L.A. Private School Party Books


VP Gala 2016


It’s spring and that means Gala and Party Book season at Los Angeles private schools. Most L.A. private schools host an Auction or Gala fundraiser, followed by separate parties hosted by families at the school. The Party Book is a popular way for the school to raise money after the Gala is over. Anybody can join in the Party Book fun or you can host one yourself if you’re willing to cover the costs of the event. I co-hosted one of these events at our former school (The Willows) and it was a lot of fun–a dance class followed by lunch. I’ve also been to a lot of them, some for grown-ups and others with my kids. These are always some of my favorite events. Depending on the school, Party Book events can be very fancy or low-key (of course, “low-key” has it’s own definition in the world of L.A. private schools). Take your pick!


Here are a few Party Book events from private schools around L.A.


Wildwood School:

#04 – Hollywood Hills Dinner Party

Dinner party featuring “Entertainologist” celebrity chef Lulu Powers, for a 3-course gourmet meal, dessert buffet, and specialty cocktails in the home of very, very high net worth family* in the former home of Liberace!. Special musical performances on Liberace’s wacky and magnificent Pipe Organ. Cocktail attire please. $200 per person.


Brentwood School:

#115 Sinskey Wine Dinner at the Belushi Home

Jim and Jenny Belushi host an evening of gourmet food and wine at their home. Sample delicious wines from the award-winning Robert Sinskey Vineyards and enjoy a delectable gourmet meal. It is sure to be a night you will never forget! This event will be held on an evening in the spring. $250 per person. See the full list of Brentwood School parties here. 


Viewpoint School:

Ladies’ Sunset Drinks at the Beach
Put on your jeans and flip flops and join us at The Beach Club for ladies’ sunset margaritas and guacamole. Plenty of other nibbles and drinks for us all to enjoy over great conversation and a stunning view. At The Beach Club, Santa Monica. $75 per person. This sounds so fun! To see more Viewpoint Party Book events, click here.


Oakwood School:


The “Oakwood Open” is back! Throw on your tennis duds and join your hosts on the court for a tennis clinic that is fast, fun, and fierce. We can’t promise to turn you into Serena or Roger, but in 90 minutes, two of the LA Tennis Club’s senior pros will give you tips and drills for taking your game to the next level. We’ll even reward your hard work with tasty snacks and refreshing beverages after the clinic, and you can talk about all your amazing shots at the net! $85 per person.


Join Nancy Carell at EATZ, LA’s coolest spot for cooking classes, and learn all about farm-to-table cuisine. What’s in season and why is cooking seasonal and locally grown produce tastier AND healthier? In this class, you’ll learn simple cooking techniques that will allow you to approach vegetables of any kind with confidence. You’ll also learn how to prepare your veggies so that they retain the most nutrients. If you want to improve your enjoyment and success cooking vegetables, don’t miss this fun evening! Class includes wine/cocktails and a hefty supply of leftovers. $100 per person. To see more Oakwood School parties, click here.


Center For Early Education:

#202 Family Day at the Beach (Club)

Summer starts early at this fabulous family party. All the fun of a day at the beach without any of the hassles of planning, packing or parking. This day at the Jonathan Beach Club is sure to be fun for all ages: Coach Samir, a bounce house, kid-friendly lunch, adult beverages. So, come and hit the waves, or just kick back and let the kids bounce the day away! $100 per person. For more Center For Early Education parties, click here.

#703 Ojai Slumber Party

This one is for the ladies! You worked hard all year, and now it’s time to relax and let off some steam at this super chill girls’ night with other CEE moms at CEE mom’s* Ojai country house. Your hosts will guide you on a gorgeous sunset hike, and then you’ll enjoy appetizers, dinner and wine. This casual party has all the makings of a campout – games, s’mores, karaoke, and swimming (weather permitting) – without the actual camping part! You’ll wake up in the morning and have a lovely breakfast send-off. You’ll remember this amazing night long after your drive home! $500 per person.


 *names and identifying details changed


Don’t miss a thing! Like Beyond The Brochure on Facebook

Related Posts

  • 61
    This post was previously published on September 13, 2013     When my daughter was in 1st grade, I co-chaired the auction at The Willows School. This is the school’s biggest annual fundraiser and I knew it would be a lot of work. So, I was thrilled when I found out who my co-chairs would…
    Tags: school, will, private, schools, l.a, angeles, los, auctions
  • 60
    There is absolutely no way any of us mere mortals would be able to compete with Beyonce and Jay Z for a spot at The Center For Early Education. No way. The school held its annual gala fundraiser where Beyonce performed, paying tribute to Reveta Bowers, the legendary head of school, who is retiring this…
    Tags: school, l.a, private, gala, early, auctions, los, angeles, schools
  • 56
      Hi Friends! Happy Summer! Hope you're enjoying our hot summer here in L.A. We just returned from my son's basketball tournament in Las Vegas where it hit 113 degrees. That's just too hot! I posted the team's photo on Beyond The Brochure's Facebook page. If you're reading this post, you are probably anticipating the…
    Tags: schools, school, private, angeles, los
  • 56
    This is the BIG WEEK. Finally after months of waiting, schools will notify parents about elementary school admissions decisions on Friday, March 18. If you applied for secondary school, or if you applied to Pasadena schools, you most likely found out yesterday.  Friday is the BIG DAY for L.A., you been waiting for since you…
    Tags: school, schools, private, los, angeles

Read More

Are You Fundraising For Your Kid’s Private School? Read on!

Auction Items

When my daughter was in 1st grade, I co-chaired the auction at The Willows School. This is the school’s biggest annual fundraiser and I knew it would be a lot of work. So, I was thrilled when I found out who my co-chairs would be. They were a talented group of professionals who had skills beyond my wildest dreams. We worked together for about nine months from start to finish. When the event was over and the totals were tallied we raised more than $200,000. It was like a full-time job for many of us and at times our nerves frayed, we argued and stress took over. Yet in the end, the event was lovely and successful. We took risks by moving the event to a new venue.  We solicited items the school had never auctioned previously. We drank, bid, ate and partied the night of the auction. A fun time was had by all.


Here’s what I learned.

  • School auctions (private and public) range from fancy to low-key and everything in between.
  • Create a great theme and tagline and use to brand the event by ensuring that all materials related to the event carry the theme throughout. 
  • Use a professional graphic designer for the invitation and collateral materials. If you don’t have one at your school, inquire if there are any parents with expertise or contacts in this area. 
  • Don’t be afraid to try new ideas. Fundraising is about what has worked in the past and fun, new ideas. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does need to be professional and uncomplicated.
  • Look at the websites of schools similar to yours. What type of auctions/galas have they done? There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to fundraising. Best practices are very useful for school auctions.
A live auction item from the year I co-chaired Willows School auction
Live auction item
  • Create a schedule that takes you from the current date through the date of the event. Stick to it. Schedule regular committee meetings. Keep an online folder and binder of all your materials (this can be given to the next parent who chairs the event).
  • Make a list of what the school will not accept for donations (used items, etc.). Otherwise, your auctions risks becoming a dumping place for items that have been stored in somebody’s garage for the past decade. This isn’t a garage sale!
  • Start soliciting auction items by putting together a team of experienced volunteers who have been successful in past years.
  • Find the best person to ask a family for a donation if it’s not you. Often being asked by a friend means the difference between a ‘yes’ and an unreturned call.
  • Start by asking for donations from the vendors where you shop–and ask well in advance of your event. You’ll be surprised how willing they are to help their customers.
  • Learn what will/will not sell at your school. Restaurant gift cards are always a hit. Professional services are a harder sell. Include a mix of high end and affordable items so everyone will come and shop! Don’t accept junk like used shoes, even if they are designer. It lowers the quality of your auction.
Live auction item
Live auction item
  • Party Books are a fabulous way to raise money. These are parent-hosted events like dinner parties, wine tastings, lunch events, kids events that each attendee pays to attend and the proceeds benefit the school.
  • Avoid offers of discounted items and used items. You want full donations and new good.
  • Create a compelling, professional letter with the school’s letterhead and all the information a donor will need.
  • Review the school’s database of donors (if it exists). If not, create a list of potential businesses, friends of the school that you will solicit by mail, email and in person.
  • Book your event location as far in advance as possible.
  • Consider how you will publicize the event to school parents and stakeholders like alumni. What’s the best way to reach them? How many times will you contact them about the event?
  • Create a website, private Facebook Group or a page on the school’s website for all auction information (donation forms, volunteers needed, event date, location, items needed, etc.). Make it easy for parents to find information about the event!
  • There are good software programs specifically for school auctions/fundraisers.
  • Remember that you’re a volunteer and so is the committee. If you get overwhelmed, ask the school for more volunteers.
  • Be kind to volunteers who donate and solicit items, even if the donation is not what you hoped for.
  • Have fun, meet friends, work hard and relax when the event is over.


Here’s my post about private school galas on The Daily Truffle. (Also published on The Huffington Post.)


Check out A Mom’s Guide To School Fundraising. Sarah Barrett, an experienced mom, covers everything from lemonade stands and bake sales to auctions. And, she has an AUCTION SUCCESS KIT!

Related Posts

Read More

Private School Auctions: Family Paid $50K For Kindergarten Art Project, Now Suing NYC School


Who doesn't love their kid's art?
Who doesn’t love their kid’s art? My son made this and I think its priceless.

When I co-chaired the Willows School auction, the night of the event, bidding went very well, exceeding our expectations. Wine was flowing and parents were having fun. As the night went on, a dad at our table had a bit too much to drink and spilled a bottle of champagne all over the table without even noticing. Lucikly, I didn’t get wet. My husband sweetly bought me a pair of diamond earrings I really “needed.” There was proxy bidding, but nothing got out of control. Bidding for popular items was spirited and the competition was friendly.


At school auctions, parents who purchased a big-ticket item occasionally get buyer’s remorse and try to avoid picking up the item. The event co-chairs discreetly encourage the buyer to pick up the item or they find another buyer. Sometimes the project involved is a kid’s class art project and the buyer decided that $5K is too much for little Lulu and her classmates’ self-portraits. I can’t imagine bidding for a class project going so wrong it ends up in a lawsuit! But, then again, $50K for a kindergarten art project is on the high side…


This is a must-read story about an expensive NYC private elementary school auction involving a proxy bidder who spent $50K of a wealthy family’s money on an over-priced kindergarten art project. The parents are suing the school and removed their kid.

Click on link below for story:

Wealthy Parents Sue NYC Private School Claiming They Were Tricked Into Buying $50K Kindergarten Fingerpainting. (Yahoo)

Read More

Fund(rais)ing L.A.’s Private Elementary Schools on The Daily Truffle and Huffington Post*

I’m so thrilled to be guest blogging over at The Daily Truffleone of my favorite sites. The site is written by private school graduates from L.A. (Harvard-Westlake, John Thomas Dye and others) and calls itself A Los Angeles Social Diary. – Christina Simon


Here’s an excerpt of my piece :

Springtime in L.A. is the season when private grade schools host auctions, gala events, and swank soirees at fancy hotels, studio lots, and LA country clubs designed to raise additional funds to pad the $25,000 base fee of sending kids to ‘John Dye’, Buckley, Curtis, the ‘Center’ and all the other early educational top LA tickets.


That might sound high but the $25k tuition doesn’t even cap the operating budget of any private elementary school and additional money is always needed for teacher salaries, employee benefits, school supplies, and financial aid.

To continue reading, click on the The Daily Truffle

*This piece is also featured on The Huffington Post today (Feb. 25).


Read More