DRINK UP: Del Frisco's Grille has an extensive wine list with bottles lining the walls. (Kevin Herrera kevinh@www.smdp.com)



This Sunday, April 30 the Santa Monica – Malibu Education Foundation will host their 2nd Annual Wine Auction at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows.

The Manhattan Beach Education Foundation inspired the event, as they host an annual wine auction that has been around for more than 20 years.

“We knew Manhattan Beach Education Foundation did a wine auction that raised a tremendous amount of money,” said SMMEF Executive Director Linda Greenberg.

SMMEF took interest and began to analyze what their organization did to be successful. SMMEF took that information and brought it here, and tailored it to the Santa Monica community.

The gala food and wine tasting will raise funds for all Santa Monica and Malibu public schools as a result of the district’s centralized funding model.

In 2011 the Board of Education passed a policy allowing for centralized fundraising. Greenberg explains under this policy, only the Ed Foundation can fund personnel, which translates into programs for students.

While critics have said the system undermines parents’ ability to fund local schools, Greenberg said the policy has created programmatic equity for SMMUSD students.

On Sunday, parents and community members get together to sip, savor and support important programs for all local public school students.

“The reason this event is so important is because the proceeds benefit programs for every single students – this is groundbreaking,” said Greenberg. “All proceeds support the Ed Foundation which funds 30 weeks of arts education, enrichment programs like STEM and student well being and 87 classrooms assistants for every student in SMMUSD.”

This year SMMEF decided to add a new feature offering an early access pass for guests who want to donate extra money and spend an extra hour wine tasting. This feature is limited to 150 guests.

The event is hosted by Dun & Bradstreet, Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows /MSD Capital, Kaiser Permanente and Saint John’s Health Center Affiliation Endowment Fund, all local Santa Monica organizations. Keeping the event very community based.


The Wine Auction will be featuring more than 30 outstanding wine and food tastings from top restaurants along with renowned vineyards.

“Our inaugural Wine Auction last year was a success on so many levels. We sold out 400 tickets, and people were enjoying the food, the wine, and the silent auction. It was a home run hit,” said Greenberg. “From that we raised $120,000 for music, arts, STEM, and instructional aides and more for the children.”

The wine auction comes in the home stretch of the SMMEF fundraising cycle, which will be wrapping up on June 30. Since July 1, 2016 SMMEF has raised $2,920,641, this number includes donations, fundraisers, and earned income from investments.

With one more new improvement from last year, Ann Conkle, SMMEF’s Communications and Events Manager, said, “We have expanded the silent auction items. Last year we had about 85 items and this year we have about 150 items.”

Items are donated from parents, organizations and community members. All proceeds from this event benefit the Education Foundation, which funds multiple programs within the Santa Monica – Malibu School District.

“Now, no matter what school and no matter the socioeconomic circumstances of the families, every student gets the programs we fund. Because they should,” said Greenberg.

Tickets for the event range from $150 – $225 and as of Thursday the event is 20 tickets away from being completely sold out.

Event will begin at 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. For more information you can call their office (310) 396-4577.