Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley celebrate successful Grand Auction 2023

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley (BGCCV) is all about bringing a brighter future to the mostly low-income children that walk through the doors of its four busy clubhouses in La Quinta, Indio, Coachella, and Mecca.

Once inside, these youths are exposed to a nurturing environment that inspires, educates, as well as encourages advanced learning, sports, arts, business skills, computer skills, and comradery.  It is also a positive place where they can get a nutritious hot meal, feel safe, and special.  What is most impressive about BGCCV is that 96% of its Club kids complete high school on time and 80% go on to attend college with 87% graduating.  Many of the alumni return to give back and serve their home communities.

It takes a lot of money to maintain the four BGCCV facilities – nearly 3.5 million annually.  Aside from grants, fundraising events, and generous donors – BGCCV gets a tremendous financial boost from its annual Spring Auction and Gala held at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa.  This year, the 2023 event committee of BGCCV, headed by Sandy Taylor for 12 years, made it once again a monumental success.

The colorful evening kicked off in a beautifully decorated palm tree-themed ballroom filled with wall-to-wall tables offering hundreds of silent auction items.  A little more than an hour later, 500 plus guests moved into another ballroom for dinner, and an on-going live auction featuring big ticket items such as a private plane for a day.  Master of ceremonies and board member Brian Harnik, skillfully lead the way.  The “Stand up for Kids” bidding started off with a $100,000 anonymous pledge, which was just the beginning of a very fruitful fundraising night of pledges and bidding from a roomful of enthusiastic guests raising their paddles.

BGCCV Celebrate Successful Grand Auction 2023

The entire Bianco family (Photo courtesy of Lani Garfield.)

One of the highlights of the evening was the honoring of longtime BGCCV supporter, the Bianco family of Anthony Vineyards, who received the 2023 Champion of Youth Award for their decades of unselfish devotion to the underserved youth of the Coachella Valley.  “We can’t say enough how much we appreciated this event,” said BGCCV board member Anthony Bianco, along with his sister Francesca Bianco-Gist.  “It was more spectacular than we imagined, and we are so glad BGCCV will benefit from all the effort of such a dedicated team.  We will never forget it.”

Domenick T. “Cookie” Bianco and, up until 2021, his late brother Robert O. “Bobby”, created Anthony Vineyards, naming it for their immigrant father, and grew the business to include Bakersfield and the Coachella Valley for decades the extended Bianco family have been ardent supporters of BGCCV.  So much so, their business logo is emblazoned into the gym floor at the Frank Foster and Palmer Powell Family Clubhouse in Coachella.

Fellow agriculture colleagues, Mike Way, a BGCCV board member, and Jeff Taylor, Prime Time International co-owners, bid twice on the live item “Name that Room” and plaques will soon be placed in honor of Bobby Bianco and Cookie Bianco on two rooms at the Coachella Club.

“It is with great gratitude,” said President and CEO, Quinton Egson, “that we presented the Bianco family with our highest honor. The Champions of Youth award is given to those who have gone above and beyond service and commitment to BGCCV clubs. The entire Bianco family are undeniable difference makers.”

BGCCV Celebrate Successful Grand Auction 2023

With a passion for education and the city of Mecca, Karen Alton (standing next to flag) and the John & Elizabeth Endicott Foundation, fund the new 2023 Mecca Clubhouse Sponsorship. (Photo courtesy of Lani Garfield.)

Sponsors for the night included: Mathis Home; Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, Honda of the Desert and Toyota of the Desert, Mollers Garden Center, Anthony Bianco and Francesca Bianco-Gist, Maureen Liebman, Kaiser Permanente, Shields Date Garden, Vintage Nursery, WD Young & Sons, Pete Hammond and Margo Ritter, and the Aguirre Wilson Group/RBC Wealth Management, Anthony Vineyards, Colleen Carroll, Meredith & Simpson Construction, and Karen Alton.

Dignitaries: Ben Benoit (Riverside County Auditor); Carmina Zavala (Desert Healthcare District); City of Palm Desert -Kathleen Kelly (Mayor) and Jan Harnik (Council member); City of Rancho Mirage – Steve Downs (Mayor Pro Tem) and Lynn Mallotto, Council member and Ted Weill, Council member; Glenn Miller representing both Congressman Ken Calvert and City of Indio (council member).

Twenty VIP guests: Cathy and Al Annexstad, Edith and Cookie Bianco, Board member Anthony Caridi and Michelle Caridi, Diane and Doug Corbishley, Christina and Leo Coulourides, Dina and Mike Dargis, Pat Davenport, Joy Dunlevie, Tom Foster, Board member John Foster and Joan Foster, Board member Bob Archer and Chuck Hilliar, Gayle Hodges, Bonnie and Mike Holloway, Caroline and Albert Keck, Board member George Kirkjan and Greg Kirkjan, Connie and Bob Lurie, Robin and David Marguleas, Board member Mark Nickerson and JoAnn Nickerson, Edward Oehler and William Haines, Board chair Lee Osborne and Nancy Osborne, Darla and Steve Powell, Dick Shalhoub, Nancy and Bill Spidell, John Trevino, Ellen Way, Tammy and Eddie Windsor

For more information please call (760)-836-1160 or go to


Photo caption above: L to R:  Domenick “Cookie” Bianco, Anthony Bianco, BGCofCV President & CEO Quinton Egson, Francesca Bianco-Gist, BGCofCV board member Mark Nickerson and BGCofCV board chair Lee Osborne at 2023 Champions of Youth Award presented to The Bianco Family and Anthony Vineyards.



Image Sources

  • Award presented: Lani Garfield