The Pacific Autism Center for Education (PACE) held a Lawn Party fundraiser for the community on a sunny Sunday afternoon outside of the Triton Museum of Art.
“The funds raised go towards children and adults with autism,” said Karen Kennan, assistant executive director for PACE.
This was the first time PACE held the event. The funds raised from the event will support PACE’s programs and services that help those with autism. Many of those in attendance were parents and family members of those impacted by autism. However, some supporters aren’t affected by autism at all and just wanted to help out.
PACE runs two children and four adult group homes in Santa Clara County, the PACE School in Santa Clara and the Sunny Days preschool in San Jose. According to Kennan, these locations always need new supplies and even furniture due to wear and tear. These items are on PACE’s wish list. Attendees were invited to donate at the Fund A Need Table to assist PACE in buying wish list items. The community can also donate online at pacificautism.org.
The event cost $50 to register and included all you can eat BBQ by The BBQ Boys and all you can drink beer sponsored by O2 Mortgage. Volunteers helped serve food and drinks to the attendees and they even offered drink recommendations.
“It has been a very home grown event,” said Rachel Palmer, PACE Annual Fund Manager and Event Manager for the Lawn Party. “Everything you see took a lot of people to make it happen.”
Home Depot and Orchard Supply Hardware donated the material for the corn hole tournament’s boards. The Rotary Club of Cupertino constructed the boards while local artists and PACE Students painted all the boards.
According to Palmer, she thought a corn hole tournament would be perfect for this casual outdoor event since it is fun and easy. The tournament was $20 per team of two with the chance to win prizes.
Guests had a blast with the tournament. The air was full of cheers and jeers as the competitors played to be in the final bracket. Ultimately, PACE Board of Directors member Sarah Mudgett and husband Neal Mudgett were victorious and won a set of corn hole boards. Runner-ups won a pack of beer and a bottle opener.
There were also raffle prizes and silent auctions. Attendees could win Disneyland tickets and they could bid on the corn hole boards and other prizes. Giant Jenga was another attraction for guests to enjoy.
PACE holds many events to support its programs and services. According to PACE Executive Director Kurt Ohlfs, the community plays a big part in the non-profit’s success.
“We’re focused on building community, building that connection with the community and getting reinforcement from the community to do more good,” said Ohlfs. “The stronger we can reinforce the community the more likelihood that we can bring in more funds to do that level of work.”
Ohlfs said that they feel lucky to be based in an area where people want to invest in community based programing.
“A lot people don’t recognize the importance of giving back to the community directly,” said Ohlfs. “There’s a lot of glamour in things associated giving globally and to bigger initiatives. But what happens in your backyard is the place you can make a big impact.”
PACE’s next large event is their 9th Annual Golf Classic on May 19 at Cinnabar Hills in San Jose. Learn more about PACE, their mission and future events at pacificautism.org.