This past Sunday, October 23, local literary nonprofit Red Hen Press hosted 140 authors, supporters, and community members at their hybrid 28th Annual Champagne Benefit Luncheon, which returned in person after two years of virtual events, at the NOOR Events Terrace Courtyard in the Paseo in Pasadena, California. The event was livestreamed online to supporters across the country and internationally.
The fundraiser supported the press’s publishing initiatives, Writing in the Schools (WITS) program, and community outreach, and celebrated twenty-eight years in the publishing industry.
Headlining the event were readings and presentations from Quill Prose Award–winner Carlos Allende, journalist and award-winning novelist Kristen Millares Young, and acclaimed novelist Yuvi Zalkow. The event also featured readings from a student from the WITS program and speeches from Deputy Director Tobi Harper and Press cofounder and Managing Editor Kate Gale.
The event kicked off at 11:00 a.m. on a beautiful October morning with check-in, mingling, books, broadsides, and champagne. A preshow slideshow featuring information about the Press, its imprints, and its achievements in the last twenty-eight years, as well as information on the event’s program, featured authors, and forthcoming books to be published by Red Hen Press in 2023, also aired on screens around the venue.
The program proceeded at 12:00 p.m. (PST) with guests taking their seats at their tables, spread out in the NOOR terrace courtyard and around the Paseo fountain. As salad and lunch were served, the guests were welcomed with speeches by Managing Editor and cofounder of Red Hen Press Kate Gale and Deputy Director Tobi Harper before welcoming the three featured presenters to the stage. Following the presenters’ readings and insights, Spencer-Jade Abraham, a student from Red Hen Press’s Writing in the Schools program, took to the stage to share her own work: a poem about love and family that showcased her compassion and enthusiasm for writing and creative expression, highlighting the bright future of our young literary community members.
With the help of Simone Ross from the Gala Team, the event then launched into a live auction, where attendees in person could bid on exclusive items such as personalized poems, gift baskets, or experiences. At one point, Cindy Ballard, Red Hen Press Board Member, bid on and won an exclusive river rafting trip, before announcing that she was gifting it to Deputy Director Tobi Harper in a moving gesture of support and appreciation for their hard work championing literature. Following the high-energy auction was a paddle-raise fundraiser, which encouraged guests online and in person to pledge their support to Red Hen Press and its publishing and literary community initiatives.
$203,000 was raised at the event with the generous help of two anonymous matching donors.
Highlights of the event included the moving and personal speeches from the featured authors on their work and the impact of literature on communities, and the role Red Hen Press played in helping to achieve their dreams.
Red Hen Press, the largest nonprofit publisher in Southern California, was founded in 1994 by Kate Gale and Mark E. Cull with the intention of keeping creative literature alive. Red Hen Press is committed to publishing works of literary excellence, supporting diversity, and promoting literacy in our local schools. We seek a community of readers and writers who are actively engaged in the essential human practice known as literature.