American Red Cross Gala Touches Hearts

Photographer:  Drew Altizer

San Francisco’s Union Square was transformed into a stunning sea of red during the the evening of the American Red Cross Gala.  The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter hosted its annual event on Saturday, March 3 to benefit Red Cross disaster readiness and response efforts.

Co-chaired by Susan Atherton and Gwyneth Borden in a clear tent under the stars, the annual black-tie event brought out the who’s who of San Francisco, including Mayor Ed Lee and former Mayor Willie Brown.  Over 580 members of the Bay Area philanthropic and corporate community were in attendance to celebrate and acknowledge the work and dedication of the American Red Cross.

Joseph Saunders, CEO and Chairman of Visa, Inc. was honored as the CEO Humanitarian of the Year for his philanthropic efforts and Visa’s close partnership with the Red Cross to deliver disaster relief globally, nationally and locally. The award was presented by American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter Board Chair Elizabeth Shih, of sponsor Dignity Health.

Upon entering the Gala tent, guests were greeted by an Audi R8 Spyder that quickly became a popular attraction during the cocktail reception, followed by a beautifully crafted three-course dinner as guests watched the live auction. There was friendly competition over the NY Fashion Week Experience, which raised $10,000 and a Miro lithograph, donated by the Weinstein Gallery, which was won for $8,500. The Audi Driving Experience package was doubled, raising a total of $11,600.

The successful event raised $615,000 for the American Red Cross.

About the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter

As a community-based, humanitarian organization, the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter provides relief to those affected by disasters and empowers individuals in our community to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. By helping people in the Bay Area learn how to take care of their families and neighbors, the Red Cross strengthens the community and makes it ready for all types of disasters, including home fires, earthquakes, wildfires and health emergencies. Call 1-888-4-HELP-BAY (1-888-443- 5722) or visit to learn more.

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