Private School Auctions At Progressive And Traditional Schools: What Would YOU Bid On?

Auctions and galas are a big deal at private schools. The items up for bid tend to fall into similar categories: vacation getaways, tickets for sporting or entertainment, fun stuff for kids and more. But, within those categories progressive schools offer some very different items than those at traditional schools. Take a look…and glimpse inside the school’s culture as highlighted at school auctions.

Here are 3 auction items from Sequoyah School in Pasadena, a progressive school with parents who’d love the hippest items in town!

Sequoyah School, Pasadena 2019

Sequoyah School, Pasadena 2019
Sequoyah School, Pasadena 2019

Progressive Oakwood School’s dad Steve Carrell hosts a tequila party!

The Center For Early Education is a progressive school, known for parents like Beyonce. So, it’s no surprise that it’s gala features items that might seem more luxe than hipster.

Center For Early Education 2018

Center For Early Education 2018

Brentwood School’s pure elegance!

Brentwood School 2019
Brentwood School 2019

Harvard-Westlake School doesn’t host a gala or auction event, but it’s Party Book is something to celebrate along with celebrity dad Will Farrell.

Viewpoint School invites you to take a luxury vacation in Park City!

Viewpoint School 2019

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Spring is for Spending at L.A. Private School Galas!

Spring is the season for L.A private school auctions and galas! Of course, planning for these swanky events starts long before the actual date, as committees of parents and staff begin securing big ticket items that will fill up school coffers with money raised from both live and silent auctions. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the selection of items to bid on. “Priceless” is the operative word when we’re talking about live auctions. With professional auctioneers encouraging the crowd, after a few drinks and some friendly competition, nothing will stop parents from outbidding their friends for a luxury vacation, a shiny piece of jewelry, a fabulous piece of art signed by a famous painter or a VIP parking space at the front of the school. It happens every year, a time-honored tradition. Eat, drink and bid. Repeat.

Private schools put so much time into making auctions and galas–often held at high-end hotels, country clubs, studio lots or party venues–successful because they help close the budget gap not covered by tuition. Despite the $30,000/year+ you may be about to start paying for your kid to attend a private school, there’s more money to be spent if you can afford it. Of course, not all families choose to attend auctions and they are most certainly optional. These soirees are definitely part of L.A. private school culture, an example of the immense wealth that makes up the world of private schools and a glimpse into how schools are funded and who is writing checks.

I’ve co-chaired an auction at our kids’ former school (The Willows) and attended several at Viewpoint (our current school). Barry and I bid anxiously on a photo of Air Force One landing at LAX with an unseen president aboard (it’s George W. Bush). The photo is signed by the former White House photographer, Brooks Kraft. There’s something eerie and cool about it. Although small, its one of my all-time favorite photographs in our home–and I’m a Democrat! I’ve also bid on a pair of diamond stud earrings that I love as well as tickets for dinner parties and cooking classes. Obviously, we aren’t the big spenders at these events, but we’re fortunate to be able to participate.

The money from auctions and galas goes toward closing the budget gap between tuition and operating expenses such as financial aid, professional development and school art, sports and music programs. These high-end events can bring in anywhere from $100,000 to $1,000,000+ depending on the school. Corporate sponsors can underwrite events by purchasing tables and ads in the program guide. The cost to attend can range from about $50 to $300 per ticket.

Schools put out “wish-lists” of items they are hoping parents can provide– either themselves or through their contacts–for auctions. Schools know from experience which items will generate high-dollar bidding. Here’s what’s on Viewpoint’s “wish-list” for the Denim and Diamonds auction:

At Windward School, the auction committee is looking for:

Luxury Hotel Stays ● Vacation Packages ● Vacation Homes ● Airline Tickets ● Private Jet Use ● In-Home Private Chef Experiences ● Cruises ● Private Yacht Excursions ● Restaurant Gift Certificates ● Spa Treatments​ ● VIP Sporting Tickets for Los Angeles Teams ● Box Seats to Sporting Events ● VIP Concert Tickets ● Signed Athletic Memorabilia ● Rounds of Golf ● Jewelry ● Wine and Champagne ● Hollywood Bowl Box Seats\

Campbell Hall continues the school’s annual Bagpiper Ball tradition:

Buckley School hosts a gala every other year:

In L.A. it’s never to early to start fundraising! Here’s the Early Childhood Center at Wilshire Blvd. Temple’s event:

We’ll have more to come as the gala season is in full swing. There are party books upcoming and all kinds of mind-blowing events that we’ll be sure to report back on.

Stay up to date on the latest L.A. private schools news and events! Follow Beyond The Brochure on Facebook. Buy the book on Amazon.

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


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