On Friday, October 6, more than 450 people came together for the Wine+Design Gala to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Support for Families of Children with Disabilities (SFCD).
It was by far the largest gala that Support for Families has held in its 35 years. For the first time ever, the event sold out weeks ahead of time. So we expanded the space, adding another floor. Then we sold out again.
Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and donors by the end of the evening Support for Families had raised more than a quarter of a million dollars.
Wine+Design is an opportunity for families and supporters to have fun while helping to fund the work of Support for Families. Guests enjoyed fine wine and food, plus a variety of entertainment that included a jazz trio, dancers dressed as Holly Golightly, plus a surprise appearance by the one and only Marilyn Monroe.
One of the undisputed stars of the show was the Galleria at the San Francisco Design Center, with its magnificent four story atrium. The venue was chosen by Jim Riley in 2011 when he came up with the concept of Wine+Design. Over the years, the event expanded from one floor to two. This year, with Jim’s return as event chair, the gala grew again, occupying three stories of the Galleria. Jim led the organization of the event, and also took care of many of the details on the night, including the beautiful tiffany blue décor. The sold out show was a tribute to his vision.
The gala began with a silent auction of more than 120 different packages, generously donated by local businesses. For the first time this year, the silent auction was held up on the third floor, because the second floor was occupied by dinner tables for the guests.
The main program was hosted by ABC 7 News reporter Jonathan Bloom. The audience was profoundly touched by the personal stories shared by Nersi Boussina and Elizabeth Brogna as they described how Support for Families had helped their families. Nersi received the Bill Lewandowski Memorial Award in recognition of his tireless work to help Support for Families.
The live auction included many wonderful items, such as weekends at luxury vineyards, all donated by local businesses and supporters. But the greatest excitement was for ten cheesecakes made by board member Laura Lanzone. Our expert auctioneer, Keith McLane whipped the crowd into a bidding frenzy that left many gasping.
After a very generous round of donations to fund the work of Support for Families, the formal program ended with Isaiah Riley-Chinn drawing three lucky winners of the raffle. After that, all that was left was the music, as DJ Josh Olds filled the stage with enthusiastic dancers.
The success of Wine+Design was made possible by the generous contributions of hundreds of people. Our Anniversary Sponsor, the Thoresen Foundation, and our Skylight Sponsor, the Allene and Jerome LaPides Foundation helped underwrite the event, along with more than two dozen other generous sponsors. Hundreds more people donated on the night. While more than a hundred businesses donated items to our auction.
But the event would not have happened without the work and wisdom of dozens of volunteers who helped plan, organize and run the event. Our jazz trio and dancers, many of the staff who were upfront and behind the scenes, our photographer and our celebrity emcee, were all volunteers, giving generously of their time and talent.
All that is left now is to enjoy the photos from Wine+Design 2017 and start preparing for the 2018 gala.
Thanks so much to our photographer, Kevin Wong! Visit his website here for more of his work!