Cigar Aficionado

Fuente Newman Fundraiser for Charity

The Fuente and Newman families are holding the third annual Toast Across America from September 18 to 24. Proceeds will go to the Dominican Foundation and the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, which will benefit the underprivileged of the Dominican Republic. More than 5,000 people, representing all 50 states, are expected to participate in the event. At least 120 retailers are joining in this year's effort to raise more than $300,000.

In an effort to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Cigar Family will contribute $50,000 of the money raised at the toast to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund.

Smoke shops across America participate by holding their own on-premises ticketed events, which will range from smoking parties to full multi-course dinners. Usually at the time of ticket sales, the retailers are allotted a certain amount of premium cigars to distribute at their own events. All ticket sales go to the Cigar Family's cause. Over the past two years, the Toast Across America has raised half a million dollars. Unlike previous years, this Toast will span one week, giving retail shops increased planning flexibility.

The main fund-raiser gala takes place September 22 at The Chart House located on the Hudson River, Pier D-T at Lincoln Harbor, Weehawken, New Jersey, and is scheduled to run from 6:30 to 11:00 p.m. The $300 admission price includes an open premium bar, a sit-down dinner, dancing and limited-edition cigars such as the Fuente Fuente OpusX and Diamond Crown Maximus, which are both made by Fuente. For the corporate rate of $2,500 per table of 10, the foundations will display the donor's corporate banner, and include the corporate logo and name in all promotional and press materials.

Since 1990, the Dominican Foundation has sought to improve the lives of Dominicans by expanding their access to health care and education. The foundation has supported numerous organizations, particularly the Dominican Institute for Integral Development (IDDI), which works with the urban and rural poor.

The Fuente and Newman families established the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation to help accommodate the humanitarian needs of the Dominican people, especially children. Carlos Fuente Jr., president of Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia., developed the concept. What distinguishes the Cigar Family from most nonprofit organizations is that 100 percent of every contributed dollar goes directly to charitable purposes. The Newman and Fuente families underwrite all administrative, legal, accounting, office and other general marketing costs. For more on how cigar companies are helping in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, see