The 20th anniversary of the Signature Chefs Auction was filled with memorable moments and milestones. For starters, more than 750 supporters filled the Omni Dallas hotel for this popular dine-around event that helped raise more than $700,000 for March of Dimes.
Chairs Laura and Ian MacNeil worked with lead chef Kent Rathbun, who enlisted nearly 20 of his peers — including Matt McCallister of FT33, Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak & Chop House and Chamberlain’s Fish Market Grill, TJ Lengnick of Shinsei, and Abraham Salum of Komali and Salum — to whip up some seriously delicious food.
But the food is only part of the story. This year Rathbun received the Dr. Leonard and Pauline Graivier Giving Each Child a Healthy Start in Life Award, which honors someone who exemplifies volunteerism at its best. Rathbun has helped further the mission of the March of Dimes for the past 18 years — 17 of those as the Signature Chefs Auction lead chef.
To further their philanthropy, guests — including Janet and Ray Thies, Stephanie and Todd Anderson, Beth and Nick Garvey, Deryl McElreath, and Michelle Doster Appelbaum — bought raffle tickets for a Seabourn Cruise worth $58,000 and bid large at the live auction. In fact, Rathbun’s Masters Tournament package went for the highest amount in event history: $67,500. Another top seller was McCallister’s FT33 Spring Fling Party, which raked in $40,000.
Another particularly memorable part of the evening came when Celeste and Byron Sanders shared their story about the premature birth of their son, Bryce, and how the March of Dimes helped them throughout the ordeal. Then came Fund the Mission, which was an opportunity for everyone to make a donation to the nonprofit, and the crowd delivered $150,000 to the cause.
All proceeds from the Signature Chefs Auction benefit March of Dimes and its mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the second year in a row, this event, which takes place across the country, has been the top money raiser for March of Dimes.