A virtual fundraising event to benefit the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, sponsored by Michael and Misty Hammer and the Armand Hammer Foundation, will be held Thursday, Oct. 22.
The blackjack-themed event will be livestreamed via Zoom on location from the Hammers' home in the Cayman Islands, according to the announcement.
“Michael and Misty Hammer and the Armand Hammer Foundation have been vital to the success of our organization," said Boys & Girls Clubs CEO Michael Baker. "Their support over the years has helped us open clubs in the Santa Ynez Valley and allowed us to purchase vehicles that have helped to transport youth from very challenging circumstances to and from our facilities for free on a daily basis."
Similar to in-person events held throughout year, such as the annual Carpinteria Kids Auction, Rally 4 Kids, Fall Gala and golf tournaments, attendees are invited to purchase a spot at a table to play random games of blackjack.
Devika Stalling, the director of the Boys and Girls Club in Lompoc, and “Lompoc Vision” publisher Victor Jordan were selected by the Lompoc Chamber is this year's Woman and Man of the Year, respectively. Their combined selections marked the first time that two Black recipients were chosen for the awards in the same year, and that fact — particularly in a year that has been headlined as much by public discussions of racism as the ongoing public health ordeal — was not lost on either of them.
Another ticket option is to purchase a table for controlled group blackjack gaming.
All guests will log onto Zoom for an introduction by Hammer, then be separated into randomly assigned virtual game rooms comprised of a table of six people and a live blackjack dealer, according to the event announcement.
The dealer will ask each guest if they want to "stand" or "hit," said Tina Ballue, director of special events with the nonprofit organization.
“It’s a lot of fun. We played as a leadership team as a demo, and everyone was so rowdy," Ballue said. "It felt like a mini team bonding experience. I think our donors are going to love this. It’s very interactive and feels like a party even if we are all apart."
Nine of 10 United Boys & Girls Clubs sites in Santa Barbara County remain closed due to a financial slowdown caused by COVID-19 that has forced cancellation of fundraising events that support daily operations of the nonprofit agency.
Two playing times will be offered, 5:30 p.m. or 7 p.m., and each event time is limited to eight tables of six people.
“I know how vital events are for this organization," Michael Hammer said. "Just last year, Rally 4 Kids provided four new vans, a summer meal program for all the clubs and underwrote the recess programs, to just name a few of the experiences this event was able to cover for UBGC."
Tickets to attend are $150 for single and $200 for couples. Table sponsorships for $1,500 allow the sponsor to invite guests, and will include a goodie bag for six with local treats, cocktails and beer, which will be delivered to Santa Barbara home addresses only.
Tickets are available for purchase at www.unitedbg.org, or by calling 805-681-1315.
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Lisa André covers local news and lifestyles for Santa Ynez Valley News.
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