Come Sunday Night REAF’s Annual Gala Promises To Dazzle SF

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Last year's performence
Last year’s performence

Although the San Francisco social scene has been relatively quiet, this weekend things are about to pick up with the Help is on the Way: Puttin’ on the Glitz gala—which takes place this Sunday, August 20. The 23rd annual event, that includes a live concert at Herbst Theater is put on by the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation and benefits Meals on Wheels of San Francisco and the Positive Resource Center. The foundation was created by “two mothers, Barbara Richmond and Peggy Ermet, who lost their only sons to AIDS as a way to honor their sons’ memories and help alleviate the suffering of all the other sons and daughters living with HIV and AIDS,” Ken Henderson, the executive director of REAF told Haute Living in an email.

The organization began as a volunteer-run agency with a fundraising event called Help is on the Way. The concert and gala has grown to become one of the Bay Area’s largest annual benefits and is a major source of funding for many local AIDS, food, and youth service programs. Gala co-chairs include Eileen Blum-Bourgade, Sonya Molodetskaya, Gary Snow, and Sophie Azouaou. “I am privileged to serve on the Board of Directors of REAF. This year’s gala will be one of our best yet!” Azouaou excitedly told us. At the event, Azouaou will be receiving an award for her contribution to the organization. “While I’m honored and thankful to be this year’s awardee for my community service, I also want to mention that it does take a village. I could not have accomplished all I did without the help of core friends and angels,” she says.

Honoree Sophie Azouaou, second right left
Honoree Sophie Azouaou, second right right

The gala’s Puttin’ on the Glitz theme inspired the concert, which will celebrate musical legends and icons. Each number will pay tribute to a distinct person or genre. Performers include Grammy-winning Broadway-star Maureen McGovern, American Idol’s 2016 winner Trent Harmon, local jazz lady Paula West, world champion salsa dance company Salsamania, the touring cast of Something Rotten, and many others. “Each year we try to bring in old favorites to perform as well as a few new faces to our audiences,” Henderson explains.

Another new aspect of this year’s event is a different way to bid during the silent auction. “We will also be testing a new online platform called Givergy for our silent auction. All bidding will be done using mobile devices,” Henderson says. “We think this will be much more efficient and easier for our customers to use. We’ll have plenty of helpers on hand to assist folks get registered and learn how to navigate the system. And no more having to discern people’s often hard-to-read handwriting on standard bid sheets!” The gala starts at 5 p.m. with a VIP reception and is followed by a silent auction. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. and the after party with the cast takes place at 9:45 p.m. in the theater’s Green Room. The night promises to be an entertaining one and an excellent way to give back to the community, so get your tickets now.

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