The Most Popular Secret Auction – at the Swiss Red Cross
An event at the Dolder, the Grand Dame of Zurich hotels that features one of the best contemporary art collections in Switzerland, is like a quality stamp: you know that you’re going to meet some people you’ll like to network with, that you’ll have a delicious dinner, and that there will be a lot of food for thought too.
Last Saturday, when the Swiss Red Cross hosted its annual Gala again – no masks and no restrictions, after showing your Covid certificate to enter – an absolutely glorious summer evening gave the event the final touch. Perfect weather, super well dressed ladies, good music and some interesting speeches and videos completed this beloved Gala, that is known for its generous auction.
400’000 Swiss Francs Raised…How?
About 200 guests contributed to raise this figure by buying their tickets for the dinner, joining a raffle, and above all by participating to the auctions, moderated by TV presenter Florian Inhausen, who was rather funny and put some of the guests in competition, in order to raise their bids higher. Some jewels, luxury objects and fancy experiences (like “The Gucci experience in Berlin”) were auctioned in the open, during dinner. It’s always fun to see who is raising their hand to give a lot of money…everybody is curious to watch the person who can be so generous. But another part of the money is raised by simply asking for a specific reason: for example to renovate a fading old people’s home that had just been shown in a video, or to give heating to people in an hospice. Finally, some people donate by phone, so one cannot see them. Sometimes the requested figure is high, and that is rather at the beginning. When, after some big targets and donations, the request lowers to 2/3’000 Swiss Francs, at the end…many people feel this is not so high anymore, and donate. Both the order and the style in which things are presented make the difference.
The total amount reached for the Swiss Red Cross on Saturday was CHF 400’000. A very successful evening!
And for What Exactly?
As I already wrote, videos and testimonies help to explain what is needed where. This year the themes were Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with a focus on Armenia and Afghanistan, and also on poverty and social isolation. We watched videos in which some of the Swiss Red Cross workers and volunteers visited old people’s homes or other local people and institutions. It’s always hard to sit at an elegant table, sipping a drink, wearing something fabulous and have this kind of images in front of your eyes. It makes you feel wrong and inadequate. But it also shows you how many people at the Red Cross are working hard and in a proactive way, really giving an important contribution with a lot of practical things, and also collecting data, communicating, giving psychological assistance and improving the community’s life quality. A massive, complex, extremely important job. After all, the world is improving in many things, and I really respect what the Red Cross always did, and is still doing for it, and ultimately for us all.
Who Was There
The evening was moderated by Zoe Torinesi and included Matthias Leuenberger, President Novartis Switzerland, Roberto Cirillo, CEO of the Swiss Post, and Red Cross testimonials dr. Laetitia Guarino , journalist Mélanie Freymond and singer Nubya. Among the sponsors, fabulous Vergani Wines (the best looking couple of the evening).
Then some media representatives, like André Häfliger of the Schweizer Illustrierte, and myself.
Some Images of the Night
Below, a gallery of some images of the evening. Is Swiss luxury an excessive contrast to what is happening around the world? You bet it is. Let’s start changing things by acknowledging, respecting, and maybe joining some of the great work the Swiss Red Cross is doing.