A packed house of over 400 community leaders and philanthropists joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area for our 60th Diamond Anniversary Gala hosted at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco on Friday, April 20, 2018, and raised a record high of over $630K to benefit Bay Area kids.
A bigger and stronger organization since merging with a sister North Bay agency six months ago, we now serve all nine Bay Area counties. Along with the commitment to serve more Bay Area kids throughout a larger service area, comes the task of raising more funds, and the Bay Area community rose to the occasion.
A wide range of stakeholders supported the event, from Board members, staff, individual and corporate sponsors such as PwC, “Bigs” and “Littles,” friends and family, and an array of community volunteers.
The evening kicked off with a lively reception where guests enjoyed the signature “Diamond Fizz” cocktail of vodka and champagne and open bar and mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres, taking photos on the veranda and perusing auction items while volunteers strolled the room selling raffle tickets for a chance to win an “Instant Wine Cellar” of over 50 fine wines or a diamond estate ring.
As the doors opened for dinner and throughout the evening, guests were entertained by the musical talents of Lawrence Beaman, a finalist on NBC’s America’s Got Talent who brought the audience to their feet to sing along with his rousing rendition of “Lean on Me,” which exemplifies the power of the one-to-one relationship that defines the mentorship model.
The speaking program was presided over by local luminary and ABC7 News Anchor Dan Ashley, who served as Master of Ceremonies for the fourth year, and delighted crowd by presenting a check for $10,000 from his annual “Rock the Casa” concert for charity.
CEO Dawn Kruger presented the Philanthropy Award to Latham & Watkins, with gratitude for the law firm’s pro bono support in guiding two Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies through the complex merger. Award-winning author and journalist Joan Ryan gave the keynote speech, sharing some compelling research on how relationships serve as a powerful source of personal growth, success and wellbeing.
The heart of the evening were the moments celebrating this year’s Inspiration Matches – Bigs and Littles who embody our mission, Rich and Jahleel, Celia and Lesly (check out the short films about them here) and Ezrati Scholars Alison and Martin. Little Alison also gave an emotional and moving speech about how much her Big has expanded her horizons, urging people to support more Littles like her.
The evening culminated in an exciting Live Auction where guests vied for a lineup of exclusive items including a Luxury Suite for 20 to watch the Warriors in the NBA Playoffs, a trip to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, and a Dining Out For A Year package featuring 10 of San Francisco’s finest restaurants. Professional Auctioneer Greg Quiroga orchestrated a barrage of fast-paced bidding battles and the energy was contagious.
Altogether, the Diamond Anniversary Gala raised a record high of $630K to support the organization’s mission to help at-risk youth realize their potential, one relationship at a time.
This show of support for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area ensures that more kids will have strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.