What is a postcard-perfect summer evening at one of the most spectacular lake estates in the West worth?
That's how much was raised on Tuesday night during the Boys and Girls Club of Kootenai County fundraiser sponsored by Duane B. Hagadone, chairman of the Hagadone Corp., and his wife, Lola, at their Casco Bay estate on Lake Coeur d'Alene.
It was one of the most successful single fundraisers in Kootenai County history.
"You saw magic happen tonight," said Ron Nilson, club board member. "We crossed the fundraising finish line together as a community."
About $250,000 was needed to pay for the club's 10,000-square-foot, $1.3 million facility under construction next to the Post Falls Library. The remaining funds will be used for programs and operating expenses.
"Absolutely unbelievable," said Ryan Davis, the club's executive director describing the evening. "Overwhelming."
The effort was the culmination of 10 years of work and planning for the club, which offers after-school and summer programs to 500 kids ages 6-18 at sites in Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene.
The nonprofit's own facility, which will be named after the late Jordan Johnson, a Post Falls High student who died at 15 due to a heart condition, is expected to be completed between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The 500 $100 tickets to the fundraiser were sold out two weeks ago, along with the VIP tours of the Hagadones' estate and rides on Hagadone's 60-foot Sizzler sailing yacht and helicopter.
All of the costs of the fundraiser, which also included heavy appetizers, a live auction, access to the botanical gardens, music and even chances to tee off toward a modified floating green, were paid for by the Hagadones, making the ticket cost tax-deductible. Every penny raised went toward the club.
Hagadone greeted every visitor with a handshake upon arrival. And the party was on.
"This is for a wonderful cause," Hagadone said. "It's great to have such a turnout."
At the end of the live auction, it was announced that $478,000 had been raised. That's when Nilson went to Hagadone, saying the amount was $22,000 short of a half a million.
"I said, Duane, what are we going to do?" Nilson said. "He said, 'I'll split it with you.'"
It was a fitting end to an event that was planned after Nilson approached Hagadone about hosting the fundraiser.
Several individuals and businesses pledged donations ranging from $1,000 to $20,000, amazing the crowd. The Green Idaho Foundation gave $35,000 from Bingo proceeds at the Greyhound Park and Event Center.
Don and Sue Sausser spent some of the time absorbing the view of the estate and lake next to a water feature along a walking path. The garden includes 300,000 plants.
"Everything is perfect," Don said. "It's great that the Hagadones did this for the club, and we get the return."
As much as she enjoyed the gardens, Sue said it was the hospitality that rose to the top for her.
"Who do you know who would invite 500 people to their home and shake everyone's hand?" she said with a smile.
Post Falls' Jim and Ruth Knepshield found a bench overlooking the estate with The Coeur d'Alene Resort as a backdrop.
"It doesn't get nicer than this," Ruth said. "The setting is spectacular. I think I'll plan on staying. They'll have to drag me away."
Post Falls' Hill Pfundheller was among those who teed off from the beach to the floating green.
"I haven't golfed for six months, so this felt great," he said.
Erik Finman, the 13-year-old son of Lorna Finman, who owns LCF Enterprises in Post Falls, bid $6,500 on behalf of his mom to win one of three Sizzler cruise and dinner outings during the live auction.
"I could've gone for any of the items," Lorna said, referring to packages ranging from a Napa Valley trip and Gonzaga basketball tickets and a limo ride donated by developer John Stone to a helicopter ride and dinner courtesy of Hagadone. "But this (Sizzler cruise) was the one he was most excited about."
Nilson said what made the evening special is that it was supported by folks of all ages and income levels.
"We have a lot to celebrate," he said.
Attendees came together for Kootenai County's future and some donations from people who couldn't attend are still expected, he said.
"It was all for the kids," he said. "Some of those kids go to an empty home at night. The Boys and Girls Club gives them a sandwich, a hug and helps them do their school work."
Coeur d'Alene's Jim Slavin called the experience "amazing."
"Everything was world class," he said.
JEROME A. POLLOS/Press Duane Hagadone welcomes Larry Running and Peg Michaelsen to his home as they disembark one of the two cruise boats used to ferry passengers across the lake to the Hagadone's home.
JEROME A. POLLOS/Press Supporters of the Boys and Girls Club of Kootenai County walk toward the dock to board one of the cruise boats for the return trip to The Coeur d'Alene Resort following the fundraising event which raised more than $500,000.