Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area Celebrates a Renewed Commitment to Igniting the Potential of Bay Area Children
Celebrating Big Brothers Big Sisters’ renewed commitment to igniting the potential of kids all nine Bay Area counties, over 400 philanthropists, business and community leaders came together at the Fairmont Hotel on Friday, April 26th, for an unforgettable evening devoted to Bay Area youth. Photos of guests and event festivities can be viewed here.
A highlight of San Francisco’s annual social calendar, the event raised funds to help Bay Area kids realize their potential through enduring one-to-one relationships with caring adults that change their lives for the better, forever. The Gala is backed by Honorary Committee members United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, Wanda “Mama Durant” (mother of Kevin Durant), Lorrie and Sully Sullenberger, and Dan Ashley, who also serves as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening and supports young people through the annual benefit concert Rock the Casa.
Since Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area merged with the North Bay, the local charity now serves approximately 1,000 children a year across all nine Bay Area counties as one strong central agency, with headquarters in San Francisco and offices in Oakland, Milpitas, and American Canyon. The Gala is a cornerstone annual event that raises a large portion of the organization’s operating funds, critical to programming throughout the year. “Big Brothers Big Sisters is all about authentic, enduring relationships. Our mentoring relationships provide children with caring adults who are committed to being in the child’s life for the long haul,” says CEO Dawn Kruger. “Big Brothers Big Sisters is a stronghold in youth development, and we want to shine a light on our urgent mission to help more kids realize their potential in life.”
Community and corporate support raised a record-breaking amount this year to support expanded services to more kids in need throughout the Bay Area. The inspiring evening is made possible by Diamond Sponsor Arrow Benefits Group, Platinum Sponsors PwC and Zendesk, Gold Sponsor Sovos Brands, as well as a host of other sponsors including Silicon Valley Bank, Oracle, Raymond James, Wells Fargo, BDO, World Wide Technology, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Foundation.
This year was marked by an exciting live musical performance by Rhythm Section Drumlines, local youth group working with schools throughout the Bay Area to inspire youth through music. Beloved ABC7 news anchor and local celebrity Dan Ashley is a mainstay as Master of Ceremonies for the fifth consecutive year. Community speakers shed light on why the theme of the night Igniting Potential was meaningful to each of them, speaking to the power of mentoring to change the trajectory of a young person’s life. The event also honored Philanthropy Awardee the Marin Community Foundation for supporting an important region of the organization’s strategic plan, particularly to ensure youth in Marin would continue to be served after a North Bay merger.
Kids were center stage during the heartwarming presentation the Inspirational Matches of the year. Littles and Bigs whose personal stories embodied the organization’s mission and vision were represented by this year’s honorees: Big Sister Aurora and Little Sister Michelle, as well as Big Brother Robert and Little Brother Aldo (learn about their stories here or view their videos below). The Gala culminated with a live charity auction of extravagant items, including luxury trips to London and Mexico, tickets to see the Warriors in the playoffs, and an exclusive Green Bay Packers package. All proceeds directly support the mission of the organization, helping kids realize their potential through one-to-one mentoring programs.