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“My fight against cancer continues on, but my cancer does not define who I am. I am Kimi. A typical fourth grader who loves typical kid things.” 9-year-old Kimiko Schroeder

Kimi’s quote is one example from the inspirational programming at Emilio Nares Foundation’s 12th annual “Harvest For Hope” fundraiser in San Diego last September.

Emilio Nares Foundation (ENF) is a nonprofit client that navigates families through their child’s journey with cancer. Anticipating a larger than ever turnout, ENF engaged Stalwart Communications to provide media and event support leading up to its largest fundraiser and crucial “live ask.” The organization raised over $100,000 in 2014 and wanted to double that in 2015.


Understanding the importance of creating great programming and how to orchestrate it became the foundation to elevate the potential for fundraising at “Harvest For Hope.” The task of capturing and holding the attention of hundreds of attendees at a food, wine and spirits benefit can feel daunting. To overcome that hurdle, the agency developed a very tight schedule leading up to the live ask, a moment that could make or break the event.

Our Work

Stalwart provided counsel on the agenda (who would speak when and for how long) and message development, as well as media outreach prior to the event. The work also included scripting and collaborating with a Los Angeles-based production company to create a short video that would play right before the live ask. The video captured the essence and emotion of how donations keep Emilio’s legacy and ENF’s mission alive. 

KFMB/CBS 8 Evening News Anchor Carlo Cecchetto was the master of ceremonies and facilitated brief live auctions throughout the event. ENF’s Development Director and the nonprofit’s Founders, Richard and Diane Nares, kicked off the presentation. Brief speeches from the 2015 honorees, D.W. Hearst Jr. Foundation and the Corrao Group, followed with Jack Corrao’s rallying call, “It is unacceptable having a child miss a treatment because of a ride.” Afterward, 9-year-old Kimiko Schroeder captivated the audience with her courageous words about living with cancer while 7-year-old ENF patient, Esmeralda Mendez de Leon, charmed the crowd by introducing the video in which she stars.

When live ask time arrived, Gary Peterson, ENF Board President, did a phenomenal job capitalizing on the crescendo. The first hand that went up pledged $20,000. 


More than 400 guests attended “Harvest For Hope” which raised $190,000, a significant increase from last year’s $110,000. The live ask alone generated $42,000! An anonymous donor also gifted ENF a van for its flagship transportation program called “Ride With Emilio.” 

“Stalwart Communications played a vital role in the success of Harvest For Hope, making it our most successful fundraiser yet! We have received numerous messages that the program was hugely impressive, professional and fast-paced. Stalwart’s guidance and strategy allowed us to grab the attention of our audience in what was a very important event for our organization.”  — Diane Nares, Emilio Nares Foundation Co-Founder