The Friendship Center’s 11th Annual Wine Down

By Joanne A Calitri   |   September 26, 2023
Friendship Center Executive Director Kathryn Westland, Mario Diaz, and Cynder Sinclair (photo by Joanne A Calitri)

The Friendship Center held its 11th Annual Wine Down fundraiser at its Montecito location on Thursday, September 14 from 4 to 7 pm. The support for this homespun event was large, with over 200 guests and volunteers stopping by to sip and mingle with friends, and enjoy the charcuterie table, especially the freshly baked sweets from Rosewood Miramar, Amy Rosas, and cupcakes from Violette Bakeshop.

Contributing wineries were Brander, Buttonwood, Folded Hills, Hall Family Wines, Healdsburg, Kalyra, Miller Family Wines (J. Wilkes), Samsara, Sunstone, and Toretti. The bar featured M. Special beer and Long Drink Gin cocktails. Music was by Téka and Alyse Korn. There was both a live and silent auction with gift baskets and experiences to choose from. The total funding net is being calculated, and at the time of this report, the gross was approximately $50,000. The much-needed funding goes to all the Friendship Center’s quality programming, specifically its LEAP (Life Enrichment Activity Program), providing music and movement sessions led by local entertainers and instructors who engage members in activities to strengthen their body, mind, and spirit.

Brand new executive director but not new to the Friendship Center is Ms. Kathryn Westland, who has worked for the center for years prior, and was invited back to be its executive director with the retirement of Heidi Holly this summer. Westland conducted the live auction and shared: 

“We mixed things up a bit this year, from a fresh event layout to new, sentimental traditions that are taking root. These changes represent our commitment to both honoring the rich history of Friendship Center and embracing the opportunities that lie ahead. We’re not just preserving our legacy; we’re shaping our future with openness, inclusion, and enthusiasm. I’m so proud to be back at Friendship Center and look forward to building our organization upon the years of experience and genuinely hard work that my predecessor, Heidi Holly, gave to it.” 

Seen at the festivities were executive director of the Rona Barrett Foundation Tony Morris, Friendship Center Board President Cynder Sinclair, event co-chairs Sue Adams and Kathy Marden, Fred Brander, Brander Tasting Room Manager Mario Diaz,Friendship Center Development Director Sophia Davis, Community West Bank David Hall, Zandra Cholmondeley, Greta Liedke, Ericka Mahboob, Houghton Hyatt, Jean and Bill Howard, Steve Sharpe, Westmont College baseball coach Shain Logeais, and from Oak Cottage of Santa Barbara were Andrea Katz, Felipe Garcia, and Jovany Guerra.

The event sponsors were Carmen Ortiz Family Foundation (top sponsor), Sintija Felder, John and Gloria McManus, Claudette and Jim Roehrig, and Linda Seltzer Yawitz. Also thanks to Karolyn Hanna, Nate Cultice, Zandra Cholmondeley, Community West Bank, Dennis Forster andCynder Sinclair, Quinn Fiduciary Services, Steven Sharpe, TheKey, Sue Adams, Valerie Anewalt, Care West, Heffernan Foundation, Jacqueline Duran, First American Title, Garcia Architects, Heidi and Rick Holly, Hospice of Santa Barbara, Ken and Francie Jewesson, Jeff and Susan Krutzsch, Kathy Marden, Amanda McIntyre, Maggie Mixsell, the Ochoa Family, Kathrynand David Westland, and Joe and Pat Wheatley.  



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