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Voices for Children’s Wine Women & Shoes set for April 30

Patricia Brutten and Marina Marrelli at last year’s Wine Women & Shoes event.
Patricia Brutten and Marina Marrelli at last year’s Wine Women & Shoes event.
/ Lowell Tindell

Event to take place at historic estate in Del Mar

For the first time since she and her husband have owned the estate, Del Mar’s Patricia Brutten is inviting the public into her historic home for an event that will support foster children of San Diego County.

Voices for Children’s fifth annual “Wine Women & Shoes” is set for April 30 at the Canfield-Wright estate, a house filled with history that sits on a Del Mar hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The residence was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

“The views are so spectacular,” said Brutten, who purchased the estate with her husband, Marc Brutten, in 2014. “It’s a special place.”

Named after its first owner, oil tycoon Charles Canfield, the house was constructed in 1910. It was designed and built by architect John C. Austin, known for his work on the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles City Hall and Shrine Auditorium.

Canfield intended to make the house his second home, but sold it a few years later to the Wright family, while he went on to develop the communities that would eventually become Beverly Hills and Del Mar through his South Coast Land Company. Also known as Wrightland and The Pink Lady, the house was slightly altered over the years. By the end of the 1990s, it had been rented to multiple tenants and painted a bright pink.

In the early 2000s, a developer purchased the property with the intent of tearing it down and replacing it with a more modern structure. Local residents, however, fought to preserve the property, even nominating it for the National Register of Historic Places. Finally, another local developer and nearby neighbor, Bill Davidson, purchased the house, ultimately restoring it.

“It has really cool history,” said Brutten, who proudly displays old photos and newspaper articles telling the story of her house on a wall in her home.

Whether chairing the event or serving as a member of the planning committee, Brutten has been involved with Wine Women & Shoes since its inaugural year. In fact, she has held the fundraiser at one of her properties three of the last five years.

“It’s different,” Brutten said. “It’s just a fun event.”

A former longtime resident of Rancho Santa Fe, Brutten studied economics at UC San Diego. She worked in commercial real estate for about a decade. Today, Brutten is the founder and owner of Lucky Jack Farm, a 15-acre hunter-jumper training and boarding facility in Rancho Santa Fe.

She and her husband Marc Brutten, founder and chairman of Westcore Properties, have three adult children. They co-founded the Brutten Family Foundation, which is focused on supporting San Diego County charities. They have long supported a variety of local and regional organizations, including Friends of San Pasqual Academy, New Children’s Museum and Voices for Children, a San Diego-based nonprofit that recruits, trains and supervises volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). CASAs advocate for the rights and well-being of children living in San Diego County’s foster care system.

Brutten became familiar with Voices for Children about 20 years ago, when she and her husband attended one of the organization’s fundraisers. She recalled bidding on and winning a barn house-style playhouse for her children.

“I started attending the events and sponsoring the cause after that,” she said.

Voices for Children has 1,500 CASAs. With funds from fundraisers like Wine Women & Shoes, Voices for Children aims to help 3,000 children with CASAs and review the case files of all 5,100 children in foster care in the county.

There are more than 900 CASA programs nationwide. Founded in 1980, Voices for Children is among the top five largest in the country and the largest in the Western United States.

“I think this cause has completely overhauled foster care, in a volunteer way, that’s made such a huge impact,” Brutten said. “We’ve all heard the stories of the horrible situations foster children can be put in. Now there’s this oversight board that cleans it up. This has been really beneficial for San Diego County.”

Brutten became more involved with Voices for Children when the organization launched Wine Women & Shoes in 2012. President and CEO Sharon Lawrence asked her if she would host the inaugural event at her home. Brutten agreed and held the first event at her former residence in Rancho Santa Fe. The following year, she hosted the fundraiser at Lucky Jack Farm.

“It’s a fun afternoon,” said Brutten, who is co-chairing this year’s event with her longtime friend and fellow UCSD alumna Marina Marrelli. Marrelli previously served on the board of the organization.

“I love that ladies can get together and do that much good and raise that much money. I think that’s pretty cool,” she added. “I’ve always really enjoyed the power of women getting together and doing that.”

Now in its 10th year Wine, Women & Shoes has produced more than 175 events, which have helped net more than $30 million for various women’s and family-related causes. This is the fifth year the event series has partnered with Voices for Children and is bringing the fundraiser to San Diego County.

Along with wine and shoes, the event will feature food, a runway fashion, marketplace vendors, a live auction and more.

About 200 people attended the 2015 Wine Women & Shoes event, which grossed a record $225,000. Event organizers expect about 225 people this year and hope to raise $250,000.

A limited number of tickets are still available.

“It does sell out, so don’t wait to get your tickets,” Brutten said. “We hope everyone comes out and supports it because it really is a great cause.”

The event takes place 2-5 p.m. April 30 at the Canfield-Wright Estate in Del Mar. Tickets cost $250.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit winewomenandshoes.com/voicesforchildren.