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Joining me at the Neiman Marcus fundraiser for the Irvine Public Schools Foundation were Neiman's Director of Public Relations Michaele Hall and Irvine Unified School District board member Lauren Brooks

Joining me at the Neiman Marcus fundraiser for the Irvine Public Schools Foundation were Neiman’s Director of Public Relations Michaele Hall, left, and Irvine Public Schools Foundation President/CEO Neda Eaton

It was the first time the luxury brand Neiman Marcus donated a percentage of sales to a philanthropic organization. And, that’s a long history! The store was established in 1907. Michaele Hall, Fashion Island’s Neiman Marcus Director of Public Relations, told me about the brand’s new focus and invited me to an instore event benefiting the Irvine Public Schools Foundation’s music education program.

The lovely evening reception drew IPSF board members, supporters and Neiman Marcus clients to enjoy shopping for a good cause, as well as entertainment by two groups of talented string players from the school district playing selections of Pachelbel, Dvorak and Morricone. Some of the attendees brought their children, and good thing too, because the refreshments were geared to childhood favorites – caramel apples, s’mores on a stick, red velvet cupcakes, candied popcorn in whimsical polka dot cups, mini gingerbread men, as well as liquid chocolate with miniature marshmallows, hot cider and Ty Nant sparkling water in vibrant red bottles with mustache straws – adorable!

Shopping specifically for the Irvine Public Schools Foundation involved the Ken Downing Gift Collection, which was created by Neiman Marcus’s Fashion Director Ken Downing. He curated a gift collection of 37 gifts ranging in price from $32 to $1800, and 10% of sales in all 41 stores nationwide through the following month benefited the local charities throughout the country, in the case of the Newport Beach store, the Irvine Public Schools Foundation.

It was a win-win for everyone. Representatives from IPSF were thrilled with the support, and the gift buying pleased everyone. Who wouldn’t be happy with such retail offerings as those from Chanel, John Hardy, Ippolita, Alexis Bittar, Michael Kors, Tom Ford Beauty, Tory Burch, Stella McCartney, and many more.

Other Irvine residents supporting the cause included Steffanie Early, IPSF’s Director of Community Relations, Lauren Brooks, board of education member of the Irvine Unified School District, and Beth Krom, City of Irvine councilwoman.

Kudos to Neiman Marcus and its Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation for its commitment to providing state-of-the-art music instruction for all students. The proceeds for this event will fund music teachers for kindergarten through third grade students in the Irvine Unified School District.

Selected food photos courtesy of Michelle Nierman

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