Summer Rain Didn’t Dampen Spirits at the Midsummer Mixer!

Rain in mid-July, as California is in the grips of a record drought? Of course. Luckily, it did nothing to spoil our mood last night. The CellMark office was filled with an electric hum yesterday morning as PaperSeed Local committee members Sioeli Palu and Megan Lima dug in for what they knew would be a long but satisfying day.

While the PaperSeed foundation operates on a global scale, seeking out non-profits in underserved and resource lacking areas, PaperSeed Local committees tackle issues closer to home. These committees are made up of several employees from each of the major CellMark offices around the world, and they enable PaperSeed to impact even more lives. Committee members aid and fund projects in their own communities while keeping in step with PaperSeed’s overall mission to strengthen education.

The PaperSeed California team started planning the Midsummer Mixer a little over six months ago, in the dead of winter. Their inspiration came from PaperSeed Connecticut’s highly successful “Feed the Need” fundraisers, which typically feature food and wine. This was the first time the PaperSeed California team put on a fundraiser of this scale, and they wanted to feature Northern California’s famous local flavors.

“We are wine country, we knew we could do the same thing and rock it,” Megan explained.

The event was a smashing success with nibbles from local favorites Sol Food, Marin French Cheese, Park Avenue Catering,  and Tamal Pie; tastings from McEvoy Ranch, Adobe Road Winery, Golden State Cider and Ehret Family Winery; and sweets from Nothing Bundt Cakes and Lush Gelato. Taylor Maid topped everyone off with their signature brews and even sent guests home with sample packets of their Summer Harvest Roast. The silent auction featured a whole host of generously donated prizes and was subject to friendly competition among colleagues and friends.


It was the culmination of many months of planning, late nights and weekend volunteer hours. Megan and Sioeli headed up the effort, playing to each other’s strengths and using their previous event planning experience to make something very special. But, Megan stresses, this was very much a group accomplishment. The California Committe members volunteered their time, energy and expertise as well, and it was the group effort that truly made the event shine.

Aliyya Shelley Mattos, PaperSeed’s Executive Director, added, “I am constantly amazed by the drive, passion and enthusiasm for PaperSeed from our local committees, and CellMark Offices! If everyone does a little, together we can accomplish so much. I'm thrilled with the success of this event!”

Pictured from left to right: Aliyya, Megan, & Sioeli. Erik from the Fairfax-San Anselmo Children's Center stands in back.

Pictured from left to right: Aliyya, Megan, & Sioeli. Erik from the Fairfax-San Anselmo Children's Center stands in back.

Sioeli Palu (infamous for being extremely verbose) said with a sleepy grin, “Thanks.”

Overall, the California Team exceeded their fundraising goals. Since PaperSeed is underwritten by CellMark, 100% of the proceeds from last night’s events will go straight to projects that strengthen education. The Fairfax-San Anselmo Children’s Center will receive two thousand dollars from last night’s activities, which will help them fund summer programming for underserved children in Ross Valley.

The PaperSeed California team has worked with the Fairfax-San Anselmo Children’s Center before, as well as Vida Verde- an outdoor education program in Pescadero that enables Bay Area children to learn about local ecology, nature, gardening and much more. Megan expressed her desire to find more deserving non-profits like these and raise them up through sustainable investments and seed money.

So, while energy levels around the office this morning are a little lower than usual, spirits remain high. There is a sense of hope as PaperSeed looks to the future, dreaming of what great things may be accomplished next. The success of the Midsummer Mixer means more funds raised for the children who need it most, and more lives changed as PaperSeed continues to work to fulfill its mission.