The 43rd annual Possible Dreams Auction raised $180,000 Sunday night with a little help from Chilmark seasonal resident and “Late Night” host Seth Meyers.
The philanthropic affair raised funds for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services to help build the Island organization’s new campus and continue to offer services to the Island community.
A year after the event was held virtually, MVCS went for a hybrid approach, letting bidders join online. Both online bidders and in-person attendees used an app to place bids on the various dreams.
The online auction opened for 24 Select Dreams on Friday and will stay open for bidding until Tuesday at 9 pm, but it was the high-demand items that opened on Sunday at 3 pm before the under-the-tent event at 5 pm.
Meyers joined auctioneer Sherry Truhlar in getting a bit of a rivalry going between those bidding at home and those at the tent-covered event.
The first of the 9 Dreams of Summer went to Maria Krokidas and Bruce Bullen for a day of “metaling around” with Island metalsmith Tony Holand of Tuck & Holland to collaborate on a custom metal sculpture before enjoying dinner at the Outermost Inn.
“That’s one for team tent,” Meyers joked.
The big ticket dream of the night was four passes to see “Late Night with Seth Meyers” live when guests are permitted back into the studio, plus a meet and greet with Meyers after the show — made even better when Meyers agreed to three separate bids and taking them out to dinner.
Michael McNally, Elijah Laikin, and Richard and Betsy Sheerr all received four tickets each.
The sought after dream got a $10,000 match from actor Ted Danson, a $2,500 donation from Meyers, and $15,500 from each of the three winning bidders for a total of $59,000.
“I am desperate for a live audience. We have not had one since March 12, ,” Meyers said. “And I’m ready to party.”
One of the funniest moments of the night was when Meyers teased Danson over their auctioned dreams. When live bidding started for the “Late Night” tickets at around $8,000, Danson shouted from the back of the audience that he would bid $200.
“I told the bar not to over-serve Mr. Danson,” Meyers joked.
“$400!” Danson shouted back.
“$400? You’re going too slow, they passed you already,” Meyers said.
Along with the virtual versus in-person bidding rivalry, Meyers and Danson kept the banter going during the auction for “Sail Away and Save Our Oceans,” another highly sought after dream which went for $16,000 each for two separate bidders. The dream features an environmental cruise and discussion on Charlotte with special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry, actress Mary Steenburgen, Danson, and local documentarians Liz Witham and Ken Wentworth.
When Meyers asked where Steenburgen, Danson’s wife, was, Danson said she was at home preparing a birthday dinner for their son-in-law.
“Thirteen years I’ve been coming here and they haven’t done a single birthday dinner for me,” Meyers joked of his in-laws, Tom and Joanne Ashe, who have a home on the Island.
“We’re actually having dinner with [Tom and Joanne] tomorrow night,” Danson said. “I don’t know if you were invited.”
“This is weird because after seven tomorrow I have to stay upstairs,” Meyers shot back as the crowd burst into laughter.
The very first Possible Dreams item focused on the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) went for $7,500 and includes a fishing excursion with master angler Capt. Buddy Vanderhoop, a gourmet lunch from Cordon Bleu chef Jacob Vanderhoop, a cooking lesson and dinner for 10 with Wampanoag tribal elder Kristina Hook, and music from native flute player Carol Vandal.
The other 9 Dreams of Summer items included sailing and lunching with renowned professor and historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. to learn about his new series “The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song”; hiking, painting, and eating with Island artist Rachael Cassiani plus owning an original one of her paintings; a shopping spree and custom design session with Vineyard Vines co-founders Shep and Ian Murray; hanging out with New England Patriots defensive end Chase Winovich at training camp plus tickets to a Patriots home game; and “The Ultimate Foodie,” which includes creating and naming a menu item at Art Cliff Diner (of which 50 percent of sales will go to MVCS), naming rights of a Bad Martha Beer, a signature cocktail put on the menu at Garde East plus a $200 gift card, naming rights to a sushi roll at Mikado, naming rights to a latte at Waterside Market plus free lattes for one month, $200 to Atlantic Fish & Chophouse, and dinner for eight at the Sweet Life Cafe in Oak Bluffs.
The night also featured a video of one of MVCS’ clients who spoke about how they benefited from the organization’s services. MVCS offers a wide array of services to Martha’s Vineyard residents including mental health, substance use disorder, veteran, disability, sexual and domestic violence, and family support services.
MVCS’ campus capital campaign will be complete as of September when they open their Early Childcare Center. The organization has raised $9 million in the first phase of their campus plan. Sunday night marked the beginning of phase two to raise a total of $18 million to continue building their new campus.
Director of development and communications Barbara Bellisimo opened the event by thanking the Island’s first responders, some of whom were invited to the live event: emergency department nurses Betsy Vanlandingham and Mike Spiro, Vineyard Haven postal worker Karen Mercier, Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee, and Cronig’s Market supervisor Norma Blidgen.
Beth Folcarelli, MVCS’ chief executive officer, said she was proud of how the organization has stepped up during the pandemic. She also thanked Cronig’s Market owner Steve Bernier for his work during the pandemic helping Island families in need.
“In times of crisis, oftentimes the vulnerable are most often the hardest hit,” she said, especially true during the pandemic. “We delivered more than 13,000 diapers, 2,500 pounds of food for Islanders in need. We were undaunted by the fact we could no longer administer counseling services face-to-face and we immediately pivoted to telehealth technology. Over the course of the past year we’ve delivered 15,000 hours using telehealth.”
In addition to the $180,000 raised during the auction, MVCS received a record $250,000 from their sponsors.
“We find ourselves now inspired by the courage of our clients, the resilience of Islanders, and the generosity of our community,” Folcarelli said.