March 6, 2000
Volume 52, No. 24
Annual auction raises more than $500,000
President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter's eighth annual Winter Weekend and Benefit Auction was, by all accounts, the most successful ever, raising more than $532,000 for the Carter Center.
The event, held Feb. 16-20 in Crested Butte, Colo., included snowmobile rides, daily ski outings and a town hall meeting with the Carters. "This event is one that Rosalynn and I look forward to each year," said Carter. "We are always pleased to tell people about the work of the Carter Center."
Although introduced to skiing in their early 60s, the Carters have enthusiastically embraced the sport and become good skiers.
"During a family trip to Taos, Rosalynn and I were coaxed onto the slopes by our children and grandchildren," Carter said. "We originally had planned to just enjoy the ambience of the ski lodge and rest around the fireplace. Now we enjoy the sport so much that we're glad we gave in and tried it out."
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the trip for the Carters is spending time with 10 high school students from FutureForce, a program administered by Communities in Schools and the Department of Defense. Created to help at-risk teens develop leadership and life skills, FutureForce has been a motivation for the annual ski trip since its inception in 1993.
Participating Georgia teenagers often see snow or ride in an airplane for the first time on this trip. A special hour-long episode of "Mindbusters," March 23 on Atlanta's WPBA-TV 30, will highlight their adventures.
"There is a great disparity between the rich and poor-not just monetarily but in life experiences, contacts and opportunities," Carter said. "We invite our friends, family members and Carter Center supporters on this trip and encourage them to seek out the FutureForce teens and talk with them. Many of them have offered the students employment, internships and encouragement."
The highlight of the Winter Weekend is always Saturday night's live auction, for which Carter makes and donates an item each year. This year it was a handcrafted display cabinet made from paulownia trees grown on his farm near Plains, Ga. The cabinet, accompanied by a photo album with Carter's handwritten descriptions of the step-by-step building process, generated fast and furious bidding and sold for $230,000.
A one-of-a-kind memory chest, donated by woodworking artist Vern Hartvigson, sold for $50,000.
The chest is made of white oak wood from Rosalynn Carter's family property and post oak wood from the Carter's farm. The post oak wood rings seen in the chest's inside tray indicate that the tree was pre-Civil War. A small vial of soil from the roots of the white oak tree and a plug of wood salvaged from the childhood home of Rosalynn Carter were included.
A rare color photo of five presidents-Nixon through Bush-and six first ladies-Johnson through Bush-went for $30,000. Other auction items included Delta Air Lines vacation packages, artwork and presidential memorabilia.
"The new millennium brings a myriad of opportunities for the Carter Center to promote democracy, eliminate devastating diseases, and bring peace to war-torn nations," President Carter said. "These funds will help the Center continue to wage peace, fight disease, and build hope around the world."
Nadara Wade is communications coordinator at the Carter Center.