Hats Off! to 24th GOLD (Gifts Of Loving Donors) Diggers charity luncheon in La Jolla

Betty Mabee Hat Parade winners: Kristi Pieper for Social Service League of La Jolla; Maureen Duggan, Classics 4 Kids; Jamie Tyrone, B.A.B.E.S.; Carol Fasching, Angels of Azeltine
( Vincent Andrunas / Vincent Andrunas )

A 24-year-tradition — and festive celebration of San Diego’s nonprofit organizations — the GOLD (Gifts Of Loving Donors) Diggers “Hats Off to San Diego” luncheon was held April 28, 2017 at the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa. This year, 11 nonprofits entered a hat in the Betty Mabee Hat Parade, with designs based on the theme, “As Time Goes By,” to compete for financial prizes.

The Social Service League of La Jolla took home the 18-Karat Gold Award of $2,500, for its hat modeled by Kristi Pieper. The ensemble was designed in black and white, in tribute to the film “Casablanca,” which marks its 75th anniversary this year. Classic quotes from the film and musical notes were tucked into the design as a tribute to love, friendship and unforgettable memories.

B.A.B.E.S (Beating Alzheimer’s by Embracing Science) won the second place 49er Award of $1,500. Designed in purple and modeled by B.A.B.E.S. Founder/CEO Jamie Tyrone, this fascinator sparkled with lights, and featured a small piano keyboard to represent how music helps to bring back fading memories. The B.A.B.E.S. creation was also voted the $750 best theme Golden Shovel award.

The third place, Prospector Award, went to the Angels of Aseltine Auxiliary entry modeled by Carol Fasching. Her purple-and-black hat carried clock faces on the brim in tribute to the hours put in by the dedicated teachers at Aseltine School.


Classics4Kids won the $750 Wild Card drawing. Maureen Duggan modeled its hat. There were also two major beneficiaries to receive $4,000 awards: The Autism Tree Project Foundation and Playwrights Project.

All the contestants took home $500 in thanks for their participation. Funds brought in by the G.O.L.D. Diggers luncheon are immediately dispersed so the money goes to work in the community.

The Honorary Chairs of the event were long-time members Jackie Gillman and Merle Lotherington.

Several more yearly awards were announced at the event. GOLD Diggers’ President Charlotte Perry, named Sonia Wilson GOLD Digger of The Year. “Sonia continues to work tirelessly in so many capacities: as a board member and as vice-president for development. She has opened her beautiful home and garden to us for the Golden Coffee and other events. And, for the past several years she has been the one to coordinate and package our Hat’s Off Silent Auction,” said Perry.


Marion Dodson, who has hosted many GOLD Digger events at her Rancho Santa Fe home, was honored with the Founder’s Award for her continual support.