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Gifts from the Earth Raises a Record $273,000

Picture of event food and auctions

January 28, 2017

South Seattle College’s 2017 Gifts from the Earth fundraiser raised $273,000 - a new record in the event’s fourteenth year.

Proceeds from the event benefit the South Seattle College Foundation in its mission to support programs and students with scholarships, internships, emergency funding, tutoring and more.

“South Seattle College has the most engaged, compassionate and generous supporters around,” South’s President Gary Oertli said. “I thank everyone who participated in Gifts from the Earth tonight, including our donors, sponsors, chefs and volunteers. With their help, we are breaking down economic barriers so that all students can pursue fulfilling, family-supporting careers.”

South’s benefactors kicked off their night with a silent auction accompanied by appetizers and wines created by Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts and Northwest Wine Academy students. Next was a multi-course meal prepared by 24 of the Seattle area’s top chefs (nine of whom are alumni of South’s Culinary Arts program) and a live auction.

A compelling speech was given by South student Blanca Olivera, who immigrated to the United States from Mexico and, with scholarship support, is now on her path toward becoming a lawyer that defends the rights of immigrant and underserved communities.

“I feel proud to be able to encourage my siblings and others to follow their dreams and not be afraid to put themselves out there and take risks,” Olivera said. “South Seattle College has allowed me to take the first step in higher education, and I am so grateful for this opportunity.”

Olivera’s speech inspired the crowd to donate $64,400 for South students and program during the Fund-A-Dream portion of the auction, with an anonymous supporter matching $50,000 of that total.

Gifts from the Earth is made possible by the generous support of: Food Services of America, Boeing, BECU, McGranahan Architects, Vigor Industrial, Riddell Williams, WSECU, Rebar & Associates, QBSI, and Hargis Engineers.

To see photos from the event, please visit South Seattle College’s Facebook page.

To view Blanca Olivera’s speech, please visit the West Seattle Blog.