We raised over $9,000 profit, which will be given to grants for women and children in need,” she said.

Lee said the garden party came about when UWLC was brainstorming over fundraising events that could be held in the summer.

“A garden tour idea was suggested in our planning meeting, so the wheels started turning,” she said. “Another WLC member, Cherie Rossodivita, and I live in the Sanctuary development in Kirtland. We thought, ‘Let’s try to find some of our neighbors who might be interested in sharing their beautiful gardens.’ I walk every morning with Karen Paganini, so I shared the idea with her. Without any hesitation, she said, ‘Sure, she would be happy to help.’ I also walk with Beth Cassella on the weekends, so I talked over the idea with her and she, too, was excited to share her garden for this worthy cause. Joni Howell said, ‘Count me in also.’ So the hard part was done and we were on our way to creating this new event.”

The Manhattan Deli provided a chef, hors d’oeuvres and desserts at each home, as did Great Scott Tavern, which has sister restaurants Tremont Tap House and Butcher and the Brewer. Regovich Catering, Cakes to You and Angelo’s Pizza provided additional goodies.

Various local musicians thrilled the guests. They enjoyed the musical stylings of Company Housing, the Larry Smith Express, Michael Pietrangelo, Peter Clausen, Fritz Streiff and Judy Elias. A flautist, Elias, played a variety of classical and musical standards, including Ravel’s “Bolero,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Sunrise, Sunset.”

Various students from Willoughby’s School of Fine Arts also performed.

Guests viewed a short publication, “The Evolution of This Garden, Ten Years in the Making,” which documents the inception and evolution of one of the gardens on the tour.

Likewise, the Mooreland Mansion Restoration Garden Club presented a display of their rose garden over the years. Chardon-based LightFootsteps displayed its herbal products.

Raffle prizes were provided by Cathy Humphrey, Betty Klammer, Kathy Krahe, Cannon Events and Catering Company, Embers Custom Fireplace and Gas Products, KrK Auto Wash Management, Lowe’s, Mapledale Farm, Next to Me, Papercutz, and Pulp Juice and Smoothie Bar.

Lee credited the success of the event to “an outpouring of volunteers from the Western Reserve Junior Service League and their husbands, in addition to the women’s leadership council volunteers, and other friends and neighbors.”

In addition to the tacit pecuniary praise, “(The UWLC) received immediate feedback by comments from participants that same evening, and emails the next day, thanking us for such a pleasant experience, surpassing their expectations and hoping that we will do the event again next year,” said Lee.

Consequently, she appealed to the community: “We intend to do this event again next year, so we will be looking for three more generous homeowners to open up their gardens. If there is any reader interested, please contact the United Way of Lake County office.”

Lee said to visit for contact information.

The fundraiser was sponsored by Arcadia Glass House, the Bremec Group, Chardon Tractor, Ecolawn, Floor Coverings International of Mentor, Frate Landscaping, K&D, Libra Industries, MFG Kubota and Nature’s Way Landscaping.

Lewis urges the community to visit to read more about the UWLC grant application process, as well as recipients from the last three years.

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