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The Country Friends partners with South Coast Plaza for the annual Art of Fashion

Andrea Naversen
Andrea Naversen, 2019 Art of Fashion honorary chair Vincent Knakal

Designs from top international luxury brands will take to the runway in Rancho Santa Fe on Sept. 12 when The Country Friends presents the Art of Fashion in partnership with South Coast Plaza. The annual runway show and luncheon, held for more than 60 years at the historic Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, highlights the latest trends from the fall/winter collections of a carefully curated selection of the center’s renowned retailers. This year’s event marks the nonprofit’s 15-year partnership with South Coast Plaza.

“We are honored to collaborate once again with South Coast Plaza, known for its unrivaled collection of luxury brands,” says Suzanne Newman, president of The Country Friends. “Art of Fashion is our signature event, an annual homage to fashion and philanthropy, which raises funds for dozens of San Diego County charities.”

Each year, the event recognizes those who have given their talents and time to help further The Country Friends’ mission of supporting human care agencies. This year’s honoree is Andrea Naversen, the longtime editor-at-large of Ranch & Coast Magazine, who is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist, community leader and philanthropist. Event co-chairs are Elaine Kaminski Becerra and Erika Fetter, young women who have distinguished themselves in both the private and nonprofit sectors.

During more than 40 years as a journalist, Naversen has reported for The Plain Dealer, TIME, Business Week, CBS and ABC News, covering stories around the nation and world. In San Diego, she was a reporter and anchor for KFMB-TV, KUSI and XETV for more than a decade. In recognition of her contributions to the industry, The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Pacific Southwest Chapter) inducted her into its prestigious Silver Circle in September 2014. She also has won numerous San Diego Press Club awards for her writing and reporting.

Naversen’s charitable work has focused on children’s causes. As a longtime member of Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary, she spearheaded Hats Off to Children, a fundraiser that netted hundreds of thousands of dollars to help sick and injured children in San Diego. The local chapter of Childhelp USA honored Naversen with its “For the Love of a Child” award for her decade of service with the childhood abuse and prevention organization. She also headed up public relations for Kids Korps USA and Teen Volunteers in Action, and co-chaired the Nordstrom Designer Preview Show to benefit the New Children’s Museum. She has emceed countless events for Walden Family Services, Miracle Babies, and many other charities.

Naversen is especially committed to The Country Friends. Actively involved with the Art of Fashion for the past decade, she chaired the nonprofit’s signature fundraiser in 2010 and 2014, and serves on the TCF board. In 2013, The Salvation Army honored her as a “Woman of Dedication” for her long service to community, and in 2014, The San Diego Union-Tribune named her among “San Diegans who made a difference.” She and her husband Dwight Wait, a retired airline pilot and Vietnam veteran, live in Carlsbad. They have three grown children and three grandchildren.

two chairs
Elaine Kaminski Becerra and Erika Fetter, 2019 Art of Fashion co-chairs Jody Pinchin

Becerra, a wealth director with BNY Mellon Wealth Management, helps her clients analyze and understand their finances and define their goals, ultimately creating and executing a plan to achieve financial success. During more than 15 years in the field, she has especially focused on women in the process of divorce, and clients going through change, helping them to navigate complex challenges and prepare for the next phase of their live

Becerra has a passion for helping others, and is involved with many nonprofits, including The Country Friends, where she serves as a member of its board of directors and on the Art of Fashion committee. She is also committed to Miracle Babies, an organization which provides support and services to critically ill newborns and their families. She served as this year’s co-chair of the nonprofit’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” fundraiser, and serves on the committee for its annual gala. As a former member of the Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club, she volunteered for leadership programs helping middle and high school students, and helped create the “Taste of Rancho Santa Fe,” which benefits many local charities. She lives in Encinitas with her husband, Alphonse Becerra, two young sons, and a 17-year-old daughter.

Fetter deeply values the nonprofit community and devotes much of her time to education-focused philanthropy. While running her own fashion marketing business and leading the Park City Women’s Business Network, she began her nonprofit work at the Sundance Film Festival as the merchandise manager and designer, with all the profits benefiting independent film creation. The messages of these global films opened her eyes to the needs of so many in the community.

Fetter has applied what she has learned in business to the nonprofit sector in terms of efficiency, cost-savings and financial stability. She currently works with executives at Clutch Personal Branding, and serves on four boards in the San Diego area including The Country Friends, Hanna Fenichel Center for Childhood Development (as president), NextEd, and Unknown Voices. She and her husband, Kyle, have a four-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son.

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe once again serves as the charming venue for the Art of Fashion, which begins with a champagne reception and photo lounge followed by the runway show and luncheon. Throughout the day, South Coast Plaza mini-boutiques will offer the latest in clothing, handbags, jewelry, eyewear, and accessories.

Agencies selected for funding this year include: A Step Beyond, Alzheimers San Diego, Assistance League, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Club of Carlsbad, Boys to Men, Casa de Amparo, Center for Community Solutions, Champions for Health, Community Campership Council, Community Resource Center, ConnectMed International, Doors of Change, Elderhelp, Elizabeth Hospice, Friends of Vista Hill, Generate Hope, Girls Rising, Helen Woodward Animal Center, Hospice of the North Coast, Include Autism, Jacobs & Cushman SD Food Bank, Kids Turn, Kitchens for Good, Lightbridge Hospice, Mana de San Diego, Meals on Wheels of La Jolla, Miracle Babies, Mitchell Thorpe Foundation, Olivewood Gardens & Learning Center, Operation Hope Vista, Options for All, Palomar Family Counseling, Palomar Health Foundation, Reading Legacies, Reality Changers, REINS, Rite Care San Diego, San Diego Blood Bank, San Diego Brain Injury Foundation, San Diego Burn Institute, Saving Horses, Say San Diego, SD Center for the Blind, Serving Seniors, Solutions for Change, Special Delivery, Special Olympics, Support the Enlisted Project, Tender Loving Canines, The Brother Benno’s Foundation, Think Dignity, UCSD EyeMobile for Children, USO Council on San Diego, Walden Family Services, Warriors Live On, Women’s Resource Center, YMCA Armed Services, YWCA of San Diego. The deadline for applications for funding in 2020 is Aug. 4, 2019.

For more information, or to become an Art of Fashion sponsor, contact: The Country Friends at 858-756-1192, ext. 4 or events@thecountryfriends.org.