The Country Friends presents the inaugural ‘Giving Hearts’ gala


The Country Friends, a Rancho Santa-Fe based nonprofit, will hold its first-ever “Giving Hearts” dinner and dance on Friday, Feb. 2, from 6-11 p.m. at the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club. The gala, which includes a champagne reception, three-course dinner with fine wine, dessert and dancing, celebrates charities chosen for funding in 2018. Those agencies applied for grants last year, and were carefully vetted by The Country Friends Board of Directors through extensive site visits, interviews and questionnaires.

Since its founding in 1954, The Country Friends has awarded more than $13 million to San Diego County-based charities, with special emphasis on those that aid women, children, the elderly and disabled.

“Our first time ‘Giving Hearts’ gala is a tribute to the many charities that have helped thousands of San Diegans over the past year,” says Deb Cross, president of The Country Friends. “It is our way of honoring them for their hard work and dedication. They represent the true heart of our community.”

The Country Friends will roll out the red carpet for this year’s honorees and guests, featuring a “meet and greet” with celebrity impersonator Eileen Finney, portraying the late comedian Joan Rivers. Trained by Rivers herself, Finney won the “Joan Rivers Look-a-Like” contest on Rivers’ show and would often surprise the comedian on national television programs.

Adding to the festivities at the “Giving Hearts” gala, waiters will pass champagne and hors d’oeuvres as photographers snap pictures. A three-course dinner follows, including Belgian endive and arugula salad, center cut filet and gulf prawns.Ranch & Coast Magazine’s Andrea Naversen, a member of The Country Friends Board of Directors, serves as emcee. She will announce the “TCF Chosen Charities” during a formal presentation after dinner.

The evening concludes with dessert and dancing in the Sunset Terrace.Proceeds from the event will benefit The Country Friends Legacy Campaign, kicked off three years ago with the goal of establishing a $1 million endowment fund to help even more human care agencies in the years to come. Chaired by Les Cross, the campaign will enable The Country Friends to operate more efficiently, reduce expenses and increase the funds donated to its chosen charities.

To date, more than 100 honorees have contributed time, talent and funds to the legacy campaign. The Country Friends raises money through fundraisers such as The Art of Fashion, a runway show and luncheon presented in partnership with South Coast Plaza each September at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. The organization also supports charities through proceeds from its Consignment Shop at 6030 El Tordo in Rancho Santa Fe, selling high-end furniture, china, crystal and objets d’art.

Tickets to the “Giving Hearts” dinner and dance are $250 each. Seating is limited. For online reservations, contact The Country Friends at or call 858-756-1192 ext. 4. The Country Friends®, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, was formed in 1954 with the mission: “Helping San Diegans, One Hand at a Time.”6030 El Tordo, P.O. Box 142 Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067. 501 (c) 3. Phone: 858-756-1192. Visit