Previewing the Sierra Club’s Trail Blazers Ball

A scene from last year's ball
A scene from last year’s ball

Later this month a little club founded by environmentalist John Muir will turn 125 years old. The Sierra Club, a nationally recognized preservation organization devoted to protecting the great outdoors, was established on May 28, 1892. It’s original mission “to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives” holds true to this day. Next week, the club will celebrate its milestone anniversary with the fourth annual Trail Blazers Ball, on Thursday, May 18 at 6 p.m., at the Palace of Fine Arts.

The Sierra Club's executive director, Michael Brune
The Sierra Club’s executive director, Michael Brune

“The Sierra Club is a huge, very spread out and diverse grass roots organization. We’re the largest environmental grass roots organization in the nation, and we have roughly 64 chapters, all over the country. Coming up in this grass roots way, it had not been our tradition to have a big fancy party,” Angelina Acevedo, the club’s director of donor engagement and stewardship told Haute Living over the phone earlier this week. When Michael Brune came on as executive director in 2010 that all changed. “He said, ‘We’re a big organization and we’re really well-known. We should have a big party,” so we did.” This year’s shindig promises to be more thrilling than ever. Thomas Middleditch, star of HBO’s Silicon Valley is the evening’s emcee and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Guy and Jeanine Saperstein serve as the ball’s chairs. Michael R. Bloomberg, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Jung Cho, and Shailene Woodley are being honored for their commitment to the Sierra Club’s values. “We are just really excited to have Thomas Middleditch and Shailene Woodley be supporters,” Acevedo says. There is a live auction, music by DJ heyLove, and members of the host committee include notable celebrities like director Darren Aronofsky, actor Chloë Savigny, and model Amber Valletta.

The 2016 live auction
The 2016 live auction

Acevedo is the lead staff person in charge of planning the ball and she’s personally selected everything from the bites that are served during the cocktail hour to the vases that the flowers are arranged in. She’s also found a new venue for the event. “We moved. We’d been at City View Metreon, but they’re closed right now for retro-fitting,” Acevedo explains. “It was a perfect year for us [to move venues] because it’s our 125th anniversary and it gave us the opportunity to be in this amazing, historic space, at a time that makes sense, and it gave us a little bit more flexibility as this venue gives us more space.” What is she most looking forward to? Hearing the speeches made the night of the ball. “We have some amazing activists that we’re going to be honoring and they’re going to have great things to say. I think that’s what gets me really excited, is tying all this big fancy party back to the core values and aims of the organization.” Somewhere, John Muir is smiling.