Modernism Week Helps Local Community Organizations Raise Funds

Modernism Week announced that its 11-day festival in February, 2017 helped many area organizations and neighborhood groups to raise significant funds that these organizations contributed back to local Coachella Valley charities or used for civic improvements. The funds were raised from ticket sales for official Modernism Week events, including neighborhood tours, parties, educational talks, and other events.

A new official Modernism Week partner event offered this year was the Old Las Palmas Home and Garden Tour, which enabled participants to “Peek Behind The Hedges” of this exclusive and historic Palm Springs community. The tour featured the interiors of seven residences (including the former homes of Mary Martin, Mary Pickford, Liberace, and Howard Hughes) and the beautiful private gardens of another. It raised more than $30,000 and the Old Las Palmas Neighborhood Organization recently announced that all of the money raised from the tour will be given to area organizations that directly impact the lives of more than 4,000 Coachella Valley children. These organizations receiving donations from the tour proceeds include the Foundation for the Palm Springs Unified School District (funds will be used to send up to 75 students to camp for a week), Palm Springs Art Museum (funds will be used to transport school children to the museum for docent led museum tours and events), Palm Springs International Film Festival (funds will be used to transport school children to the Student Screening Day), Shoes That Fit (funds will buy 100 pairs of shoes for school children in need) and the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition (funds will support bus costs for bringing children to piano assemblies and underwrite teacher study guides).

“With this tour the neighborhood showcased some of the amazing and historic homes in Old Las Palmas to raise funds for charities. It was a true neighborhood effort,” said Old Las Palmas Neighborhood Organization chair John Williams. “All the funds we raised – every single penny – will go to charities that focus on the needs of children in the Coachella Valley.”

“Our school principals often receive requests from the families of students about possible scholarships for summer camp,” said Ellen Goodman, Executive Director of The Foundation for the Palm Springs Unified School District. “As a result of this scholarship from the Old Las Palmas Neighborhood Organization we're now able to send up to 75 children to summer camp who might not otherwise been able to afford to attend. We are very grateful that this neighborhood organization chose to support our students in this very generous manner."

Modernism Week works closely with local neighborhood organizations like Old Las Palmas to showcase iconic Palm Springs residences and other architecturally significant buildings during tours in many of the city’s 43 official neighborhoods. These tours raise significant funds for participating neighborhood organizations. Some neighborhoods donate funds to local charities and some fund various community improvement projects, such as restoration, landscaping improvements, new signage and more. During Modernism Week events in 2016-2017 more than $317,000 was generated from tours of neighborhood organizations. Local non-profit and civic organizations, that benefitted include: the Office of Emergency Management of the Palm Springs Fire Department (funds will be used to purchase emergency supplies for the disaster container), Palm Springs Animal Shelter, Palm Springs Modern Committee Education fund, Palm Springs Police Department (fund will be used to purchase five tactical vests), Safe Schools of the Desert, Well in the Desert, and several other organizations. 

“We are elated that Modernism Week can offer an opportunity for neighborhood organizations to raise funds that they use for civic improvements or reinvest back into the local community,” said J. Chris Mobley, Modernism Week Board Chairman. “As Modernism Week continues to grow, the valley’s tourism and international stature also grows. Tours and other events produced by partner organizations not only provide them with the ability to quickly raise funds, but also allows them to showcase their neighborhood to international tourists.

In addition to working with neighborhoods, Modernism Week, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization also helps various local organizations raise funds to further support their efforts to preserve and promote modernist architecture throughout the community. Ticket proceeds for official Modernism Week events these organizations produced in 2016-2017 generated funds in excess of $470,000. The participating organizations included Friends of the Palm Springs Library, Palm Springs Art Museum’s Architecture and Design Center, Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, Palm Springs Modern Committee, Palm Springs Historical Society, Seathletes, The Aluminaire Foundation, Volunteer Palm Springs, and Mizell Senior Center.

Modernism Week also awarded two new scholarships for aspiring architectural students. Modernism Week provides annual renewable 4-year scholarships to local Coachella Valley students who have chosen educational paths in the fields of architecture and design. Two scholarships, totaling $10,000, were awarded to deserving students in 2017, which includes matching funds from One Future Coachella Valley. Since the Modernism Week renewable 4-year scholarship program was initiated in 2011, a total of $39,000 has been awarded.

“Giving back to the community is one of the most important aspects of Modernism Week,” said Lisa Vossler Smith, Executive Director. “Our Board of Directors is committed to partnering with community organizations to provide the opportunities to generate revenue through event ticket sales, and we are especially pleased to award two scholarships to deserving students. These are just a few of the many ways that Modernism Week contributes to the local community.”

Modernism Week celebrates midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture in the greater Palm Springs area with two valley-wide events each year; one in October and one in February. The February 2017 event had 97,000 attendees, and generated an estimated $35.5 million in revenue for area hotels, shops, restaurants, and other local businesses from Palm Springs to Indian Wells and beyond.

Later this year, Modernism Week will offer its annual Fall Preview from October 19-22, 2017 (tickets go on sale August 1 at 12 p.m. PST) and will stage the 2018 Modernism Week event from February 15-25, 2018 (tickets go on sale November 1 at 12 p.m. PST). For more information about future Modernism Week events, visit<> and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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About Modernism Week:

Modernism Week is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, providing scholarships to local Palm Springs students pursuing college educations in the fields of architecture and design; as well as giving grants to local and state organizations for their efforts to preserve modernist architecture throughout the state of California.

Modernism Week’s Mission:

The mission of Modernism Week is to celebrate and foster appreciation of midcentury architecture and design, as well as contemporary thinking in these fields, by encouraging education, preservation and sustainable modern living as represented in the greater Palm Springs area. 

31 May 2017