Annual Report 2018

The Mission of the Foundation

Benefiting Children in Need in Northwest Florida

The mission of Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF) is to connect wine enthusiasts to raise money to benefit children in need in Northwest Florida. Founded in 2005, DCWAF has donated nearly $18 million to Northwest Florida charities by hosting world-class wine and culinary events. These funds have impacted the lives of over 90,000 youth, including those afflicted by health issues and abuse. Currently ranked #3 for the second year, DCWAF has been recognized as one of the nation’s “Top 10 Charity Wine Auctions in the U.S.” by Wine Spectator Magazine for six consecutive years.
Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation proudly partners with the following agencies:

AMIKids Emerald Coast, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast, Children in Crisis, Inc., Children’s Volunteer Health Network, Emerald Coast Autism Center, Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, Food for Thought Outreach, Habitat for Humanity of Walton County, The Arc of the Emerald Coast, Mental Health Association of Okaloosa & Walton Counties, Opportunity Place, Inc., Pathways for Change, Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, Shelter House of Northwest Florida, and Youth Village.

quote_left“How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it.”quote_left

– George Elliston


BENEFICIARY Charities Of 2018

changing the lives of children

Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation donated
$2,700,000 to 15 Northwest Florida children’s charities on August 21 at WaterColor LakeHouse, marking the Foundation’s largest charitable distribution to date. Celebrating its 13 year anniversary, DCWAF has now donated more than $18 million to non-profit organizations serving children in Northwest Florida. In addition to funding the 15 local charities, DCWAF also broke from tradition and donated $48,000 to those effected by the wild fires in Napa and Sonoma counties.
Beginning next year, Westwood Ranch will join the DCWAF family and become the Foundation’s 16th benefiting charity.

“We see in the Westonwood Ranch team the same passion and drive to make a difference in the lives of children in need as exists in all of the DCWAF supported charities. Westonwood Ranch is the next step in providing support to families and individuals as they face the challenge of autism.” – John Russell, DCWAF President

AMIKids Emerald Coast

AMIkids Emerald Coast received $145,000 to fund a variety of behavioral modification programs, academic supplies, employee development, and student transportation.



Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast received $200,000 to allow 200 students from low income households to attend programming for one full year. The programming is designed to provide unique opportunities to learn, grow and to recognize youth for their achievements in an effort to steer youth clear of personal failure.



Children in Crisis

Children in Crisis received $200,000 to fund the facilitation of housing for abused, neglected and abandoned children. On-site housing provides stability, shelter, house parents, food, clothing and necessary items to help 100 children live a healthy lifestyle over the next year.



Children’s Volunteer Health Network

Children’s Volunteer Health Network (CVHN) received $250,000 to fund and serve underinsured and uninsured children in need of dental care. These funds will allow for two hygienists on the Mobile Dental Clinic, and one full-time dentist and support staff at the CVHN Dental Clinic to assist with children in need of dental and medical care. In addition, they will be able to purchase new dental supplies and cover the maintenance and repairs of their equipment.



Emerald Coast Autism Center

Emerald Coast Autism Center received $200,000 to fund scholarships for approximately 25 families unable to afford services at the new Northwest Florida State College campus facility. The new facility has allowed Emerald Coast Autism Center to increase their capacity levels, serving up to 130 students.



Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center

Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center received $280,000 to support mental health therapy, medical programs, and a case advocacy program that facilitates a child-friendly atmosphere offering counseling, family services, and coordination of investigations for child abuse and neglect.



Food For Thought Outreach

Food for Thought Outreach received $150,000 to fund the organization’s Backpack Program which provides nutritious meals for school-aged children that are dependent upon free or reduced school meals in an effort to bridge the gap between school meals during weekends and holiday breaks.



Habitat for Humanity of Walton County

Habitat for Humanity of Walton County received $192,000 to fully fund the building of two new homes for families with children in North Walton County as well as the purchase of two lots in Sana Rosa Beach.



Mental Health Association of Okaloosa and Walton Counties

Mental Health Association of Okaloosa and Walton Counties received $100,000 to fund “The Brain Health Initiative” geared toward early identification, assessment and treatment for students ages 12 to 21 who experience mental health or substance abuse issues.



Opportunity Place, Inc.

Opportunity Place received $100,000 for immediate housing for homeless children and their families to ensure they are safe and secure.



Pathways For Change

Pathways for Change received $190,000 for comprehensive addiction treatment programs including men’s residential treatment and operations for the family center. This year, DCWAF’s funding will also expand to include services for children of female veterans who live at the Clinton Cox Residence.



Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast

Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast received $200,000 to fund a 10-bed, Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.



Shelter House of Northwest Florida

Shelter House of Northwest Florida received $200,000 to fund support groups, counseling, and advocacy for youth touched by domestic violence. Funding will also support their Youth Prevention Program, therapists for children, supplies such as school snacks and diapers, tutoring materials, community outings, and the Youth Community Action Team.



The Arc of the Emerald Coast

The Arc of the Emerald Coast received $145,000 to support Early Intervention and Family Education Program at the Early Intervention Center for children living with disabilities.



Youth Village

Youth Village received $100,000 to fund afterschool programming for low-income children along the Emerald Coast as well as their new capital campaign.




Our Progress

DCWAF continues to show growth in revenue while keeping costs nearly flat. In 2018, total expenses increased by only $16,014 compared to 2017. Fundraising costs decreased by over $20,000 in an effort to combat increased admin costs for office and storage space.


Since the inception of DCWAF

DCWAF has been able to dramatically increase donated funds to supported charities. The combined contribution to charities in the first six years was $3,500,000.

In the last five years, DCWAF has contributed $12,395,000 or 67% of total donated funds since the first auction in 2006. As a result, the number of charities supported has risen from three in 2006 to 15 in 2018.




Events: 2017-2018 In Review

Harvest Wine & Food Festival

November 2-5, 2017


Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation has been involved in the production of a number of wine festivals over the years. For the first time, the Foundation produced a multi-day, stand alone event in the beautiful town of WaterColor.

Designed to highlight harvest season at the beach, Harvest Wine & Food Festival was comprised of three eventful days that included intimate winemaker dinners, reserve tastings, and a Grand Tasting featuring over 250 luxury wines and large culinary stations highlighting the best in Gulf Coast fare.




12th annual Destin Charity Wine Auction

April 28 – April 30, 2017


Currently ranked #3 in the country for the second year in a row by Wine Spectator Magazine, The Destin Charity Wine Auction Weekend has been recognized in the “Top 10 U.S. Charity Wine Auctions” by the magazine for the last six consecutive years. The Foundation’s largest annual event, the auction takes place over the last weekend in April each year. The event draws wine aficionados, gourmet chefs, and celebrity vintners from around the globe to enjoy world-class wines in the picture-perfect setting and white sand beaches of the Northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast. Funds raised benefit 15 local charities impacting the lives of children in need.






Paddle Raise

A tradition Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation is particularly proud of is the “Paddle Raise.” The year Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation was created, Chan Cox, DCWAF founder, lost his 30 year old son, Clinton, to the devastating effects of addiction. A memorial fund was created to bring awareness and build a legacy for Clinton from the proceeds of a paddle raise at the live auction. Pathways For Change (PFC) is a faith based organization funded initially by Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, Florida. Since 2005, PFC has served hundreds of men in intensive substance abuse treatment. Their mission of Changing Lives, Reducing Crime, Building Futures is actively preventing heartbreaking losses. Since 2007, DCWAF has raised over $1,000,000 so men and their families could be set free to live lives free from addiction.



Top Selling lots

Magnum Force

The auction kicked off with the Magnum Force lot featuring 50 autographed magnums from DCWAF vintners past and present, which raised a record breaking bid of $65,000, before being donated back by the winning bidder in an unprecedented act of generosity. It sold again for $60,000, bringing the total funds raised from Magnum Force to $125,000.

Tesla’s Revolutionary Rocketing Roadster

The highest single-selling lot was the rare and highly anticipated 2008 Tesla Roadster, earning $82,000. Donated by St. Joe Community Foundation, the lot included a signature green, 2008 Tesla Roadster with less than 3,000 miles on it and a stay at Watersound Origins complete with a variety of activities. The 2008 Tesla Roadster was the 18th ever produced by the revolutionary vehicle manufacturer.

African Safari and Wine Experience

Raising $46,000 was an eight-day African safari and wine experience donated by Steve Griessel of Betz Family Winery. This incredible trip includes four nights in presidential suites at the Molari Safari Lodge, three nights at the Babylonstoren in the heart of South African wine country, private airfare, multi-format wines, numerous winery tours and tastings, and the ultimate VIP treatment for the duration of the winners’ stay.

Other Top Grossing Lots

A trip to Santorini sold four times for a total of $80,000 while an immersive trip to Montepulciano, Italy sold five times for a total of $85,000. A unique South African whale watching excursion donated by Anthony and Olive Hamilton Russell of Hamilton Russell Vineyards sold for $40,500, and a lot benefiting the fire victims of Napa and Sonoma counties sold for $48,000.

HOW TO DONATE LOTS: Contact Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation at [email protected] or call (850) 650-3732
to submit your donation or request more information.

celebrity vintners


During the Wine Auction weekend, 12 Patron Dinners were held in notable restaurants and private homes in the area. These dinners pair celebrity chefs with participating vintners to create a memorable dining experience for every attendee. The Foundation is especially thankful to the Patron Hosts who opened the doors to their homes and restaurants and set the stage for the auction weekend. Auctions at each of these dinners recorded revenues of over $884,345, with a record-breaking $220,000 raised at the dinner dedicated to Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center hosted by Jim and Tammy Pierce featuring Cardinale Winery and Chef Slade Rushing.

“It is our hosts who create the anticipation for the auction, it is our hosts that take such great care of our vintners and chefs, and it is our hosts who start us off with great auction revenue from their dinners. Each is an amazing contributor to the success of our mission and truly a force for good in our community,” marveled Russell.



Patron & Restaurant Dinner Hosts

Jim & Ann Barri with Jim & Tammy Pierce
at the Burnt Pine Club

Ken Bryant & Christine Carter
with Demetrius Fuller & Jimmy Chambers

Dr. Bill & Pam Burden with George
& Stephanie Brannon Jr.

Stephen & Joan Carter

Jeanne Dailey & Jay Nettles with Dr. Warren
& Shannon Amos at Bijoux

Jeff & Doreen Eckmann with Gary
& Carolyn Dietzen at The Henderson
Beach Resort & Spa

Ben & Tiffany Edwards
with Cory & Hillary Fosdyck

Hilary Farnum Fasth & Christoffer Fasth
with Jacob & Devan Watkins at Food
for Thought Full Circle Kitchen

Drs. Mike & Lan O’Donnell with
Rebecca & Michael Scozzafave at the O’Donnell Eye Center

John & Margaret Sheehan
at Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood

Bill & Cheryl Stegbauer
at the Sandestin Beach Club

Jack & Candis Wilson

Live auction Chef

Chris & Ivy Trovas of Wild Olives

Other Events

South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival

April 27-29, 2018

The Northwest Florida Beaches Ultimate Wine Weekend is the last weekend in April each year. We are lucky to partner with the South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival. Both events take place on the lawn of Grand Boulevard and a handful of vintners participate in the festivities of the entire weekend. The 6th Annual South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival featured 800 wines, poured by notable national and international wine celebrities including Anthony and Olive Hamilton Russell of Hamilton Russell Vineyards in South Africa.

Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation benefits from the proceeds of the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival. This year we graciously accepted a check for $20,000 to help further our mission.

quote_left“We are incredibly proud of our partnership with DCWAF and remain stalwart supporters of the Foundation and the important work they continue do in our community. They truly make a difference in people’s lives.”quote_left

– Stacey Brady, Executive Director, South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival and Marketing Director, Grand Boulevard at Sandestin


quote_left“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”quote_left

– Gandhi

Thank you to our volunteers who dedicate their time throughout the year to facilitate DCWAF’s fundraising efforts. Their generosity ensures the success of the Foundation. Our volunteers are a key element to our success and we are grateful for their hard work and dedication to the DCWAF mission.

Look to the Future


Westonwood Ranch

Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation is excited to announce that it’s adding a 16th organization to its lineup of supported Northwest Florida children’s charities. Westonwood Ranch, a new nonprofit designed to fill the gap in transition services as young adolescents affected by autism enter adulthood, is located in Freeport and slated to open its doors in April of 2019.

Independence is a critical milestone in a child’s development. This is especially true for children with autism and related pervasive developmental disabilities who often require more assistance to develop functional life skills. The mission of Westonwood Ranch is to provide a nurturing farm based environment for students with special needs to explore their full capacities and pave the way for productive, independent living. Benefits of utilizing a holistic farmstead model include opportunities for self -paced, diverse learning activities that are tailored to individual interest and skill level.

Westonwood Ranch emphasizes the importance of learning by “doing,” utilizing an applied behavioral therapy approach to teach functional academics, personal and social skills, independent living and vocational skills. The heart of the program is rooted in the creation of an environmentally friendly, sustainable business enterprise which also serves as a valuable learning tool for students. With programs such as aquaponics farming, greenhouse farming of organic produce and production of Westonwood brand sauces, the opportunities for hands-on learning and job training is robust. Underscoring their commitment to a holistic approach to learning, Westonwood Ranch will also offer extra-curricular activities that promote socialization and enhanced self -esteem including art, music, recreational fitness, and therapeutic equine activities.


Riedel Seminar

Friday, February 8
The Henderson Beach Resort & Spa

DCWAF is always looking at new ways to engage our supporters while maximizing our fundraising efforts. This year, the Foundation is excited to offer an intimate Riedel Wine Glass Tasting. In this educational seminar, guests will learn the relationship between the shape of a glass and the perception and enjoyment of wine.


Our Sponsors



Founding Sponsor








To become a sponsor visit for more information or call us at (850) 650-3732.

Leadership of the Vision & Mission


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