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Dan Schuyler sets $15,000 fundraising goal for Celebrity Island Dinner event

By Staff | Sep 9, 2015

Dan Schuyler, Lily & Company owner will shave his head if he raises $15,000 in tips for the annual Celebrity Island Dinner. PHOTO PROVIDED

This year, Lily & Company co-owner Dan Schuyler is taking his fundraising efforts of the annual Celebrity Island Dinner to another level to help support the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum.

About 20 years ago, Schuyler worked at an independent jewelry store in Maryland with 250 employees. After finding out that one of the employees was diagnosed with cancer the company rallied behind her by creating a fundraiser to generate $100,000 for the young woman to afford cancer treatment.

“We put the neighborhood up to the challenge,” he said.

Schuyler decided to add some excitement to the fundraiser, along with the rest of the men who worked in the diamond department, by shaving their hair if the goal was met. The fundraiser was successful and the men were caught on video from the local news station of their heads being shaved.

“We couldn’t of done it without the support and gathering of the community,” Schuyler said.

Due to the success of the event, he wanted to introduce the concept to Sanibel for the annual Celebrity Island Dinner. If Schuyler raises $15,000 for the museum through tips, he will shave his head once again.

“It’s my personal goal,” he said.

This year the Celebrity Island Dinner will be held at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, at Traders Cafe, 1551 Periwinkle Way. Tickets, which are $60 per person, which includes a three course gourmet meal.

The celebrity waiters will include Debi Almeida of Sanibel Blue; Ric Base of Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce; Mark Blust of Prawnbroker Restaurant Group; Mary Bondurant of Bondurant Realty; “Rookie” Bradley of Rookie’s Lawn Care and Bonnie’s Blooming Gardens; Terry Igo of Sanibel Captiva Trust Company; Holli Martin of Heidrick & Co. Insurance; Trent Peake of Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce; Shelby Peters of Hillgate Marketing; Eric Pfeifer of Pfeifer Realty and Schuyler.

“I have always been a part of the celebrity dinner,” Schuyler, who sat on the Shell Museum’s board for three years, said.

All of the tips the waiters make goes towards educational programs for the museum.

“It’s a fun event that helps out the museum,” The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Marketing and Events Manager Katie Ball said. “It’s like a reunion of people who live here with people coming back.”

In the past, attendees have tipped the waiters for such tasks as cutting their steak and singing them a song.

“It’s a lot of fun. It gets crazy and wild,” Schuyler said laughing.

The celebrity waiters add a little excitement to the dinner by dressing in various costumes. Over the years, Schuyler said he has dressed up as a woman and a tooth fairy.

The night, he said is all about “dressing up crazy, dinner, karaoke and dancing.”

He continues to support the Celebrity Island Dinner because he enjoys watching people come together as a community to help raise funds for a great nonprofit organization – the Shell Museum.

“I get just as much pleasure out of giving,” he said.

Individuals can tip any of the waiters by visiting www.shellmuseum.org or by calling (239) 395-2233, ext. 16. Tickets can also be purchased the same way.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.