Rancho Mirage Woman's Club holds first evening fundraising event

The Rancho Mirage Woman's Club has been around since 1963, but in March, Christy Austin, a Rancho Mirage chamber ambassador and local mortgage lender, joined the organization full of enthusiasm and ready to help. And a new dimension of their fundraising began.

As newly elected second vice president of fundraising, Austin asked why the woman's club only had lunchtime events and why only women were invited. In order to create even more funds, Austin thought, it would be nice to have an evening event and invite gentlemen as well.

On Nov. 13 about 120 people got together for a local fun-filled event that featured a dinner plus music by the Fun With Dick and Jane Band, who pulled out all the stops with a very eclectic range of music, quickly filling the dance floor.

Joan Sotomayer, Ellen Lambright, Candy Sunshine Glickman, Kiki Tormo, Natina Hopson, Brenda Olivares, Libby Walsh, Marcella Ruble, Fay VanBoxtel, Deena Dietrich and Christy Austin (seated) are all smiles at the Rancho Mirage Woman's Club's Nov. 13, 2022, fundraiser.
Joan Sotomayer, Ellen Lambright, Candy Sunshine Glickman, Kiki Tormo, Natina Hopson, Brenda Olivares, Libby Walsh, Marcella Ruble, Fay VanBoxtel, Deena Dietrich and Christy Austin (seated) are all smiles at the Rancho Mirage Woman's Club's Nov. 13, 2022, fundraiser.

The Rancho Mirage Woman's Club is a collection of ladies of all ages from all walks of life whose sole purpose is to help support other local charities — mostly the small ones that need some financial help to get going.

Recipients of the women's generosity include the Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert, the Coachella Valley History Museum, Father's Heart Ranch, Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Academy, Variety - the Children's Charity, Olive Crest and Rancho Mirage Elementary School.

In addition, every year college-bound seniors from Rancho Mirage High School benefit from scholarships provided by the Rancho Mirage Woman's Club, which also has an endowment fund for nursing students at COD from which they donate every year.

At its inception in 1963, the club held lots of picnics, barbecues and family activities, and everyone mainly lived in Mirage Cove at that time, which made for a close-knit group of members. But over the years, the club has grown.

Twenty years later, in January 1983, the Whitewater Park was officially opened and the Rancho Mirage Woman's Club donated $9,500 for the playground equipment. Since then, many club picnics have been held there. The organization also helped start the Rancho Mirage Library with donated funds and were also responsible for the "Welcome to Rancho Mirage" sign, which is prominently displayed on Highway 111.

The Sunday evening event, a first for the club, was a resounding success and a big thank you goes out to Austin for organizing and arranging it.

Christy Austin poses at the Rancho Mirage Woman's Club's Nov. 13, 2022, fundraiser with Richard W. and Becky Kite, Jenny and Ted Weill and Geri and Steve Downs.
Christy Austin poses at the Rancho Mirage Woman's Club's Nov. 13, 2022, fundraiser with Richard W. and Becky Kite, Jenny and Ted Weill and Geri and Steve Downs.

Seen at the party were Rancho Mirage Mayor Pro Tem Richard W. Kite and wife his wife, Becky; council member Ted Weill and his wife, Jenny; and council member Steve Downs and his wife, Geri. Other guests included Cindy Burreson from the Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert; Sandy Swett, Red Door Pictures; Rita Wood; and Josh Zahid, Dawn Rashid and Dick Biermann from the Loma Linda Desert Guild. In addition, Mario Hernandez and his wife, Maru, from Desert United were seen enjoying a dance or two.

A huge thank you goes to Wood and Cindy Glickman for social media production and procurement and Brenda Johnson of O'Caines Irish Pub, who donated all of the flower arrangements.

There were donations from local golf courses, hotels and restaurants, and more than $10,000 was added to the pot to give out to others.

The Rancho Mirage Woman's Club's big gala will take place March 6, 2023; the theme is the Roaring Twenties. For more information about the event or the club, contact Austin at (949) 482-8888 or via christyaustin@movement.com or visit ranchomiragewomansclub.org.

Carole Stephen-Smith has lived in the desert for more than 30 years. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, she began writing in London and has been a regular contributor to The Desert Sun for eight years.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Rancho Mirage Woman's Club holds first evening fundraising event