Founder and co-chair Michaela "Mikey" Hoag of Atherton announced raising a record-breaking $10.1 million that night, but says even more money has rolled in since.
She started the fundraising effort in 2012. Her late father suffered from early-onset Alzheimer's and her mother has the disease now. This is the third gala Ms. Hoag has chaired in addition to the two luncheons she has hosted in the odd years.
She figures Part the Cloud has now raised over $17 million.
"I am just blown away by the community support," she said after the most recent event. "None of us ever imagined we would be talking about such a high level."
Since corporate sponsors covered all the costs of the gala, entitled "An Evening to Remember," all proceeds are going to the Alzheimer's Association for research, she said. The organization estimates that more than five million Americans currently have the disease.
Many people attended the gala for personal reasons. Ms. Hoag was surrounded by all of her brothers and sisters, most of whom flew in from the east coast.
The dinner program included Ashley Campbell performing a song. Her father, Glen Campbell, has Alzheimer's.
Actor Seth Rogen and his wife, Lauren Miller Rogen, took over the microphones during the "fund-a-need" portion of the event, when contributions started at the $100,000 level. Her mother has the disease.
For singer Paula Abdul, it's her father, for philanthropist Dagmar Dolby, it was her husband. They were seated near Joe and Jennifer Montana and Ronnie and Karen Lott.
"This journey we're all on is not just for us," Ms. Hoag said when she took the stage and talked about the $6 million that has been raised for the new "Part the Cloud Challenge on Neuroinflammation."
The plan was to award three recipients $1 million research grants to study neuroinflammation in hopes of spurring new treatments in brain diseases and disorders that include not just Alzheimer's, but also traumatic brain Injury, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, ALS, Parkinson's and Huntington's.
With more money in hand from a local donor and a couple in Denver who heard about the Challenge, Ms. Hoag can now say that a fourth grant will be awarded. The recipients' names will be released soon.
Sixty researchers from 14 countries applied for the grants. Forty international scientists peer-reviewed the applications.
The winners will have two years to do their work. At that point one finalist will be rewarded a $3 million grant to advance her or his project into a clinical trial.
After adding up the gala's ticket sales and donations to the Challenge, Ms. Hoag came up with $10.1 million total. When she shared that figure with guests, a celebratory mood swept through the party tent.
On stage singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett looked happy wearing no shoes and playing many old favorites with his band.
The evening ended with "cheeseburgers in paradise" sliders and a dance band.
The gala's steering committee members were: Sue Foley, Lulu Frye, and Laurie Kraus Lacob of Woodside; Stephanie Harmon of Portola Valley; Lauren Koenig, Anne Lawler, Sally Robinson and Mary Stevens of Atherton; Debbie Robbins of Menlo Park; Heather Pietsch of San Carlos; Ellen Drew of Los Altos; and Paula Robichaud of Carmel.
Ms. Hoag is thinking ahead to next year's luncheon. "We'll probably do more of a panel, educational afternoon," she said.
Go to alz.org/partthecloud for more information.
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