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Throughout 2011, I dedicated myself to many fundraisers and charities, and as a new year begins, the spirit of giving back remains at the forefront of my thoughts. Even though the holiday season is over, it’s important to remember the value of philanthropy and the lives that are bettered through the help and compassion of others. I hope you’ll join me in supporting the wonderful organizations I supported this year, and I look forward to working with those who have generously donated both time and funding again in 2012.

Opera Ball 2011
Benefiting Opera Education Throughout Northern California

The opening of San Francisco Opera’s 89th Season, Opera Ball 2011, An Evening in the Forbidden City, was nothing short of spectacular. This annual fundraising affair is the biggest social event in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I was very proud to be a Grand Benefactor sponsor this year. For over 70 years, San Francisco Opera Guild has been augmenting school curriculums with award-winning programs to bring opera to over 60,000 students in 200 schools each year.

Chaired by Anne Marie Massocca and Susan Tamagni, the whole evening was magical. We enjoyed cocktails and Puccini’s Turandot at the War Memorial Opera House followed by dinner at the Opera Ball Pavilion and after-party dancing at City Hall Rotunda. Opera Ball 2011 raised approximately $1 million.

Benefiting Enterprise for High School Students

San Francisco Fall Antiques Show celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. Over 60 dealers gathered to offer fine and decorative arts representing all styles and periods in all forms: furniture, silver, ceramics, glass, jewelry, rugs, textiles, paintings, prints and photographs. The “hidden treasures” theme truly came to life; it was designed by architect Andrew Skurman and curated by Fine Arts Museums’ Maria Santangelo. The intricate “treasures” featured eye-catching effects like secret drawers and optical illusions loaned by collectors including Ann Getty, Ron Schwarz and Trevor Traina.

The proceeds support Enterprise for High School Students (EHSS), an organization that prepares youth for successful futures in higher education and employment. Event chairwoman Michele Goss, honorary chairman (and renowned restaurateur) Tyler Florence and EHSS Executive Director Tony DiStefano produced a seamless show this year.

Holiday Cheers
Benefiting San Francisco Opera

Through funds raised by Holiday Cheers, San Francisco Opera Guild provides education and outreach programs to bring opera into the community. Last year, over 50,000 children in Northern California were given the opportunity to attend performances and participate in one of many school programs. This year’s Scotlandthemed event was held at The Westin St. Francis, where funds were raised through silent and live auctions. Approximately 300 patrons, members of Opera Association, Opera Guild board members, supporters and leaders of the San Francisco Bay Area philanthropic community gathered to support this wonderful cause.

I thank Post Ranch Inn, Cavallo Point Lodge and Fairmont Heritage Place for donating suites, dinners and spa treatments to the auction. For my part, I donated an exclusive private dinner with chef Justin Everett, who is at the helm of Cavallo Point’s Michelin-starred restaurant Murray Circle, at the Marin Designers Showcase in Belvedere. I also donated a luncheon at Corinthian Yacht Club during America’s Cup in 2013 to watch the race, which garnered an overwhelming 12 bidders.

 For over 40 years, the showcase has been one of the most prominent fundraising events in Marin County.  

Marin Designers Showcase
Benefiting the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership

This year, I am proud to be the Presenting Sponsor of the 41st Marin Designers Showcase. Throughout February, the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership will present the showcase at Villa Belvedere, a newly constructed $45 million home. A team of top Bay Area designers, including Suzanne Tucker, David Kensington and Candace Barnes, will exhibit their talents in the decoration and design of this magnificent home. The caliber of this 15,500-square-foot home on a 1.14-acre waterfront lot is extremely rare, and this will be the first Belvedere showcase since 1969.

For over 40 years, the showcase has been one of the most prominent fundraising events in Marin County. Ticket sales support volunteerism, strengthen nonprofits and enhance community leadership including services from educational workshops to technical assistance. Proceeds also contribute to community-wide events like the Heart of Marin Awards and Marin Human Race, the largest collaborative fundraiser in the county.

Benefiting Breast Cancer Emergency Fund

This Old Bag: The Power of the Purse is a fun auction during which guests get to shop for a cause. A variety of celebrity and designer handbags are up for grabs, with proceeds going to Breast Cancer Emergency Fund (BCEF). BCEF provides financial assistance to low-income women battling breast cancer. Bella Farrow also founded this event, and after her passing in 2010, Elisabeth Thieriot established The Bella Farrow Fund with a pledge of $50,000. The amount quickly cultivated to over $70,000 from the support of those moved to pay tribute to Farrow’s legacy and renew their support of BCEF. In its seventh year, This Old Bag was a sold-out affair, and The Bella Farrow Fund will continue to host the auction annually.

Holiday Hob Nob on the Hill
Benefiting Saint Francis Memorial Hospital

For 23 years, Holiday Hob Nob has been one of San Francisco’s most prominent and anticipated events, raising millions of dollars for the programs and services of Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. The event was originally conceived by the late San Francisco diva of fundraising, Bella Farrow, in 1989 following the Loma Prieta earthquake. In spite of the shock and despair that spread from the terrible quake, Farrow and her husband Charles had the courage to illuminate Nob Hill with Christmas lights and host a fundraiser to benefit the Saint Francis Memorial Hospital.

Co-chairs Elisabeth Thieriot and Susan Gearey hosted this year’s elegant gala at The Fairmont Hotel’s historic Venetian and Gold Rooms. Proceeds support the expansion of the hospital’s Intensive and Critical Care Units.

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