28 July 2012

Children's Fund Auction History

After an email exchange with Dorisanne Osborn about the beginnings of the Children's Fund Auction, I suggested that perhaps she'd like to be the next guest blogger. I'm very glad that she accepted my offer to write about a subject that she knows so well. Dorisanne was the editor and publisher of the newsletter Friends of Sasha from 1989 to 2005, and author of the book Sasha Dolls Through the Years. She also hosted the 1991 Sasha Festival in Keuka Park, NY, which included a Children's Fund (silent) Auction and Sale - the first of what was to become an annual festival event.

Recent CFA Auctioneers in action, including Dorisanne at the 2009 Sasha Festival in Rochester, NY:
2009 CFA - Dorisanne O. 2011 CFA - Sheila F. 2012 CFA - Pat P.
The Children's Fund Auction
The Children's Fund Auction came of age during the 2012 Sasha Festival held in Stratford-upon-Avon 21-24 June. Twenty-one years ago, at the 1991 Sasha Festival in Keuka Park, New York the seeds of the CFA were planted. Laura Knuesli came from Switzerland to be the speaker during the Festival, and she wanted to donate something to raise money for needy children and to honor Sasha Morgenthaler's concern for children worldwide, and also to honor the 700th birthday of Switzerland. We decided to invite others to donate one-of-a kind items related to Sasha Dolls and have a small silent auction or sale instead of the doorprizes donated in previous years, with proceeds going to an international fund which serves the needs of refugee children, children who are the victims of war, famine, poverty or natural disasters. Dorisanne Osborn, put notices in her newsletter Friends of Sasha inviting subscribers to share their special donations. Laura and I decided to set up a table during the Trading Post sales room where the special hand made clothing, doll-sized Swiss toys and books, paintings, a Ltd. Ed. poster and many other items could be sold or won in a silent auction.

In 1991, we had already planned a big fashion show during the Saturday luncheon with 63 Sasha dolls modeling one of a kind outfits created by fourteen designers from around the world. Under the direction of Evalyn Stiles, ten festival children moved the models around the dining room to be admired by the crowd. The first Children's Fund sale and auction followed and $1600 was realized, and when festival related "goody bags" were sold following the festival, the total CFA donations in 1991were $1800. The money was sent to Save the Children, UNICEF, and OXFAM (the Oxford Group for Famine Relief).

When plans were made for the 1992 Sasha Festival held in Laconia, NH, Denise Ortkales and Cecile St. Gelais decided to have a "Fashion Show and Children's Fund Auction". In 1991, the clothing for the fashion show was loaned by the designers and items for the "Children's Fund Sale and Auction" were donated to raise money. In 1992, collectors were asked to donate one-of-a-kind outfits and Sasha related items for the Fashion Show with all funds raised going to the Children's Fund Auction. One of a kind clothing and quilts from 18 donors brought $1445 for the CFA.

By 1993, when the Sasha Festival was held in New Jersey, the Children's Fund Auction was the official terminology and it was a Festival highlight, with twenty-four stunning handcrafted items auctioned for $3100 for the Children's Fund. The donations included a Type A I course doll made by Laura Knuesli in a class taught by Trudi Loeffler in Sasha's Swiss atelier.

In 1994, the auction held at the Festival in Maine realized $2130 from 18 donations. By 1995, the total amount sent to children's charities in honor of Sasha Morgenthaler, totaled over $12,000 in five years.

Collectors of Sasha dolls were unique when they devised a plan in 1991 to raise funds to aid children worldwide. Over the years, donors began to send multiple donations, and items were received from Sasha collectors around the world.Even though only a limited numbers of the collectors were able to actually attend the Sasha Festival, the CFA gave many an opportunity to share in absentia. Some of the auction totals received matching gifts from the charitable organizations, and some years the totals were augmented by memorial gifts. A few festival organizers have chosen to give the income from their CFA to local charities, and others have added some of the money from their helper raffles to the CFA. Area gatherings such as the New York State Sasha Fun Day hold smaller auctions each year, with their receipts going to the Children's Fund charities.

Twenty-one years have passed since that first "auction" and the total sent over the years to honor Sasha Morgenthaler's concern for the needs of children worldwide is $207,124. Those who have sent donations, people at festivals who have bid high and often at the auctions, and Festival hosts who have continued this tradition should all be proud of our accomplishments.

Dorisanne Osborn


Julie said...

I'm really enjoying your guest posts. I'm finding them extremely informative.

franberry said...

As a relative newcomer to the Sasha community, I'm enjoying the posts too. There's so much to learn - not just about the dolls themselves, but about the camaraderie as well.

Kendal said...

What a wonderful piece of Sasha Festival history leaned here. Great to think that it is still being carried on. I love these kind of traditions that appear year after year.
Our family has gained some over time and I look forward to carrying them out again each year.
Many thanks Dorisanne for your input here. I try and enjoy learning something knew each day.
Sasha love from Kendal.