|AMERICA RED CROSS PAINTS THE TOWN RED
by Jeanne Lawrence
San Francisco. The Bay Area American Red Cross created a huge amount of fun for a serious purpose — disaster readiness and relief efforts in the Bay area — with the “Paint the Town Red” Gala at City Hall.
The festivities at City Hall on February 28, 2009 went on from six and ended at midnight, though the youthful and spirited crowd of volunteers (many vibrant in lipstick-colored gowns) still seemed ready to party on!
There was a silent auction of Celebrity Survival Kits — items they couldn’t do without in the event of disaster — donated by such local luminaries as impresario Harry Denton, haberdasher extraordinaire Wilkes Bashford, Chris Mullin and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
It’s no surprise that so many turned up to support the Red Cross, whose heroic efforts help individuals and families get back on their feet in the wake of any kind of disaster. At no charge, the organization also trains an average of 750 people in survival techniques daily.
Three separate committees deserved kudos for their work in creating this spectacular evening.
They include the Champagne Committee — which could be dubbed “The Young and the Active”: Dorian Adams, Abby Adlerman, Alexandria Albers, Wanda Alfaro, Susan Atherton, Michelle Stecklein Call, Alison Davis, Mary Dingman, Linda Jenkinson, Rebecca Macieira-Kaufmann, Terry Schwakopf and Andrea Zulberti.
|The workers on the Gala Committee were Elyse Adams, Wangui Coco Banks, Gwyneth Borden, Preeti and Sonny Caberwal, Mary Beth Cerjan, Natasha Chalmers, Michelle Curtis, Lana Gleckman, Jimma Grigsby, Elizabeth Grillos, Kelly Grimes, Jaime Jensen, Maggie Stack King, Richard Leiter, Maria Hermanussen Marcus, Irene McGee, Kristina Pollak, Susan Porter, Cynthia H. Stringer and Honorary Consul of Hungary Eva Voisin.
And the Host Committee included Courtney and Nicholas Bocci, Makai Fisher, Mary Graf, Holly Grochmal, Krista Mitzel Hankinson and Eric Hankinson, Hooman, Judy Jorgensen, Chris Kennelly, Marybeth La Motte, Richard Ling, Patricia and Charlie Louckes, Laura Miller and Matthew Herold, Dana Marie Sanchez, Beth Schnitzer, Theo Taft Schwabacher, V’Anne Singleton, Elizabeth and Paul Touw and Katrina Veerman.
|League of Women Voters Salutes Women’s Leadership
The San Francisco League of Women Voters celebrated “Women Who Could Be President” at its second gala reception (when?) at the City Club in the Stock Exchange Tower.
Honoring five women who have “demonstrated exemplary leadership and service in the community,” the celebration was hosted by past honoree Cheryl Jennings of KGO-TV and chaired by long-time supporter Chandra Friese, who invited me.
I rode there with my neighbors Michelle and Joe Alioto, Jr (his late father Joseph Alioto was Mayor of SF from 1968 to 1976). Their daughter, Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, was one of the honorees.
|Some of you may not know her story. Alioto-Pier, now 40, was in a skiing accident at age 13 that left her paralyzed from waist down. At 17, she was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the President's National Council on Disabilities Advisory Board.
Her disability has never slowed her down. She’s married to attorney Thomas Pier, has three children and serves on the Board of Supervisors, running around in a self-powered wheelchair. She’s an inspiration to us all.
|Karen Clopton, president of the League, welcomed the 2009 honorees: Julie Castro Abrams, CEO of Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment; Michela Alioto-Pier, member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors; Diane Jones Lowrey, director of marketing at Levi-Strauss and community leader; Lisa Stevens, executive vice president, regional president of Wells Fargo and education advocate; and Carolyn Wente, leader of Wente Family Estates and philanthropist.
In lieu of the customary speeches, the philosophy and personality of each honoree was beautifully portrayed by a video created by David Pfiel and sponsored by past honoree Dr. Elisa Stephens of the Academy of Art University. I thought it was great that the honorees could enjoy the evening without being concerned about having to make a speech.
|Since the evening marked the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth and the 89th birthday of the League of Women Voters, it was a great excuse for a yummy birthday cake.
The venue for the reception, the picturesque City Club, has its own long history. Formerly the Pacific Stock Exchange Lunch Club (1930-1987) in the era when the stately Stock Exchange was next door, it was designed by architects Miller & Pflueger and is considered a masterpiece of Art Deco interior style, the best in the city.
|Begun in l920, The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization whose mission is to improve our systems of government and impact public policies through citizen education and advocacy.
The event made me aware how effective and objective this non-partisan grass-roots organization is; I applaud it.
Now if Congress would do as well, maybe we’d actually get the country moving again.
|The Crystal Ball Funds Fountain of Youth
San Francisco. In honor of its 10th anniversary, the Buck Institute on Aging held a VIP kick-off for their first annual Gala, The Crystal Ball, to be held on May 16, 2009.
The Ball whose name was chosen to reflect the Institute’s goal of reshaping the future of aging will be chaired by Ann Otter, Mary Poland and Roxanne Richards.
The Gala plans for guests to board Bauer Limousine’s fleet to wind their way up the hillside toward the geometric I.M. Pei building.
|There, a futuristic visual presentation will turn the exterior of the Institute into a moving kaleidoscope of science engineered by Obscura Digital, a San Francisco-based company that turns virtually any surface into a stunning, high-resolution video display.
Inside guests will be able to interact with reactive displays, which will certainly please all the computer geeks in the group.
The dinner will be catered by McCalls with event design by Ideas and for those feeling rejuvenated by what they’ve learned, there will be dancing under the stars to the beat of a hot DJ.
|The Buck Institute, described as “the closest reality to fountain of youth mythology,” is located in Novato in the hills of Marin County just across San Francisco Bay.
It’s considered the first independent non-profit research facility in the country focused solely on aging and age-related disease. Their goal is to take a leading role in shaping the future of medicine.
According to the Institute’s website, the National Institutes of Health gave a grant of $23 million in 2007 for the creation of a new discipline dubbed “Geosciences.”
With the aging of America, this is certainly an event I hope is a huge success and brings a lot of support to continue this cutting edge research. Don’t you?
|Photographs by Robert Foster, Drew Altizer, Aubrie Pick for Drew Altizer, and Jeanne Lawrence. New York-based Jeanne Lawrence reports on lifestyle and travel from her homes in Shanghai and San Francisco, and wherever else she finds a good story.|