UNICEF Gears Up To Host 2nd Annual San Francisco Gala

Last year's gala
Last year’s gala

Photo Credit: Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for UNICEF USA

This Saturday, September 22, children rights activists and San Francisco’s social set will come together in honor of supporting UNICEF. The global organization’s presence is relatively new in SF, and this is only its second annual gala in the city. Still, it promises to be a spectacular evening.

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“This year we don’t have an honoree, we have a keynote speaker, who is Emma Kathleen Hepburn Ferrer,” Emily Brouwer, UNICEF’s managing director of the Northwest region told Haute Living in a recent phone conversation. “She is an incredible humanitarian, she’s an artist, she’s a model. She is also the granddaughter of Audrey Hepburn, who of course, was an actress, but toward the end of her life, she was dedicated to UNICEF. She was a very beloved UNICEF goodwill ambassador, that was her official title, and committed many years to help UNICEF. Audrey Hepburn was affected by World War II. She was a child living in the Netherlands and was impacted by the cruelty of war. As a child appreciated the aid that she received. Looking back on that as an adult, Hepburn realized the power of UNICEF—of helping every vulnerable child—which is why she dedicated the rest of her life to it.” Hepburn’s granddaughter Emma will be making a tribute speech to her grandmother.

Emily Brouwer with UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Ishmael Beah at the 2017 event
Emily Brouwer with UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Ishmael Beah at the 2017 event

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The gala, which takes place at The Four Seasons, begins at 6:30 p.m. with a reception. It is followed by a seated dinner and program at 7:30. “We are working with Eden Rodriguez Productions, who is doing the décor. We hired Eden Rodriguez on our team last year, and they were extraordinary,” Brouwer says. “She was brilliant and creative, and so we’re looking forward to another beautiful event.”

Last year's virtual reality experience
Last year’s virtual reality experience

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Guests will have the chance to dive deep into what UNICEF does in the field. “A few highlights from the event, kind of a sneak peek for our reception: we are going to be having a virtual reality bar, which is something we had last year, and it was popular, where guests can put on virtual reality goggles and watch a UNICEF film from the point of view of a young boy or girl, there are two different films to choose from, about what their lives are like on an everyday basis.” The movies will illustrate what it’s like to grow up in Uganda and what it takes to obtain clean drinking water.

A child who lives in a camp for people fleeing brutal fighting in Syria
A child who lives in a camp for people fleeing brutal fighting in Syria

Photo Credit: UNICEF Facebook

“We will also have a real UNICEF tent from the field that will be set up in the cocktail area,” she says. “Guests can walk through and experience what it’s like to be in a tent. These tents are set up all around the world in situations where there are crises. They’re made into what we call child-friendly spaces, for children in refugee camps and any children who are on the move, or refugees, or migrants.”

A trick or treat box
A trick or treat box

Photo Credit: UNICEF

UNICEF hopes to raise more money than they did last year to help their incredible cause. Brouwer says that “15,000 children die every single day from preventable causes, and UNICEF is working to change that.” Can’t make it on Saturday night, but want to support the cause? Anyone and everyone—including kids!—can participate in UNICEF’s Halloween event. Trick or Treat for UNICEF is a program that has been around for decades. When going door to door, children are encouraged to ask for small change to donate to UNICEF.

Tickets for the gala are now on sale.