Fundraisers and galas across Marin and the Bay Area are an important part of keeping the community thriving by supporting a wide range of causes, whether humanitarian concerns, animals, arts or healthcare. Plus, they offer a chance for everyone to get out looking their best and enjoy a great evening.
Here’s some of the latest local galas, fundraisers and celebrations:
Junior League of San Francisco Celebrates 112 Years of Female Leadership at Annual Gala
The Junior League of San Francisco hosted its annual Women’s Leadership Gala on October 21 at The Conservatory at One Sansome. The evening celebrated the league’s 112 years of community involvement in San Francisco, recognizing remarkable women who have passionately devoted their time, energy and resources to enhance the community. Jan Yanehiro, a pioneering Japanese-American broadcast journalist and one of the first Asian American TV hosts in the Bay Area, was event host.
MarinMOCA’s ArtFwd Auction Raises Support for Museum, Honors 40th Anniversary
The culminating event for MarinMOCA’s annual benefit art auction, ArtFwd, took place on September 30. The event, which also served as the museum’s 40th anniversary celebration, enabled guests to bid on a curated selection of artworks by known artists such as Bruce Conner, Isabella Kirkland, David Maisel and Zio Ziegler — bringing in $145,000 in support. Guests were also welcomed by MarinMOCA’s new executive director, Jodi Roberts.
Marin Foster’s Blues and Brews Supports Foster Youth and Caregivers
Marin Foster Care Association’s annual Blues & Brews extravaganza was held the weekend of October 6 and 7 at Pacheco Ranch Winery in Novato. More than 360 guests attended the sold-out fundraising event that consisted of a paella themed dinner, live music, a live auction and an inspiring program. The $375,000 raised during the weekend directly supports Marin foster youth and their caregivers.
On October 7, St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin hosted its annual gala, Pennies from Heaven, at the exquisite Meadow Club. The elegant, sold-out event was attended by 215 benefactors and raised more than $600,000 for St. Vincent de Paul’s programs and services feeding the hungry and housing the homeless in Marin County. Photos: Steven Gregory Photography
Local independent bookstore Sausalito Books by the Bay has launched a new nonprofit, Literacy by the Bay, as part of a new hybrid business model which enables independent bookstores to remain sustainable and deepen their support of community literacy programs. Literacy by the Bay recently held its first fundraiser at a private estate in the Sausalito Hills, which was attended by authors Tappan Wilder and Elizabeth Shreeve, plus other supportive patrons. Photos: courtesy of Literacy by the Bay
Nearly 300 animal lovers gathered on September 23 for Tails by Twilight, Marin Humane‘s annual gala. Held on its Novato campus, guests enjoyed cocktails and a gourmet vegan meal while raising critical donations for the organization’s many programs through silent and live auctions. More than $600,000 was raised during the course of the evening, with more than half of that going toward the fund-a-need for youth programs. Photos: Marin Humane
The Child Mind Institute hosted its 2023 Fall Luncheon on September 27 at the Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club, raising more than $628,000 to help support Bay Area youth and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Award-winning author and journalist Donna Jackson Nakazawa shared her insights into the causes of pervasive stress in our nation’s young people, how it can derail healthy emotional development and — most importantly — how mindful parenting, strong family bonds, and community connections can help kids thrive despite these challenges. She was joined by Child Mind Institute’s Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz and Dr. Lauren Allerhand. Photos: Kala Minko
Grammy award-winning band Foo Fighters headlined this year’s Dreamfest benefit concert for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, held in conjunction with Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference. The evening began with a cocktail reception where actor Matthew McConaughey and former Golden State Warrior and UCSF Board Member Andre Iguodala presented the 2023 Colin Powell Medal of Courage Award to 22-year-old UCSF patient Selah Kitchiner—and by the end of the evening, Dreamfest had raised nearly $6.5 million for the hospitals. Photos: Drew Altizer Photography
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Youth in Arts hosted its community-focused AGlow fundraiser on September 21, raising nearly $40,000 to bolster creativity for more than 5,000 students in its arts education programs throughout Marin. The evening began with an electrifying Brazilian drumming performance by Youth in Arts Teaching Artists at the YIA Gallery in downtown San Rafael and ended with a captivating concert by Youth in Arts’ teen a cappella troupe, `Til Dawn, and local favorite, Kid Galaga. Photos: Luk Creative
WildCare’s 2023 Gala marked the nonprofit’s most successful to date, raising $500,000 to help provide care for injured and orphaned wild animals, and educate and advocate to protect wildlife. Held on September 9, 2023 in the Hoytt Theater at the Marin Osher JCC, it featured a vegan gourmet dinner by McCall’s and plenty of mingling with WildCare’s delightful Wildlife Ambassador animals. Photos: Drew Altizer Photography
Opening night at the San Francisco Symphony is always a highlight of the fall season, and this year — marking the orchestral organization’s 112th season — kept with tradition with a red-carpet welcome with sparkling wine and light bites for all concert-goers. Later, attendees moved into the hall to experience what music director Esa-Pekken Salonen arranged for the evening: Richard Strauss’s Don Juan, Gustav Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, and Anders Hillborg’s Rap Notes. Photos: Drew Altizer Photography
The house was rocking on August 13 at Sweetwater Music Hall, as high school bands from across Marin county joined forces to raise funds for Bridge the Gap, a nonprofit supporting underserved students in Marin City and Southern Marin. Spearheaded by two local high school musicians, the Band Together Marin benefit gathered musicians from Branson, Archie Williams, Marin Academy, Marin School of the Arts, Tam High and others. More than $20,000 was raised during the course of the evening. Photos: Dean Boen
The Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation (REAF) presented its gala benefit concert, Help Is on the Way XXVII: Broadway & Beyond, on July 16, followed by a VIP afterparty at the Beacon Grand. The star-studded main affair at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre featured most of the touring cast of the Tony Award-winning show Les Miserablés, plus other Broadway and notable performers including Lisa Vroman, David Burnham, Leanne Borghesi, Marta Sanders and Ava Nicole Francis. Recording artist Debby Holiday’s tribute to the late Tina Turner topping off the evening, which raised $50,000 to benefit Project Open Hand and REAF’s Small Emergency Grants Program. Photos: David Wong/DV Pix
Marin Community Clinics, which provides medical, dental, and behavioral health services to Marin’s underserved population, hosted its annual Summer Solstice Celebration on June 21st at Inn Marin and Suites. Elected officials, community health ambassadors, and hundreds of engaged supporters of equitable health care in Marin joined together to recognize honorees Grace Hughes and Shirin Vakharia plus raise $185,000 to benefit the organization’s mission. Photos: Chris Constantine
Side by Side’s 2023 annual golf tournament was held at the Meadow Club in Fairfax on June 26. The day included 18 holes of golf on the stunning course, at-hole games of chance, a barbeque lunch and hosted cocktail reception and dinner. Attendees heard from Side by Side’s Dr. Christine Garcia and Bank of Marin’s CEO, Tim Myers. Rich Walcoff, former San Francisco 49ers sportscaster, served as emcee. A live auction, and fund-a-need paddle raise provided financial support for Side by Side’s behavioral and mental health services throughout the Bay Area. Photos: Mimi Towle
Craneway Pavilion, a historic building with sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay, set the backdrop for the annual Lifehouse Great Chefs & Wineries fundraiser on May 6. The brilliantly curated evening began with a feast of small plates expertly prepared by chefs from the Bay Area’s best restaurants, accompanied by an impressive lineup of elite wineries from California’s finest growing regions. After dinner, guests boogied down to Tower of Power and watched the Lifehouse Performers. Rock legend Huey Lewis appeared as longtime Honorary Chair and Insalata’s Chef Heidi Insalata Krahling returned as the event’s expert culinary host — Betty Yu from KPIX was the event emcee. The $700,000 raised will go directly to provide quality programs and support for Lifehouse’s community of people with developmental disabilities in the Bay Area. Photos: Drew Altizer Photography
On May 12, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), a nonprofit that empowers individuals with physical challenges and enables them to secure adaptive sports equipment and access to programs, raised more than $675,000 at its Celebration of Heart event at Pier 27 in San Francisco. Guests from all walks of life enjoyed the stunning views as they united to stand behind 50 local athletes and their families, including CAF grant recipients Sydney Barta and Bruce Mansy who took the stage as the evening’s featured athletes. Photos: Christy Fritts, Challenged Athletes Foundation
Local residents, advocates, and elected officials gathered on Friday, May 19 in San Rafael for Step Up Marin!, an event to raise funds for Community Action Marin’s anti-poverty movement to help put people on a path of stability and greater hope while transforming systems toward justice. John Lam, a principal dancer with the Boston Ballet who went to preschool at the agency’s Canal Children’s Center gave an inspiring talk on his life path, while Lynette Stewart, who formerly lived in her car with her young son, received the 2023 Community Courage Award. Photos: Nano Visser
On May 6, more than 200 guests congregated at a private classic car museum in San Rafael to raise funds for Vivalon, a nonprofit that advances the independence, health, and quality of life for older adults and people with disabilities in Marin County. The Soirée d’Élégance fundraiser raised $375,000 to benefit Vivalon’s home-delivered meal programs as well as other comprehensive, integrated healthy aging services. Photos: Brian Dettor
On April 22, the community supporting MarinHealth Foundation gathered in black tie attire to celebrate with heart at Peacock Gap Golf Club. The 60s themed event, “Signed Sealed Delivered,” brought ardent proponents of the hospital together to dine and dance the night away. By the evening’s conclusion, donors had contributed more than $1 million to MarinHealth’s Haynes Cardiovascular Institute Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery Program. Photos: Drew Altizer Photography
10,000 Degrees, a Marin-based nonprofit instrumental in setting up students from low-income backgrounds for college success, welcomed more than 500 guests to the Marin Civic Center for its annual One Amazing Community fundraising gala on April 29. The event raised more than $1 million for the organization’s programs and scholarships. A highlight of the evening was a heartfelt tribute to Judy Edgar, the nonprofit’s founder who received a Lifetime Legacy Honor, and the presentation of the One Degree of Change Award to 10,000 Degrees alum Graham Brandt. California Senator Mike McGuire served as guest auctioneer. Photos: Rachel Clark
On April 20, Beyond Differences, an Marin-based organization fostering social acceptance and a culture of belonging amongst middle schoolers, held its annual benefit at the Sweetwater Music Hall, raising $675,000 to support its inclusivity programs in schools across the country. In addition to signature cocktails such as The Meet and Greet, guests were treated to rockin’ music by Petty Theft. The event honored recently retired Marin County School Superintendent Mary Jane Burke, who was instrumental in bringing the nonprofit’s programs to Marin County schools. Photos: Melania Mahoney
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette rocked a packed house on March 25 for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals’ Notes & Words benefit, raising funds to the tune of $1.5 million. Morissette teamed up with legendary Rolling Stone journalist Ben Fong-Torres, who hosted the evening, for an intimate chat on all things rock ‘n roll; later she treated guests to several musical sets showcasing her powerful vocals and gripping lyrics. The hospital provides not only clinical care for children, but also addresses their developmental and emotional needs with programs like music, art classes, therapy dog visits and more. Photos: Drew Altizer Photography
Sausalito’s Bridge the Gap hosted its Vines & Vision 2023 Gala on March 9 to support its work on educational justice. The premier wine tasting event, held at the Osher Marin JCC, brought together 270 supporters. By the end of the evening, it had raised $560,000 towards the nonprofit’s mission to provide educational, social, and emotional resources to underserved students in Marin City and Southern Marin. Photos: Shannon Bynum
More than 200 shoe-lovers showed up in their fanciest footwear at Wine Women and Shoes, a fundraising event on March 30 at the Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel. Funds raised from the evening’s silent auction, live auction marketplace, and raffle with prizes worth over $10,000 went towards conservation programs at the Aquarium of the Bay. The winner of the Best in Shoe contest walked away with bragging rights, while all guests enjoyed a fun wine wall and performances by Broadway stars Claybourne Elders and Natalie Joy Johnson. Photos: Steven Gregory Photography.
The American Red Cross of the Bay Area’s annual gala on March 24 raised over $873,000 to support its mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies. Held in the piazza at the California Academy of Sciences, the event was attended by more than 300 Bay Area notables including San Francisco mayor London Breed. Red Cross paid a special tribute to its Volunteer of the Year, Briana Taylor. Photos: Courtesy of Red Cross
Marin Ballet held a full weekend of activities to commemorate its 60th Anniversary, beginning with a fundraising gala at its ballet school on March 24, raising $60,000 to benefit Marin Ballet’s scholarship program. Guests were treated to a luscious dinner by Insalata’s, and president Nancy Rehkopf made a tribute to dance instructor Laurie Klein for her 50 years of teaching at the school. On March 26, the company presented two performances at the Marin School of the Arts, including world premier works by Julia Adam, Catherine Hader, Corinne Jonas, Amy London and Charlie Martin. Photos: Sara Abushaban
On March 16, the St. Vincent de Paul Auxiliary Board hosted its second annual Ladies’ Boutique, Luncheon & Fashion Show featuring Trina Turk. The sold-out event at the Meadow Club drew in more than 225 supporters and raised more than $100,000 to help end senior homelessness in Marin. Sue Hall, host of Bay Area Cares, was the event’s mistress of ceremonies. Photos: Mo DeLong
February 11 ushered in the county’s hottest annual Valentine’s celebration, the Marin Valentine’s Ball, attracting more than 400 cupid fans ready to boogie to the music of Wonder Bread 5. The heart studded event raised $320,000 to support the impactful work of three Marin charities — North Bay Children’s Center, Godmothers of Catholic Charities St. Vincent’s School for Boys and Side by Side — all of which provide critical safety-net services to help ensure Marin children and youth have the chance to thrive, regardless of their circumstances in life. The evening honored Natu Tuatagaloa with the Hal Brown Memorial Philanthropy Award for his support of Marin County’s youth fitness and education. Photos: Drew Altizer Photography
San Francisco City Hall came alive on Thursday, February 9 as San Francisco General Hospital Foundation hosted its Hearts in SF 2023 gala, bringing more than 300 community members, advocates and a host of local and national public officials together in support of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. This year’s gala commemorated the hospital’s 150th anniversary, and in total has raised more than $36 million dollars since its inception in 2004. Photos: Drew Altizer Photography
The San Francisco Ballet pirouetted into its 90th season at its annual Season Opening Night Gala on January 19. As the country’s oldest ballet company, there was a lot to dance about: its next@90 festival which will feature 9 world premiere ballets by 9 international choreographers over a course of three weeks, plus the first full season under company’s new artistic director, Tamara Rojo. The evening started with performance excerpts from the festival, followed by dinner and dancing at City Hall, and raised $2.75 million for SF Ballet initiatives. Photos: Drew Altizer Photography
More than 2,000 guests from the art, design, business and tech communities filled the expansive Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture on January 18 for the preview gala of FOG Design+Art. Along with benefitting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s (SFMOMA) educational programs and exhibitions, the gala offered previews of works of contemporary art and design presented by 48 leading galleries, and served up McCalls’ culinary creations and design-centric cocktails. Spotted in the crowd: Owen Wilson, Bob and Randi Fisher, Stanlee Gatti and honorary co-chairs Komal Shah and Guarav Garg. Photos: Drew Altizer Photography
The Narada Michael Walden Foundation held its 25th annual Holiday Jam on December 17 at the Throckmorton Theatre, raising nearly $100,000 for its musical grants and youth programs. The crowd was treated to the masterful raps of Darryl “DMC” McDaniel of Run DMC, along with performances by local sensations Anna Harrell and 8-year-old Ivan of Ivan and the Cuties. Grammy winner Narada Michael Walden produced the show and played drums, including during a sweet song performed by his own three children.
On December 3, Aldersly Retirement Community celebrated its centennial anniversary with a warm and lively dinner dance attended by residents, board members, staff, donors and the community. Senator Mark McGuire issued a proclamation recognizing Aldersly’s 100th anniversary and Christina Markus Lassen, Ambassador of Denmark to the United States, issued a proclamation thanking Aldersly for the many contributions it has made for the care of older people. Board president Peter Schakow was honored for his 15 years of dedicated service. The event raised nearly $100,000 for the San-Rafael based nonprofit which will help support residents who outlive their plans and financial resources, and those facing dementia and other memory challenges.
On December 3, the Agricultural Institute of Marin hosted its inaugural Gather for the Planet fundraiser, generating more than $270,000 to enhance regional food systems and help build its upcoming Center for Food and Agriculture. Guests relished a farm-forward tasting menu based on recipes curated by several Bay Area notable chefs, including Brandon Jew, Tanya Holland, Daniela Vergara and Emily Luchetti, with all dishes prepared by Chef Arnon Oren of Anaviv’s Catering. Through its nine Bay Area farmers markets and other community programs, the nonprofit has supported more than 350 farmers and locally produced food for 40 years.
The world’s most beloved tenor, Andrea Bocelli, lent his star power to Festival Napa Valley at a benefit fundraiser for its educational programs at the Kohl Mansion on December 2. La Vita è Bella – An Evening with Andrea Bocelli & Family featured the Italian opera star, his wife Veronica and daughter Virginia, and was attended by Larisa Martínez, Lt. Governor Eleni Koulpasis and Markos Kounalakis, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi and Mayor London Breed. The evening’s dinner was hosted by Michael and Tara Uytengsu. The event was part of Festival Napa Valley’s 2022 Arts for All Gala auction, which raised a record-breaking $3.9 million in July.
The Redwoods, a senior living community situated on ten acres in Mill Valley with its own organic garden, celebrated 50 years at its fundraising gala November 5 at The Seminary at Strawberry. Vera Meislin and Penny Wright co-chaired the event that featured a cocktail reception with live jazz, a sit-down dinner and dancing. Redwoods CEO, Hunter Moore, remarked that the evening “was a joyous celebration honoring the founders, community leaders, supporters, residents, families, friends and team members who did so much over the last 50 years to make The Redwoods the gem it is today.”
On November 12, world renowned physicians from the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC) joined patient families, biotech leaders and other supporters at the Letterman Digital Arts Center in the Presidio for the PNOC Gratitude Gala. The goal: raise funds to accelerate treatments for pediatric brain cancer, including clinical trials providing hope and access to novel treatments. Notable guests included PNOC Scientific co-founder Dr. Michael Prados, Dr. Nalin Gupta, and musical performers Jim Greer and Anna Harrell.
175 children living in foster care managed by the Marin Foster Care Association and their caregivers benefited from $300,000 raised during the nonprofit’s annual Blues & Brews fundraising event on October 22. The organization’s mission is to pair all the foster children in their program exclusively with Marin county based homes, allowing the kids to remain local.
On October 29, more than 400 guests at Guide Dogs for the Blind‘s (GDB) Canine Heroes Gala enjoyed an evening filled with moving stories from special guest Aria Mia Loberti, GDB graduate and star of the upcoming Netflix adaptation of the acclaimed novel All the Light We Cannot See, as her guide dog, Ingrid, patiently sat by her side. The evening, which raised $700,000, also paid tribute to Betty White, the beloved actress and GDB supporter who passed away earlier in 2022. Guide Dogs for the Blind recently celebrated its 80th anniversary.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin raised nearly $700,000 at its annual Pennies from Heaven Gala on October 8 at the Meadow Club, taking a step closer to ending homelessness and hunger in the county. More than 200 guests showed up to support Vinnie’s, including Executive Director Christine Paquette, Sean and Simone Barron, Sioban Scanlon, Samir Ramji and Kathleen Woodcock. Senator Mike McGuire led the night’s auction.
Since 1965, Ross Valley Women’s League has been devoted to financially supporting Adopt A Family of Marin, which helps families in crisis living in the county obtain a better sense of stability. This year, the passionate group of ladies raised $300,000 at its annual fundraising gala at Peacock Gap, which will benefit its nonprofit of choice.
Author and philanthropist Isabel Allende was the honored guest on October 1 at the 30th Anniversary celebration for Huckleberry Youth, a nonprofit offering no-cost medical and mental health services to teens in Marin and San Francisco. San Rafael’s 2022 Citizen of the Year and former educator with Huckleberry Youth, Samantha Ramirez, also spoke to the crowd.
Two hundred guests gathered on October 15 at MarinMOCA in Novato for the closing party for the museum’s yearly benefit auction, ArtForward. The auction raised $125,000 for the museum’s exhibition and education programs. Hot auction pieces were artworks by Bay Area legends Maija Peeples-Bright and Chester Arnold.
MarinHealth Foundation held its annual black-tie gala, “Boots and Bling,” on Saturday, October 8, attracting a crowd of more than 450 supporters. The fundraising event exceeded financial expectations by raising nearly $1M, which will support MarinHealth Medical Center’s ‘ouchless’ pediatric emergency department with child-friendly protocols that help take the pain and anxiety out of a visit to the emergency room.
On August 20, 110 people took to the dance floor to raise funds for their beloved nonprofit, Cedars of Marin. The 102-year-old organization enables adults with developmental disabilities to live creative, fuller lives through its fine arts and textile programs as well as its residential services. By the time the moving and grooving wound down, they had collectively raised more than $80,000.
Held under the stars on its campus in Novato on September 10, Marin Humane held its sixteenth fundraising gala, drawing in more than 265 guests and a few well-behaved dogs. Guests of the two-legged variety enjoyed specialty cocktails while browsing silent auction items, and later feasted on a gourmet plant-based dinner. Supporters raised more than $588,000 for the nonprofit’s programs and services that help animals in Marin and beyond.
WildCare’s 2022 Gala, held at the beautiful Acqua Hotel adjacent to Richardson Bay was a hybrid of both in-person and live streaming events. The glamorous evening on August 20, which included special appearances from WildCare’s animal ambassadors, raised more than $265,000 for WildCare’s important work in wildlife medicine, nature education and wildlife advocacy.