Over 300 people came together to “get wild” under the stars at Jumpstart’s Scribbles to Novels gala on April 30, 2015 at the San Francisco Zoo to celebrate the power of the written word.  Every year, the gala invites prominent authors, celebrities, and leaders in early childhood education to underscore the importance of literature in children’s lives and reinforce our critical mission—to work toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed.

 

Photo Credit: Evan Zhou

From left to right: Alberto Mendoza (Jumpstart Regional Vice President & CA Executive Director); Chris Stadler (CVC Capital Partners & Jumpstart National Board Chair); Naila Bolus (Jumpstart President & CEO); Jennifer Curran (Jumpstart Northern California Dir. of Development); Gary Jimenez (Jumpstart Chief Development Officer). Photo Credit: Evan Zhou

The clear tent kept attendees warm as we enjoyed dinner under the stars.

The clear tent kept guests warm as we enjoyed dinner under the stars.

 

This year, the author was Cheryl Strayed.   Her novel Wild is a New York Times best-seller, and inspired the Oscar-nominated movie sharing the same title starring Reese Witherspoon.  Wild details Strayed’s personal story: devastated by the death of her mother while in college and a failed marriage, Strayed was moved to find herself on a 1100 mile hike that would take her along the Pacific Crest Trail.  She hiked from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington without any backpacking or hiking experience.  Her story is nothing short of inspirational and jaw-dropping.

 

Hoo's coming to dinner?

Hoo’s coming to dinner?

 

Tickets to Scribbles were $1000 per person.  Upon check-in, guests received a signed copy of Wild and a map that would take guests on a 5-minute “hike” to the Lion’s Den, the area of the zoo where a large clear tent housed both the cocktail and dinner areas.  Along the way were trail markers and guides, and chance to get close with the zoo’s furry residents.  Guests had options to chase down roaming peacocks, pet a snake, hoot with an owl, party with penguins, or get breathtakingly close to a tiger.  Strayed encountered some of these animals on the Pacific Crest Trail.

 

Hands down the best gala dinner I've ever had.

Hands down the best gala dinner I’ve ever had.

Eek! Tiger! Run!

Eek! Tiger! Run!

 

Event hosts were Greg and Tracy Johnson, and Gordy and Khristine Holterman.  Tracy Johnson led efforts in event coordination and painstakingly ensured that every detail fit with the theme of the book.  From hiking boot centerpieces to wooden dinner menus to the smell of pine wafting in the air, everything was wild.  And everything was beautiful.  The three-course dinner included: granny smith apple salad topped with a champagne walnut vinaigrette; braised short rib with au gratin potatoes; and deconstructed s’mores topped with northwest berries.

 

Make it past this slithering creature, and you shall find libations and food at Camp Jumpstart.

Make it past this slithering creature, and you shall find libations and food at Camp Jumpstart.

 

Going into dinner, Jumpstart had raised $420,000 from ticket sales and corporate sponsors.  During dinner, a challenge to raise an additional $80,000 was made.  And everyone in attendance, some of whom wrote big checks for $5,000 and $10,000 all rose to the occasion, and met the challenge and then some.  This outstanding effort was helped made possible by a Jumpstart national board member who offered to match every dollar above $50,000 donated that night!  Total fundraising tabulations are still being calculated.

 

Guests had the opportunity to meet and receive personalized signings from Cheryl Strayed.

Guests had the opportunity to meet and receive personalized signings from Cheryl Strayed. Photo Credit: Evan Zhou

 

Los Angeles! This fall, Jumpstart will host another star-studded evening at a private home in the Pacific Palisades that you will not want to miss.  Stay tuned for more details on the date and ticket sale!

 

Jumpstart gets wild! Photo Credit: Evan Zhou

Jumpstart gets wild! Photo Credit: Evan Zhou

A guide stands by a "Pacific Crest Trail" Marker to help attendees hike to the Lion's Den.

A guide stands by a “Pacific Crest Trail” Marker to help guests hike to the Lion’s Den.

Southern California board member Linna Loangkote tries to unsuccessfully chase down a peacock.

Jumpstart Southern California board member Linna Loangkote tries to unsuccessfully chase down a peacock.

penguins

The penguins suited up for the gala too.

Camp Jumpstart found!

Camp Jumpstart found!

Just in case you wanted to switch out of your high heels.

Hiking boots as centerpieces. Just in case you wanted to switch out of your high heels.

 

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