News Releases

Hutch Holiday Gala Auction Totals $7.6 Million in Donations for Cancer Research

SEATTLE — Dec. 4, 2005 — Spirited bidding on live-auction items and a heartfelt multi-million-dollar "challenge" from retired bank executive Robert M. Arnold raised $7.6 million at last night's 30th anniversary Hutch Holiday Gala to benefit Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

During the live auction Arnold vowed to match every dollar donated up to a maximum of $3 million. Appeals from cancer survivors who benefited from the Hutchinson Center's research combined with the "challenge" to inspire Gala guests to give generously, surpassing projected totals.

As unrestricted gifts, all proceeds from the Hutch Holiday Gala will benefit the Center's general fund, which sustains vital programs such as pilot-research projects, shared-research facilities, patient-family support and faculty recruitment.

Among the top auction items were a golfing opportunity with Tiger Woods, which sold for $24,000; dinner with the Center's three Nobel laureates for $14,000; and a private-estate dinner party catered by noted French chef Thierry Rautureau for $30,000.

One hundred couples paid $250 each for the privilege of being the first to experience the new Trader Vic's restaurant in Bellevue, and an Independence Day wine dinner on a rooftop deck at the Center (with a close, unobstructed view of the fireworks over Lake Union) sold for $18,000.

"We are so fortunate to receive Mr. Arnold's 'challenge' gift to help us raise so much for leading-edge cancer research," said Lee Hartwell, Ph.D., president and director of the Hutchinson Center. "Mr. Arnold's generosity is matched by his foresight: when he decided to give the Center its largest-ever private gift earlier this year, he set aside a portion to inspire others to give through the Gala."

In February, Arnold gave the Center an unprecedented $15 million gift — the largest private donation in the Center's history. At that time, he earmarked a portion of those funds for the Gala in hopes that attendees would follow his example of giving.

"The success of tonight's event speaks volumes about these guests' commitment to eliminate cancer as a cause of human suffering and death," said Arnold, who has lost several family members to cancer. "Everyone here can be proud to play a significant role in finding a cure."

Hosted by the Hutchinson Center's Grace Heffernan Arnold Guild at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel & Towers, the Hutch Holiday Gala is an annual black-tie event featuring spectacular live and silent auctions, an elegant dinner, and late-night dancing with more than 850 business and community leaders in attendance. It is the single largest fund-raiser benefiting the Center. Last year's event raised more than $5 million through private contributions. Including the 30th anniversary total, the Hutch Holiday Gala has now raised more than $49 million since its beginnings as a humble dinner party in the 1970s.

The Arnold Guild is named for Robert Arnold's late mother, Grace, a tireless Seattle philanthropist who helped establish the biomedical-research institute that was the forerunner to the Hutchinson Center.

To learn more about the Hutchinson Center or make a contribution, call (206) 667-4399 or visit

Media Contact
Christi Ball Loso
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
(206) 667-5215

# # #

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. For more information, please visit

The Hutch Holiday Gala
The Hutch Holiday Gala, hosted by the Grace Heffernan Arnold Guild, has raised more than $49 million in support of lifesaving programs at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center including breast-cancer research, pediatric oncology, public health sciences, early cancer-detection research, and other research-equipment and patient needs. For more information, please visit