The annual fundraiser to support local schools is now online.

The Santa Monica Education Foundation’s annual Santa Monica Wine Auction has raised funds for local public schools for four years while also providing local residents with an excuse to enjoy gala food and wine tasting with dozens of their fellow community members.

Despite the impacts of Covid-19 and California’s safer-at-home orders, the local fundraiser is still scheduled to occur this Sunday at 7 p.m., but it will feature an entirely new format, according to Ann Conkle.

In previous iterations, guests would arrive at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows and enjoy food tastings, wine and a silent auction around the fig tree. At 7 p.m., they’d head inside for the live auction and a short presentation.

“Clearly, we can’t do that this year even though our event has been scheduled for awhile now, so we had a decision about what to do,” Conkle said. “And with last year’s event raising $333,000 for the kids, we decided we wanted to move forward with what we could do at this point,” which is an online event.

“The kids are going to still need programs next year,” Conkle added, “so we are having a live online event Sunday night at 7 p.m. that’s going to be about 45 minutes long and live-streamed via YouTube.”

All community members are invited to attend and relish the live auction, surprise videos and more that’s in store, Conkle said.

Officials said bidding has already begun in the online silent auction portion of the event at SMwineauction.org. Residents can also register for the upcoming live auction as well, according to officials. The auction recently added more items to be sold so Conkle believes there are more than 190 items of wine, gift cards and more to be sold.

In total, the four previous wine auctions have raised $992,000 for local public schools, and the money raised directly funds arts programs, classroom aides, STEM and student health and wellness programs in Santa Monica public schools next year, Conkle added, before detailing how Many local businesses are sponsoring the event through the Education Foundation’s Corporate Heroes program.

“Usually this event has a ticket and we can only fit 400 people at the Fairmont,” Conkle said. “But this year because it’s online, anybody can come. There’s no cost to attend, so we really hope that a lot of people tune in on Sunday.”

To learn more about the Ed Foundation, visit the website smedfoundation.org.

brennon@smdp.com

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