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Benefit The Lifestyle of Giving

The Lifestyle of Giving Jan/Feb 07 $ 4.95

Board Housewives | Giving Inc. | Academy Awards

Board HOUSEWIVES What does it take to run a big-name company, raise a brood of children, and serve on multiple nonprofit boards?

Jan/Feb 07

Giving, Inc.

Tree Huggers


The top ten Bay Area Made in the shade with On the red carpet with corporate philanthropists Friends of the Urban Forest Academy of Friends 0701_cover_v1ALT.indd 1

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These are selected pages from this issue of Benefit Magazine, and not necessarily shown in the same order as the printed version.

contents JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007 VolUmE 1, No. 3

Giving, Inc. p.100


Board p.94

Board Housewives


What does it take to run a big-name company, raise a brood of children, children, and serve on multiple nonprofit boards? It takes Leah, Eleni, Summer, Summer, Zem, Claudia, Maryanne, and Lisa.

100 Giving, Inc.


Wells Fargo, Schwab, Salesforce ... no other region in America is as is as actively engaged in corporate philanthropy as the Bay Area.


Black+White at Bloomies

106 Johnny Appleseed: City Slicker


Friends of the Urban Forest are growing a greener San Francisco.


Sydney, Hudson and the gang score at Bloomingdales as they dress for Oscar season and the Academy of Friends Gala

On the Cover: Lisa Stevens, Maryanne Comaroto, Summer Tompkins Walker, Zem Joaquin, Claudia Castillo Ross, Leah Shahum. photographed by Billy Winters at Korts and Knight. sylist: Tori B. Amos, KoKo Represents; hair: at atelier aveda santana row; makeup:; clothing: Bloomingdales

< Appleseed p.106


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contents Keep the City Green p.23

Focus In every issue


Editor’s Letter Publisher’s Letter Contributors Letters Calendar Listings Philanthroscope

12 14 16 19 39 122 128

23 The Avenues of Giving Mayor Gavin Newsom for PG&E’s Let’s Keep This City Green campaign; Savvy Donor Sites; Katherine Ripley-Williams’ Heart; AIDS 360; Tommy Lee at Bloomingdale’s; Childhood Matters on the Radio; Lattes for Africa; Alma Robinson on arts funding; Food Runners; Just Think, Media Literacy; Atherton Mayor Charles Marsala; San Francisco Conservatory of Music and more.

Departments 51 Events Partying with purpose Gorgeous & Green, amfAR’s San Francisco Fall Dinner, San Francisco Opera, Sportiva, Conservatory of Flowers, Slide, San Francisco Ballet, Halloween Heroes, Helpers of the Mentally Retarded, Mingle & Jingle, Koret Foundation, Red Tie Gala and SF Symphony.

57 Patrons Bob Callan, Gary Maisel, Suri Suriyakumar, Leah Williams, and Justin Boeger

64 Roundtable Setting the Table for ’07 The pros offer up their “must do” events for the coming year. Grab a pencil and listen in... By Scott Adelson

66 Food & Wine La Cocina de las Mujeres The Women’s Foundation of California has created a commercial kitchen in the Mission to jump-start Latina businesses. By Suzy Varadi. Also: A Life of Zin By Scott Adelson

70 Music Jazz Sugar Sneakers@work p.80

The voice of Paula West has become a staple for California music lovers. Local charities are reaping the benefits. By Erik Vance

72 Community Hanna and Her Brothers Hanna Boys Center maintains a tradition of helping young men during their formative years. By Rayne Wolfe

76 Culture A Place to Call Home The Contemporary Jewish Museum is adding yet another experience to Yerba Buena’s ethnic mecca. By Debbie Cohen

80 Health Sneakers@Work Day The American Prostate Cancer Initiative is shining a light on the #2 cancer killer of men. The good news is that you don’t have to run for your life—you only have to tie your shoes. By A.G. Britton

84 Education (What They) Need to Succeed IDEAL and SMASH are leveling the playing field for students of color. By Laura Svienty

90 Energy Sell, Sell, Sell! Benefit speaks to fundraising auctioneer Greg Quiroga about the fine—and not-so-fine—points of selling to the crowd. By Tim Gaskin

126 San Francisco Voice Willie Brown Former Mayor Willie Brown’s Style equals his Substance. As told to Tim Gaskin

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Join us in making the holidays brighter for San Francisco kids and families.

Every year, Zephyr sponsors a holiday food and toy drive to benefit kids and families in need throughout our community. This year, more than ever, we invite you to participate by bringing unwrapped new toys and non-perishable foods to any of our offices, November through December. Working together for our community is a wonderful gift.

Zephyr Real Estate. We’re all about San Francisco.

ChristmasGirl-BenefitMag 1 0711_Feature_PGXX.indd 40

Noe Valley • 415.695.7707 Pacific Heights • 415.674.6500 Potrero Hill • 415.315.0105 South Beach/SOMA • 415.905.0250 Upper Market • 415.552.9500 Upper Market/Castro • 415.552.9500 West of Twin Peaks • 415.731.5000

10/4/07, 1:10:23 PM 10/29/07 5:12:12 PM

Media sponsored by Benefit



opinion food sweets bookmarks film

The lifestyle of giving, up close

The Greening of San Francisco Mayor Newsom joins thousands to kick off green project Mayor Gavin Newsom took a moment to relax last November 17 when he joined thousands of San Franciscans who were invited to lounge on grass couches at several landmark spots around the city. This series of interactive installations celebrated the launch of, a community-based Web site that raises local environmental consciousness and provides resources to help make San Francisco the “greenest city in the nation.” >

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Donating money online doesn’t have to be a risk. Here are sites to help you become a savvy online donor There are a lot of reasons people choose to donate over the Internet. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s convenient. But did you also know that donating online is the quickest way to donate at times of crisis? That it gives you the ability to give to many different charities in a single transaction? Or that you have total privacy and anonymity, as well as the convenience of storing all giving records in one place? Yes, technology can be a beautiful thing. So why doesn’t everyone donate online? Because, plain and simple, there are inherent risks whenever money is exchanged in a “cyber” format. No one wants to lose money through untrustworthy Internet sources or become confused while attempting to track the distribution of donations. Intelligent giving is the key to enjoying the incredible convenience and true security of donating online, and the Internet itself offers information and features to help donors make informed choices. Here are two sources to help you become a savvy online donor.

Charity Navigator is a nonprofit organization and the largest charity evaluator in America. The group checks out the financial health of more than 5,000 charities, allowing donors to review evaluations using a rating system based on two key areas: organizational efficiency and organizational capacity. Charity Navigator accepts neither advertising nor donations from the organizations it evaluates, making certain the information you receive through their site is unbiased. This gives Charity Navigator the unique opportunity to shine a light on successful organizations while at the same time ensuring that charitable giving keeps pace with the growing need for programs. What’s more, there is no charge to access Charity Navigator’s ratings, and they also provide guidelines for the best practices for donating your money. Reach Charity Navigator online, by phone at 210-818-1288, or by mail at 1200 MacArthur Blvd., 2nd Floor, Mahwah, NJ 07430. Network for Good was founded in November of 2001 by America Online, Cisco Systems and Yahoo!, and is an independent nonprofit organization. Network for Good is the Internet’s largest nonprofit giving portal and has processed more than $100 million in online donations to more than 23,000 charities. Incredibly, with the help of Network for Good, about 7,000 of these donations were made to charities within the city of San Francisco, totaling over $1,255,550. A comprehensive site, Network for Good provides donors not only with the power to investigate charities, but also allows for access to direct lines of communication with those organizations. The benefit of conveniently storing all of your donating records in one place, and the ability to give to so many different charities in a single transaction, are invaluable tools that can make a life of giving and philanthropy a little bit simpler and lot safer. You can reach Network for Good online or by telephone at 886-650-4636. —Kara Emry


< Real grass couches appeared in the vicinity of the Ferry Building, Justin Herman Plaza, Alamo Square, in front of City Hall, at 77 Beale Street, on Market Street in the heart of the Castro, and at the 16th Street Mission BART Plaza, for a total of nine couches citywide. Thousands of passers-by, including San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, had their pictures taken on the grass couches and took home instant photos in frames made from recycled cardboard and printed with soy-based ink. The oneday-only installations used materials that were donated immediately afterwards to The Arc, a local nonprofit which provides services and support to families and people with developmental disabilities. This project is co-sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric Company and ReadyMade, a Bay Areabased magazine and media company dedicated to do-ityourself home design that’s inventive and environmentally friendly. The launch of letsgreen­ is one com­ ponent in a larger campaign to celebrate what San Franciscans, individually and collectively, are doing to help make San Francisco the greenest city in the nation. The site launched on November 16 as a community-based forum to highlight the contributions of San Francisco residents, businesses, and government in greening the city. The content of the site resulted from partnerships with a multitude of existing environmentallyfriendly sites, resources, and organizations. —Scott Adelson 24

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She Brought Her Heart to San Francisco SFGH Foundation’s executive director makes her mark on behalf of patient care ful approach to igniting the heart of our city—is its executive director, Katherine Ripley-Williams (below). She came to the foundation in 2004 from the Northern California Institute for Research and Education, a nonprofit established to facilitate medical research at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, where she was vice president for development. Her remarkable curriculum vita goes on, but in itself cannot begin to cover her dedication to

people in need. A veteran of the public sector, Ripley-Williams has been involved in issues ranging from labor policy and employment to women’s issues to pollution prevention. Coming to us from Denver, where she was VP of Development for University of Colorado Hospital, she has turned her attention to San Francisco General and hasn’t looked back. Describing herself as “overtly political,” she’s “fascinated with the need to shore up

health care availability not provided by private, state, or federal opportunities.” She is delighted to lend her skills to the SFGH Foundation’s purpose of “funding projects that enhance patient care and comfort.” The Foundation’s success story is clear in the numbers: More than $14 million has been raised since its creation in 1994. RipleyWilliams plays a key role in February’s Heroes and Hearts Awards Luncheon (see Calendar, page 45).


Take just a moment and look around. You know these folks.... They’re behind the delicious hearts you see everywhere—everywhere. Spinning with color and light, each illustrated with ideas and offering a thoughtful future, the “Hearts in San Francisco” artworks are courtesy of the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation and its many supporters. One dynamic character behind the Foundation— and its unique and success-

January/February 2007 25

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HIV/AIDS Prevention

A look at organizations dedicated to preventing the spread of a life-threatening disease This issue, Benefit magazine be­ gins a series of Focus articles we call “360.” Each piece will offer a quick look at an important issue facing us in the Bay Area and attempt to give you a primer on how good people are doing their best to make our commu­ nity the best it can be—and, of course, how you can help. How do we encourage people to donate time and money to HIV/AIDS organizations when many people believe that HIV is no longer a serious threat and there

is still a stigma associated with the challenge? The widespread availability of antiretroviral treatment has increased the longevity of those afflicted, meaning that there are more people living with HIV/AIDS. Therefore, the risk of new infection to men who have sex with men (MSM), ethnic minorities, women, and young people is greater than ever before. In particular, as of January 1, 2006, more

than 18,000 people in San Francisco were HIV-positive, with 14,000 of those cases resulting from MSM. It is estimated that last year’s increase in that number will top 900 new HIV infections, with more than 700 associated with MSM. How do we stop the spread of HIV/AIDS? One way is prevention. Prevention programs include counseling, testing, needle and condom programs, and education marketed to specific target groups. From the beginning,

San Francisco has been a leader in innovative HIV/AIDS programs and services, and it continues to lead the way in prevention programs. Here are a few San Francisco and national HIV/AIDS organizations that are on the cutting edge of prevention programs. They need your help: San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF), established in 1982, is one of the oldest and largest community-based AIDS service


At the launch of his tattoo-inspired clothing line, Tommy Lee proved there’s more to this bad boy than meets the eye. Having participated in Make a Wish and recently teaching autistic children to play the drums, Lee was excited when asked to autograph a pair of jeans for charity. There’s no question, bad boys can do good. The jeans will be auctioned off on and the proceeds will benefit the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund (BCEF).


Bad Boy Does Good


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organizations in the U.S. SFAF operates the California AIDS Hotline, the City’s Needle Exchange program, and a variety of support groups. Contact: or e-mail volunteer@sfaf. org or call 415-487-8014. Lyric is an organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth 23 and younger. Lyric programs include community building, education and economic development, and health and wellness programs. The group has also developed a situational HIV/AIDS game for school-aged children. Contact: or 415-703-6150. The Ark of Refuge was created in 1988 to promote AIDS education in the African American community. The Ark of Refuge prevention programs include a national education campaign called One Voice, Gospel Artists Respond to AIDS and Project Lead, a leadership, education, assistance, and development program that helps Black church leaders in the Western Region. Contact: or 415-861-6130. Tenderloin Health is the merger of Continuum HIV Day Services (Continuum) and the Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center (TARC). The agency’s programs include: syringe exchange sites, weekly harm reduction support groups, prevention case management, and mobile nursing. Contact: www. tender­ or 415-923-6980.

STOP AIDS Project has many prevention programs, including OutReach Teams who gather in different neighborhoods and venues to encourage discussion about the risks of contracting or transmitting HIV, and Community Forums, Workshops, and Meetings that provide safe environments to ask questions about topics that include HIV transmission and prevention. Contact: stopaids. org or e-mail involved@ or call 415575-0747. National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) was founded in 1983 and is the oldest national AIDS organization in the United States. NAPWA advocates on behalf of all people living with HIV and AIDS in order to end the epidemic and the related human suffering. Prevention programs include AIDSWatch and National HIV Testing Day. Contact: or 240-247-0880. There are many wonderful HIV/AIDS organizations in the Bay Area, and unfortunately they can not all be mentioned. The focus of this article is on prevention services; however, there are many organizations providing additional services in and outside of the San Francisco area. Please go online and check out all of the HIV/AIDS service organizations working in the area of prevention in your area. Good places to start are and —Brenda Leff

Found in Translation Local radio is teaching the art of parenting in Spanish as well as English Every Sunday morning, Rona Renner, R.N.—“Nurse Rona” as she’s known on the airwaves—heads over the Bay Bridge to San Francisco for her radio show, Childhood Matters, on 98.1 KISS FM. At the same time, Marisol Muñoz Kiehne, Ph.D.—“Doctora Marisol”—offers information and inspiration to thousands of Spanish-speaking parents. She hosts Nuestros Niños, which airs on seven commercial Spanishlanguage stations in the Bay Area and beyond. “It’s difficult enough to be a parent in your homeland and in your own language,” says Doctora Marisol. “But there are group-specific challenges for Latin American families new to California: The education, health, and social systems are not familiar. Radio shows can help.” The idea for these shows, which reach a diverse audience of 35,000-50,000 parents each week, was conceived by Renner while she was teaching parenting classes at the Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center. “I wanted to reach more parents each week, knowing how hard it is to raise children,” explains Renner. “Parents often don’t have the time or means to leave home to attend classes, and yet hearing about resources and other people’s challenges and successes can help decrease the isolation most parents experience. If we’re to help children, we must offer support to parents and providers.” Renner’s nonprofit, Childhood Matters, relies on grants from foundations and individual gifts to pay for the production and airtime for the shows. Although an hour of radio time is expensive, it’s proven to be a powerful, popular, and cost-effective way to bring thousands of people into a “virtual community” every Sunday morning. To learn more, hear all of the previous shows, or make a donation go to: or or call 877-372-KIDS. January/February 2007 27

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Focus Opinion

You Get What You Pay For


Lattes for Africa What your Starbucks money can buy for a student in a Kenyan slum “If you knew giving up three lattes a week could stop a kid from becoming a hooker or drug dealer, wouldn’t you want to do it?” asks Heidi Pidcoke, a Bay Area psychologist, whose passion to pitch in has propelled her to Nairobi, Kenya.      Pidcoke is a volunteer psychologist at St. Mary’s Mission Hospital and Education Center for orphans and vulnerable children. “It’s on the border of Kibera, the largest slum in Africa,” says Pidcoke, a pensive, prayerful powerhouse, who is sponsored by the San Francisco Quaker Meeting and the Temple United Methodist Church. The students at St. Mary’s are too poor to afford basic toiletries. Half of them wake up at 5 a.m. and walk two or more hours each day in order to attend school. “High schools in Kenya aren’t free. These kids are desperate to learn,” says Pidcoke, the sole therapist for the entire hospital and school. “They know that education is the key to getting out of their current cycle of poverty.” The youngest of ten children raised on a mission ranch in southern Brazil, Pidcoke hopes to see the student body double from 40 to 80 this year, but she acknowledges the impossibility of this without the beneficence of donors. “What a wonderful New Year’s gift it would be to tell kids they’re being sponsored by friends from the Bay Area,” she explains. “Less than $12 a week would pay for a student’s tuition, transportation, and basic needs stipend. It would give them hope that their life has a future. Someone could also make a huge difference by donating a school van, so students could spend less time walking and more time studying.”    Fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, Pidcoke also feels special affection for Pretoria, South Africa, where she spent two years implementing an HIV and AIDS project. “While I was there, a famous South African singer, Vusi Mahlasela, agreed to perform for free at our benefit concert and even arranged for Nelson Mandela and his wife to attend!” says Pidcoke, who has admired Mandela since she first heard about him in her teens. “Because he always chooses love over fear and hate,” says Pidcoke, a trainer for the international Alternatives to Violence Project. If you want to sponsor a Kenyan high school student at St. Mary’s in Nairobi or find out more about the program, please contact: Heidi Pidcoke, P.O Box 188, Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi, Kenya 00517. E-mail address: Phone: 011.254.722.870086. 100 percent of all donations will go to the students. —Laura Svienty

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Assume you are an average California taxpayer, sending 9 percent of your average annual income of $36,890 (12th highest in the U.S.) to Sacramento for road repair, education, prisons, parks, and other programs. How much of this $3,320.10 would you want to spend on the arts? New Yorkers spend $2.35 per person, but that isn’t the highest per capita funding in the country. That accolade goes to Hawaiians, who spend $5.56. In California, we spend just three cents each, the lowest per capita funding for the arts in the entire country. In 2003, the State’s General Fund budget for the California Arts Council plummeted to $1.1 million and has stayed at that level. At its peak in 2001, funding for the California Arts Council was $32 million, which provided for arts organizations of all sizes and genres; artists in schools, jails, and senior centers; arts touring programs; performance seasons; festivals; and exhibitions. Thankfully, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the current legislature have provided funds to revive arts and music in the schools, but their generosity hasn’t yet reached the arts programs that serve the general public and create a sustainable path for our most creative people. Indeed, the creative people are leaving. Add the lack of affordable housing and studio space to the scarcity of paid work for artists and the situation is untenable

for emerging artists. Mature artists who choose to stay are finding more support and recognition outside the state. For example, Idris Ackamoor, co-Artistic Director of San Francisco’s Cultural Odyssey, was recently on his way to Rio after rehearsing a new piece with his partner, Rhodessa Jones, in Atlanta. With close to $90,000 in CAC funding four years ago, Cultural Odyssey provided after-school classes in jazz dance and tap for 50 kids in the Western Addition, “Emergency Report,” the group’s signature youth performance, provided kids with ways to express their fears, anger, and other raw emotions on stage, rather than in the streets. But when the organization lost state funding, the board and staff decided to eliminate the youth programs and concentrate on local productions and national and international touring, where they could find support. “We could no longer commit to a schedule at home,” Ackamoor said, and the organization finds itself living its name. Thanks to the leadership of San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessey, the California State Sheriffs Association has asked the Governor to restore funding for the California Arts Council. At a recent forum, Hennessey explained that arts programs help maintain discipline inside the jails by providing means of self-expression and positive role models. The arts also offer opportunities for meaningful rehabilitation,

Peeter Viisimaa

California trails the nation in arts funding

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Focus and reduce recidivism of ex-offenders. Without such programs, California’s recidivism rate is twice the national average, according to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times. Reviewing the situation in San Francisco’s Bayview District, where clusters of hooded teenage boys stand around scowling on many school mornings, District 10 Supervisor Sophie Maxwell rued the lack of state support for the arts. “It’s a crime,” she declared. A generation of young people is growing up without knowledge of their innate creativity and their ability to contribute positively to society. Maxwell initiated a resolution from the League of California Cities supporting restoration of state arts funding. Citing statistics that a life of crime costs society between $1.7 and $2.3 million, Senator-elect Leland Yee and Assemblyman Mark Leno of San Francisco have led recent efforts in the state legislature to restore funding for the California Arts Council and reclaim California’s national reputation as a leader in the arts. California Lawyers for the Arts, in collaboration with California Arts Advocates and the California Assembly of Local Arts Agencies, is asking the Governor and legislature to provide just $1 per person for the arts in next year’s budget, or $36 million, in order to restore the state’s arts programs. For more information, visit calawyers­ —Alma Robinson Alma Robinson is the executive director of California Lawyers for the Arts, a state-wide nonprofit organization.


Bring Out Your Food From the market to the shelters, Food Runners are making sure unsold food it making its way to those in need

If you’ve ever frequented San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Saturday Market, you know firsthand the joy that can come from purchasing a beefy heirloom tomato or a fresh bunch of lemongrass straight from the farmer. These culinary treats might make your mouth water, but imagine how they would taste if you were homeless. Each Saturday, Keith Goldstein, a volunteer for the non-profit Food Runners, collects unsold delicacies and delivers them to shelters cooking for San Francisco’s truly hungry. “Food Runners! Bring out your food!” he bellows with a British accent as he winds his way through the market. Goldstein, along with fellow volunteers Seth Acharya and Frank Ryan, greets the farmers like old friends as they make trips around the market. Started by Chef Mary Risley in 1987, Food Runners is a response to the waste that she saw in the food industry. The San Francisco nonprofit delivers about 10 tons of food per week from approximately 500 donors

to various shelters around the city. Much of the food is collected from restaurants. The Saturday Market pick­up, though, is a unique event initiated by Goldstein more than 13 years ago. After volunteering as a Food Runner for two years, Goldstein had the idea for a market pickup while doing his own farmer’s market shopping. Goldstein, president of Everest Waterproofing and Restoration, Inc., jokingly says that he gives his Satur­­days to Food Runners primarily for selfish reasons. “This is tremendous fun!” he says. And, says Goldstein, the farmers are grateful for the service that Food Runners provides. “They know that their food is not going to waste,” he explains, “They would have to schlep it back to the farm anyway and then just compost or feed it to the pigs. This way, they know it’s going somewhere, and that it’s going to be eaten by tomorrow afternoon by some­one who’ll really enjoy it.” Nigel Walker of Eat Well

Farm in Davis has known Goldstein for 13 years, and says that Food Runners allows him to donate more easily. “If I wanted to donate food myself,” Walker says, “it would be very hard. Food Runners makes it easy to give produce away.” Over the years, Goldstein and his Food Runners crew have become a staple of the Saturday Market. Passing a fish stand, Goldstein shakes hands with the seller, and asks, “Have you ever heard my salmon song?” Passerby stop and stare as Goldstein belts out, “Salmon-chanted evening...” Goldstein makes a life of service seem easy; not only does he volunteer for Food Runners, he is the founder of the nonprofit S.E.E.D.S. (Social Educational Environmental Development Services), which helps to create sustainable villages in Nepal. Volunteerism can be a great pick-me-up, says Goldstein. “It’s the best tonic,” he says. “If you’re down and despondent, come to the Saturday market with Food Runners.” —Erin Hull January/February 2007 29

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One Very Strong Foundation The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation celebrates its 40th


Officially Hear

San Francisco Conservatory of Music Inaugural Concert Gala features world premieres of contemporary works Nonprofit meets the street—and our communal sense of art and architecture—as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music officially dedicates its new Concert Hall with an Inaugural Concert Gala on January 28. The event will feature the world premieres of speciallycommissioned works by two acclaimed composers with long-standing ties to the San Francisco music school, Aaron Jay Kernis and Steven Mackey. Also on the Gala program with Conservatory faculty, students, and alumni will be


“Never stifle a generous impulse” —William R. Hewlett Since 1966, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been a vital resource for grants that directly assist in solving some of the most difficult social and environmental tribulations throughout the world, including right here at home in the Bay Area. The Hewlett Foundation is one of the nation’s largest, with assets of more than $7.3 billion, and is devoted to supporting education, the environment, global development, and the performing arts, while raising awareness of the serious social and environmental problems we as a civilization now face. This year the Hewlett Foundation is celebrating its 40th anniversary of philanthropy in the arts. During those four decades the foundation has given more that $188 million to nearly two thousand different organizations, the majority in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most recently, the foundation committed $25 million to San Francisco’s premier performing arts institutions, including the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Opera, American Conservatory Theater, and the San Francisco Ballet as part of the Hewlett Foundation’s long-term commitment to ensure the success of performing arts in the Bay Area. These four major performing arts organizations will now have the resources to pursue special projects that range from education programs for youth to awarding funds for new artistic ventures. The foundation strongly believes in and supports the experience, understanding, and appreciation of artistic expression and the pleasure that these can bring to our community. Its mission is to support the arts and its enjoyment, through grant making designed to support high-quality arts organizations. The size of its endowment and the extraordinary nature of the projects it has embarked upon have made The Hewlett Foundation a key investor in the life and ethos of the Bay Area. —Kara Emry 32

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Focus former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Conservatory Music Director Andrew Mogrelia, and San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas guest-conducting the Conservatory Orchestra. The black-tie Gala celebrates the grand opening of the Conservatory’s new $80 million home in the nexus of San Francisco’s performing arts community. The new Conservatory opened to critical acclaim in September, delivering dramatic improvements in classroom, studio, and rehearsal spaces, as well as three new high-quality public performance venues, including the stunning 450-seat concert hall. The Conservatory commissioned works in celebration of its new Civic Center location. Gala patrons will enjoy the world premieres of Two Awakenings and a Double Lullaby, a set of three songs for piano, soprano, violin, and guitar written and performed by Pulitzer Prize-winner and San Francisco Conservatory alumnus Aaron Jay Kernis; and Mea­ sures of Turbulence for guitar ensemble, composed and presented by acclaimed Princeton University music professor and electric guitarist Steven Mackey. Aaron Jay Kernis received his degree in composition from the Conservatory in 1978. Citing John Adams as one of his most powerful Conservatory mentors, Kernis has gone on to create works for many of America’s foremost musical institutions, including the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Composition for his Second Symphony in 1998. Northern California native Steven Mackey grew up performing rock, jazz, and classical music, influences reflected today in his Roll, guitar compositions and performances. His Tuck and Roll a concerto for electric guitar and orchestra, made its world debut with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony in 2000, with subsequent performances at MTT’s American Mavericks Festival. “The Conservatory has an impressive history of presenting the music of contemporary composers,” said Conservatory President Colin Murdoch. “From our New Music Ensemble to our strong community of composition faculty and students, the school has long been a vibrant center for both composition and performance. We are honored to commission and present these important new works at our Inaugural Gala Concert.” Founded in 1917, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music is one of the leading music schools in the world. Each year, the Conservatory serves more than 1,300 students through its collegiate, preparatory, adult extension divisions, and summer programs, and its students and faculty present more than 1,600 public and community performances to more than 100,000 Bay Area residents and visitors annually. Inaugural Concert Gala co-chairs are Lisa and John Miller. Individual tickets are priced at $1,000 and $2,000; tables are $10,000 and $20,000. For more information and reservations, please visit www. or call 415-503-6204. —Kathryn Pellegrini


periscope up, and Down, and All Around the San Francisco ocean Film Festival celebrates its 4th year Not only does it cover nearly three quarters of the earth’s surface, but it also envelops our Bay Area, offering its ever-present companionship. But how often do we really take the time to notice and explore the ocean? The San Francisco Ocean Film Festival is an organization that spends every day doing that. It “celebrates the sea” with inspirational films dedicated to increasing our appreciation of the waters that surround us. This year, we’ll have an opportunity to view that action and mystery, from saltwater sports to coastal cultures, at the organization’s 4th annual film festival, January 19–21 at the Cowell Theater at Fort Mason Center. The festival features films from international filmmakers, both world-renowned and amateur. And it’s getting larger every year in terms of both attendance (last year’s audiences numbered in the thousands) and filmmaker submissions. The Ocean Film Festival was founded in 2003 by Krist Jake, a former U.S. Navy officer who also founded the Alaskan educational nonprofit The Denali Foundation. The volunteerdriven, nonprofit organization aims to use film to “improve public understanding of the environmental, social, and cultural importance of marine ecosystems.” Previous years’ programs have featured it all: channel swimming, cod fishing, whales, reefs, penguins, stingrays, seals, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, and well known surf spot Mavericks. The deadline for submissions for this year’s program closed last November. The first of its kind in North America and second in the world (following a decades-old ocean festival in Toulon, France), the festival has partners representing a who’s who in California seafocused organizations. Support comes from the likes of the California Academy of Sciences, the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association, and the Golden Gate Yacht Club, among other notables. And the festival offers more than films to lure the curious spirit. “There are talks with content experts and filmmakers from all over the world, so people have the opportunity to participate in Q&A sessions and hang out with people who have similar interests,” says Williams. This year’s experts include Lynne Cox, record-breaking open water swimmer and author of Antarctica; Sylvia Swimming to Antarctica Earle, explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society and one of the world’s leading undersea explorers and ocean advocates; and John McCosker, senior scientist and chair of the Department of Aquatic Biology at the California Academy of Sciences. The event begins with an educational outreach program for middle and high school students at the Cowell Theater. For ticket and program information, visit —Katie Baynes January/February 2007 33

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More Than a Mayor Atherton Mayor Charles Marsala reflects on community, connecting, and karma

Benefit: How did you get started in community activism? Marsala: Back in 1999, I felt a sense that I should be involved in my town and give back to the community, but I wasn’t sure how to start. A friend had set up a meeting for me with Sheri Sobrato and, over lunch, I became enamored with her commitment to help others. Having survived a brain tumor, she was working toward her credentials as a therapist by counseling children with cancer. She said to me, “You don’t know it yet, but you’ve met the right person.” It was absolute karma. She asked me to join the board of the Cancer Support Center in San Francisco. Later, I got involved in her day camp for children with cancer. Two years later I moved to Atherton and

because of my background as a wildlife and underwater photographer, I joined the Atherton Art Committee (AAC). I soon realized how important nonprofits are to bridging the need between the financial resources of government and the needs of the community. What causes and organizations do you support now? Throughout the last decade, Sheri has introduced or sponsored me as a member to Laura Arrillaga’s SV2 group [Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund], the Knights of St. John, the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, and the Heart of Silicon Valley. She also helped me start the Stanford Delta Legends for Youth Programs Golf Tournament. As I worked with these groups, I was asked to join the boards for The Peninsula Volunteers and the Selby Education Foundation. SV2 made a grant to “Yes Reading,” and I was able to help them get a grant to start working with challenged students at Selby School. The Knights of St. John recently gave $200,000 to the Peninsula Volunteers to redo their kitchen, which provides hundreds of hot meals to seniors in their homes. As part of the Mayors on Wheels Day, I got to deliver the meals and see the independence this program provides. What do you recall as your first act of charity? When I went home to New Orleans I found a certificate


Ten years ago, Atherton Mayor Charles Marsala was living in San Jose, struggling over the direction his life should take. After a meeting in 1998 with Silicon Valley philanthropist and cancer survivor Sheri Sobrato, he was inspired to restart his life as a politician and a humanitarian. He began working with the cham­ ber of commerce, and in 2002, won a seat on the Atherton city council. Three years later, he was elected mayor. Marsala recently sat down with Benefit to talk about his community, his causes, and the role karma has played in his life.


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Focus Sweets

See’s Sweet Vision A San Francisco icon continues a tasty tradition of payback to its most supportive community Chocolates. Full of sugar. Energy. Giving chocolate is an intimate form of communication. A sharing of deep, dark secrets that release emotion and passion. And the local “King of Chocolate” confections, See’s Candy Co., knows this best. Since the company’s inception in 1921, See’s Candy has used its morsels of chocolate as a means to raise money for causes that matter in the community. “Giving is inherent in our company’s operation and mission. We don’t view ourselves as an individual corporate entity, but rather as part of the larger community which we’re in,” says Vice President Richard VanDoren. Just ask recently-retired CEO Chuck Huggins: “For See’s, companies that just write checks are missing the big picture. The value for philanthropy doesn’t come from money. It’s about other assets such as people, volunteerism.…” See’s can be seen—and more importantly, had—at nearly every local charitable event. And to the company’s credit, See’s gives and doesn’t expect to receive. It prefers to give under the radar and never use such efforts as a means to advertise its product. It’s about fundamentals, whether about giving or generating revenue: See’s provides great product, hires great employees, and invests in the community. That’s why, in 1972, Warren Buffet, a star investor famous for spotting diamonds-in-the-rough, snatched up the company. In See’s, he saw a great firm that produced a great product. As for the future of See’s: “I always believed in fulfilling the values set out by the company’s founders, of giving back to the community. This has [stood] and continues to stand as See’s foremost priority,” says Huggins. As for the —Justin Fichelson product, “Life without chocolate is like a beach without water.”

Nigel Silcock

from 1967 showing that I had raised enough money to adopt a child in Africa. In high school, I was youth chair of the March of Dimes. I was interested in this cause because my mother had two miscarriages after I was born. Speaking of New Orleans, we understand you are going back there to help out Hurricane Katrina victims. I have been to New

Orleans twice since Katrina. The first time I went to help my parents when they received their FEMA trailer. They had two feet of water in their house for two days and everything was ruined. Before I left, I ran into an Atherton resident who said he wanted to donate a truck to someone who had lost everything. I worked with the city council of Grand Isle in Louisiana and we found a carpenter

with three kids, who lived 100 miles south of New Orleans. He had lost his home. We presented his family with this truck. What will you be doing this time when you go to New Orleans? The Junior League of San Francisco and the Peninsula have organized 500 people from 33 states to go down for a week and build roughly seven homes, a school, and a park.

How do you balance politics and charity? In our town we have a lot of people who are involved in philanthropy. Everyone on the council has his or her strengths and goes into the community to help meet its needs where government dollars are scarce. Have you been able to motivate others to get involved? There have been several times when residents

asked, “How do I get involved?” The key thing is interaction. It’s not just writing a check. I think one of the best memories for me this year was delivering a meal to a woman in East Palo Alto. We had a great conversation and it was amazing how quickly we bonded. Experiences like that give you a sense of the history of the town and that’s a large part of community— the heritage, the continuity. January/February 2007 35

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Health The American Prostate Cancer Initiative is shining a light on the #2 cancer killer of men. The good news is that you don’t have to run for your life—you only have to tie your shoes.

By A.G. Britton Photograph: RC Rivera

Sneakers@Work Day

“Most guys don’t know dick about prostate cancer.” This

slogan is likely to come out of the elegant and refined mouth of Julie Lewit-Nirenberg, the Chanel-wearing, feisty president and founder of the American Prostate Cancer Initiative. Lewit-Nirenberg is gearing up for a full-scale war on ignorance of prostate cancer and the importance of early screening. Sneakers@Work Day is looking to make blue sneaker laces as identifiable an icon for prostate health as the pink ribbon is for breast health. Why not? On June 15, and on future Fridays before Father’s Day, Sneakers@Work Day aims to make millions of Americans aware that prostate cancer kills almost as many men as breast cancer kills women. And not only old men, but men in their prime.


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Health The statistics are scary: • Every 17 minutes a man dies from prostate cancer in the U.S. • One out of every six white males and one out of every four men of color will develop prostate cancer. • 230,000 American men are expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007. • 2,000,000 American men are living with prostate cancer now. “Awareness is key. Early detection is critical. Action is now,” says Lewit-Nirenberg. “It’s appalling that men know more about breast cancer than they do about prostate cancer. We have really been in the dark ages. Awareness and early detection in breast cancer has saved so many lives, we must now fight tooth and nail to accomplish the same things for men.” Whether it is out of fear, embarrassment, or lack of knowledge, most men do not even consider prostate cancer screening until they hit 55 or 60. But the latest evidence from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is that if men get tested at 40, doctors can interpret screenings better, resulting in fewer unnecessary procedures. Twenty-five years ago a woman with breast cancer more often than not had a mastectomy—today that is considered radical and almost unnecessary with early detection. The same has to occur for prostate cancer incidents. “At the very least, we want men to understand the risk factors,” says Lewit-Nirenberg. “Things like having a father or brother with prostate cancer, being an African American, having a diet high in red meat and high-fat dairy are all indicators.” Other key issues include a lack of exercise, being over 65, and having had a vasectomy before the age of 35 A diminutive powerhouse, Lewit-Nirenberg understands the power of marketing and the press. She was a magazine publisher for 30 years before turning to this nonprofit endeavor. More tellingly, Lewit-Nirenberg took her own extreme breast cancer risk factors to heart and had a prophylactic double mastectomy four years ago. “Nobody can use fear as an excuse to me,” says Lewit-Nirenberg. “Cancer is best battled by awareness and facing the truth.” She is keenly aware that in eight out of ten households women make the important healthcare decisions and are responsible for making medical appointments for the whole family. Which is why much of the ad campaign for APCI directly addresses women. One print ad which appeared in Oprah Win-

frey’s O magazine shows a picture of a woman and reads: “I suffer from prostate cancer.” Another portrays a couple and reads: “How to make sure he gets a prostate cancer screening: No screening, no nookie.” “You have to hit men below the belt, pardon the expression, to get them to deal with this,” says Lewit-Nirenberg. “Behind every healthy man is a woman who pays attention.” The goal of the American Prostate Cancer Initiative is to raise the general public’s awareness of prostate cancer and to support patient education, advocacy, and research programs that might otherwise go unfunded. One of Lewit-Nirenberg’s personal goals is to set up non-surgical prostate centers around the country which will provide information on all available treatment options and help men and their partners select the best course of action. Sneakers@Work Day is the first ma“At the very least, we jor campaign coming out of APCI, and Lewit-Nirenberg is hoping to build a want men to undergroundswell the same way the Susan G. Komen Foundation did. It is a sweepstand the risk factors. ing, cross-country, workplace-based fund­ Things like having a raising event just prior to Father’s Day, which will bring major attention to this father or brother with devastating silent killer. Any company which participates will be wearing a prostate cancer, being badge of good will and support for men, corporate and otherwise, across an African American, the country and around the world. This having a diet high in is a ground-breaking launch of a new campaign, certain to become as large as red meat and high-fat the Breast Cancer Awareness one. Lewit-Nirenberg was inspired by the dairy are all indicators.” grass roots breast cancer model. Last year alone, 30,000 companies supported 2,000,000 employees in participating in Lee National Denim Day®—geared to raising funds for breast cancer. Employees wear jeans to work and make a $5 donation to fight breast cancer. In the past 11 years Denim Day® has raised over $66 million for breast cancer awareness and research. In addition to jeans-wearers, Denim Day made tens of millions of others aware of breast cancer and paved the way for more private and public funding, resulting in more research and a significant decrease in fatalities. Sneakers@Work can do the same for prostate cancer awareness. APCI expects that within a very short time thousands of companies and their hundreds of thousands of employees will know that prostate cancer is the #2 cancer killer for men, that 30,000 men will die of the disease this year. That without public awareness prostate cancer will remain life-threatening when it does not have to be. APCI’s goal is to enroll at least 3,000 companies in the next few months. Soon, Lewit-Nirenberg hopes, when you see a man, or a woman, with blue sneaker laces, the new icon of prostate cancer activism will be as familiar as the pink ribbon. B A.G. Britton is a 25-year veteran journalist specializing in health. She no longer lives on cigarettes and coffee, and she shows up to life each day with a mission to give back to the world.

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Roundtable The pros offer up their “must-do” events for the coming year. Grab a pencil and listen in.…

By Scott Adelson Illustration: Glynis Sweeny

Setting the Table for ’07 Admit it. You’re already scribbling in that ’07 calendar you found under the tree. Take a breath and chill. To help you out, Benefit has spent some time with event insiders to get a jump on where we—and, more important, you—should be this upcoming year to support those in need and, well, pencil in a year to remember. Listen up as these local event gurus look ahead. And no worries. The details will become clearer as the year moves on.… Jon Finck – President, Encore Communications Publicity: “How can you go wrong on the most glamorous night

of nights when all eyes face Hollywood and San Francisco’s own Red Carpet? The 27th Annual Academy of Friends will present the biggest Academy Awards party outside of the Governor’s Ball in L.A., celebrating the best in celluloid. This is one of the most exciting nights in the Bay Area, with a couple of thousand formally-attired folks, perhaps the best eye-candy this winter. And the event sticks to its roots, raising a lot of money for 15 front-line HIV/AIDS agencies working in the Bay Area. “The next up-and-coming, high-profile charity event on my radar is the Merola Opera Program, 50th Anniversary Gala and Concert, which will be held at the Regency Center in San Francisco in May. What makes me love this company is that for 50 years they’ve been training and mentoring the best singers in the world. This is not a stuffy, crusty roster of benefactors. The list of donors and supporters is very hip, young, and professional, and is involved with multiple charities. “The Sausalito Art Festival, happening in August, is also a favorite. Located on the art festival grounds with a Bay backdrop, this is one of the best kept gala secrets. Formally attired guests preview all 270 international artists and have a chance to talk with them about their artwork while noshing on the best food in many gala tents. Chair Paul Anderson produces, bar none, the best gala, with proceeds in support of multiple non-profits in Marin County. “And the year just keeps getting better. The San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Opera will each be offering superb September fare. These twin events cut the red ribbon on the launch of the new Fall Season. The


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Roundtable atmosphere is highly charged with movers and shakers, wannabees and newbies, but we all start somewhere, right? Both events raise money for educational programs that provide a vital service to our often beleaguered schools and decimated music and art programs.” Denise Lamott – President, Denise Lamott Public Relations: “As a working mom with two

kids, I have a limited amount of time. But each year a couple of events remind me why I’ve chosen to live here. “May marks the 30th anniversary of the San Francisco Decorator Showcase. It will be held in one of San Francisco’s most stunning mansions and will be a great chance to sneak a peek inside the kind of house we’d all love to live in. Decorator Showcase has raised over $9 million for the financial aid programs at San Francisco University High School. “Later in the year, the TNDC Celebrity Pool Toss is easily the coolest adult party and supports the group’s after-school program. Where else will you see the hottest local celebrities offering to get tossed into a cold pool on a chilly October night to benefit a charity? Past dunkees include Robin Williams, Cheech Marin, and Gavin Newsom. “More October … The International Rescue Committee will host its Fifth Annual Sarlo Award Dinner to honor some of their staff for dedication and sacrifice on behalf of refugees, the displaced, and other victims of oppression or violent conflict around the globe. Last year’s event was hosted by Tom Brokaw. I know that they’re working on getting another high-profile speaker to host this year. “Moving into the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is a very special San Francisco tradition. My family, friends, and I love the variety of stage acts, street theater, quaint Christmas ‘Shoppes’ and pubs, and Dickens characters who inhabit the winding lane. We grown-ups are especially enamored with the very entertaining and oh so ‘naughty’ Naughty French Postcard Review. Only the 18 and older set will be admitted to this risqué exhibition of unadorned beauty—in other words, there’s nudity.” Lori Puccinelli Stern – Senior Public Relations Executive, Glodow Nead Communications:

“Let’s start 2007 with the The Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic this spring, an annual golf tournament to raise awareness and money for the Northern California Cancer Center (NCCC) breast cancer research and education programs. This tournament is in honor of Barbara Callan, a 19-year breast

cancer survivor, and Tessa Newsom, mother of Hilary and Gavin (the mayor) who lost her battle to breast cancer in 2002. “Another important breast cancer event, This Old Bag: The Power of the Purse is held to raise money for the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund. The Clift Hotel hosts, and guests enjoy a cocktail reception while bidding on celebrity and designer handbags in the live and silent auctions, to raise money for women with breast cancer who are too ill to work. “And who doesn’t like theatre? Champion Charities’ A Night at the Theatre happens this winter, raising funds in support of Champion Charities’ drive to raise $10 million by 2010 for UCSF’s brain tumor research and treatment program. Charles Zukow – President, Charles Zukow Associates: “San Francisco General

Hospital has been called the heart of San Francisco, and what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than at the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation’s Heroes & Hearts Luncheon in Union Square? Not only are you served “As a working mom with a terrific lunch catered by Bon Appetit, you’ll also see the newest Hearts in San two kids, I have a limited Francisco artworks and meet this year’s five extraordinary heroes. amount of time. But each “In the spring, I always look forward to the Star Chefs & Vintners Gala, year a couple of events Meals on Wheels’ annual event on Nob remind me why I’ve Hill. The event raises funds so the organization can continue its mission of prochosen to live here.” viding hope, meals, and other services —Denise Lamott to homebound seniors. “My favorite? Check out The Steve Silver Foundation and Beach Blanket Babylon Scholarship for the Arts program in June. Bay Area high-school seniors have the chance to compete for scholarships in the categories of voice, acting, and dance. The electricity and excitement in Club Fugazi is amazing, and this event truly changes these high school seniors’ lives. This is just the icing on the cake regarding the efforts of Beach Blanket Babylon’s producer, Jo Schuman Silver, who continues her late husband’s philanthropic mission to support organizations focusing on education, the arts, and health in the Bay Area throughout the year. David Perry – David Perry & Associates: “The Annual Croquet Invitational, benefit-

ing the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation, is in May. If there’s one party not to miss, this is it. The event brings together the world’s top croquet players at the uber-elegant Sonoma-Cutrer Winery. This day-long ‘game’ is filled with gorgeous food, rare wines, and hundreds of people dressed head-to-toe in croquet whites. Also, the auction—with prizes like European getaways and private chef service—is perhaps the most eagerly-anticipated such event of the entire season. “Then there’s the 4th Annual S.F. International Arts Festival, another May event. Now in its fourth year, the festival continues to grow. This year, the ‘heart’ of the festival will be in the ‘heart’ of the City: Union Square. For 10 days, the ‘Jewels in the Square’ series will feature free performances from a wide range of singers, dancers, and performers. Other venues include Yerba Buena, Dance Mission Theatre, the African American Cultural Complex, MoAD, and even the San Francisco International Airport. This year’s theme is ‘The Truth in Knowing Now, a Conversation across the African Diaspora.’”

Claudia Ross – President, Cross Marketing: You know I always love the Raphael

House Gala. Held at the Four Seasons in May, it’ll be an evening not to be missed. With its ferocious lions and tigers theme, this night will bring new meaning to the words ‘safari chic.’ [Mayor] Gavin Newsom will attend, along with some of San Francisco’s most generous, young, and affluent non-socialites who care about helping San Francisco’s oldest homeless shelter. B

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Johnny Appleseed: City Slicker

Friends of the Urban Forest is Growing a Greener San Francisco By Lord Martine & Kara Emry • Photos: Mike Sugrue

More than simply an aesthetic presence in our lives, trees possess and offer a wealth of possibilities. Beauty. Elegance. Oxygen. An abundance of environmental, economic, and social benefits. Trees are more than just a luxury, they’re an imperative for even the most urban facets of our society. As green as San Francisco may seem, we’re actually behind most American cities in “tree coverage.” In fact, a recent UC Davis study shows that there are still 127,000 empty sidewalk basins waiting to welcome trees. But those basins won’t stay empty for very long, as Friends of the Urban Forest, or FUF, is working vigorously to make San Francisco greener. A nonprofit, volunteer-based community tree-planting organization, FUF was founded in San Francisco 25 years ago. The group has planted thousands of trees throughout the city. How many? More than all of the trees that grace Golden Gate Park.


Tom H. Ramirez DISTRICT:


26 trees in 2006 TREE:

Chinese Box Elder GREEN THOUGHTS:

“I’ve always believed in volunteerism and philanthropy,” says Tom. “But this has brought a tremendous amount of satisfaction. And it’s a great way to get to know your neighbors.”


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It’s true green (regrets to blue), FUF has transformed San Francisco’s cityscape.


Karil Daniels DISTRICT:


Since 1991, chronicling the growth of trees in San Francisco through film TREE:


“Not only do trees enhance the beauty of where we live, but they also get people involved in a natural kind of way. Trees enhance everyday life and spirit. We need to be growing green energy.”

Since its inception on Arbor Day, 1981, FUF’s volunteers have planted more than 40,000 trees along the streets of San Francisco, accounting for more than 40 percent of all the city’s current street trees. Neighbors organize the plantings, FUF obtains permits, removes sidewalk concrete, supplies tools and materials, and selects, purchases, and delivers the trees. On planting day, FUF volunteers and arborists work together with residents. When the work is done, everyone’s invited to take part in a well-earned community banquet. FUF offers neighborhoods the power to take responsibility for their environment through community beautification. But the commonweal focus of this green-centric nonprofit is to do much more than just stick trees into the ground. Its purpose is to provide San Franciscans with financial, technical, and practical assistance, not just for tree planting and tree care but for community involvement and youth education. Fuf’s Youth Tree Care Program is one of the most notable and noble aspects of the organization. The program trains and employs economically disadvantaged urban youth through an innovative jobs program. Coming from all over the city, with diverse backgrounds, and all with their own reasons for wanting to work, disadvantaged kids are stepping up January/February 2007 109

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and literally getting their hands dirty while working side-by-side with their neighbors. Without the youth crew, FUF wouldn’t be nearly as successful in fulfilling its twin goals of community building and urban greening. Indeed, the youth program is so outstanding and so well received, FUF is committed to expanding it. The boys and girls employed by the FUF program learn fundamentals of urban forestry by becoming fully trained in tree planting and tree care. They also benefit from exploration field trips, hikes, and camping excursions, and from attending special events like the Green Festival, the Brower Youth Awards, the Goldman Environmental Awards, and other FUF events. Many young employees will work at local community farms and gardens, such as the Double Rock Farm in the Bayview district. For others, it will be their first opportunity for exploration outside the city. Some have never had a boss or a set schedule, much less a paycheck or an opportunity to gain critical employment skills. Through all of its programs, FUF seeks to improve our city’s environment, build community, and connect San Franciscans with the natural world and with each other. Trees bring immeasurable and diversified environmental, economic, and social benefits to the city. Increasing public awareness and appreciation of the importance of trees to San Francisco makes a greener, healthier, and more beautiful city while helping to create a vibrant future.


Mike Sullivan and Paul Loeffler DISTRICT:


Since 1991 TREE:


“We planted this tree in January 2004, the same week our son Jason was born,” says Mike. “The perks of sprout are many. The environmental benefits of creating oxygen are clear, but the real reason urban trees are important is that they soften the hard edge of the concrete city. Furthermore, they create community and something of beauty.”


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The Youth behind

Friends of the Urban Forest


Donna Sharee DISTRICT:


Since 1999. Planted about 150 saplings TREE:

Melaleuca linariifolia GREEN THOUGHTS:

“I love walking through the neighborhood and seeing the trees I helped plant. More trees definitely make the neighborhood a nicer place to live … and they will outlive me. As wonderful as it is to bring new trees into the world, I think it’s just as important to initiate new relationships between neighbors. I have made some lasting friendships through working with FUF.”

For more than a decade, Friends of the Urban Forest has provided a remarkable jobs program for underserved youth in San Francisco. The FUF Youth Tree Care Program offers teens employment skills, respect for nature, and a more positive future. This highly-successful program helps FUF meet its twin goals of community building and urban greening. There are few paying jobs for youth looking to work; there are even fewer paying positions in the environmental field. FUF provides jobs for youth, aged 14 to 18, who are looking for their first real job. The participants come from all over the city and are of different backgrounds, but the major thing they have in common is a determination to work, to earn a fair paycheck. Many have never had a boss, a set schedule, or work that depended solely on them. The youth program is their opportunity to make a living wage ($9.10 is the starting salary) but also to gain essential employability skills. Before joining FUF most of the teens do not know anything about trees or even care about them. Through the course of the program they become fully trained in tree planting and tree care, including how to prune a tree’s canopy and roots properly, species identification, basic disease diagnosis, use of arborist tools, and safety. They learn the fundamentals of urban forestry as well as the protocols and responsibilities of earning a paycheck. Research shows that paid work experience helps low-income youth stay in school longer. FUF’s program emphasizes skills-oriented activities and promotes cooperative learning, where students learn from each other. The experience of speaking with homeowners about their trees builds confidence and leadership skills. A successful program provides tasks with dignity, not “busy work.” In fact, without the youth crew, FUF would not be able to fulfill its obligation in providing three tree care visits in the first three years of a FUF tree’s life. More than 6,075 trees have been cared for by the youth crew. They also participate in plantings, and have planted some 1,480 trees. While the bulk of the youth crew’s job is tree care and tree plantings, it’s not the only work the crew does: They also assist at local community farms and gardens such as Double Rock Farm in the Bayview. The Youth Tree Care Program is not all work and no play. The participants also explore and experience San Francisco and the greater Bay Area through field trips. These have included visits to several of San Francisco’s parks, the San Francisco Zoo, and the Exploratorium. The youth have gone on tree tours where instead of working on trees, they get to enjoy them. They also learn the names of trees and can see older trees that have benefited from the pruning jobs of previous youth participants. By the end of the program, every youth has a favorite tree. The crew attends special events like the Green Festival, the Brower Youth Awards, the Goldman Environmental Awards, and FUF events. They go on hikes and go camping in the summer; for many, these outings are their first opportunities for exploration outside an urban area. In 24 sessions, 247 youth have completed FUF’s Youth Tree Care Program. As diverse as their backgrounds were, they all finished the program with employability skills, a fuller wallet, and a new—Nancy Strahan found respect for trees.

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Wells Fargo, Schwab, Salesforceâ&#x20AC;Ś


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No other region in America is as actively engaged in corporate philanthropy as the Bay Area.

Mark Benioff takes giving personally.

The CEO of billion-dollar software company, he works long hours to see that his enterprise makes money. But unlike many of his contemporaries, he works almost as hard to give it back. Benioff’s commitment to philanthropy was born on a sweltering summer day in Washington, D.C. It was 1997, and as head of Oracle Corporation’s $100 million philanthropic fund, he was in the nation’s capital to donate 100 computers to a public school. He was short on people power, so he rang the Oracle office down the street for a hand. No takers. A few more calls and still no luck. Desperate, he called in the Marines. He phoned the office of Colin Powell, and Powell sent soldiers to help Benioff carry his PCs into the classrooms. The episode left a lasting impression. Benioff questioned the effectiveness of millions in corporate donations if the full, handson support of the company wasn’t behind it. So when he founded, he decided to introduce a new philanthropy model. He wouldn’t wait until his new company reached some comfortable level of success before starting a foundation. Instead, he would start his philanthropic efforts from day one. “The spirit of giving is baked into the culture of our company,” says Suzanne DiBianca, executive director of San Francisco’s Salesforce Foundation. Salesforce is one of many Bay Area businesses where philanthropy is a top priority. From giants like Wells Fargo to twenty-employee

By Tom Stein and Tim Devaney Illustrations by Bud Peen

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The Top 10

Total 2005 cash contributions Bay Area-based charities/Nationwide charities Source: San Francisco Business Times


Wells Fargo & Co: $12,592,379 / $92,573,784

outfits like New Leaf Paper, a large number of local corporations embrace social responsibility as a core value. In fact, no other region in America is as actively engaged in corporate philanthropy as the Bay Area. A recent survey conducted by Business Ethics magazine found that 19 of the country’s 100 best corporate citizens are headquartered here. Minnesota came in a distant second with seven companies.

A Reason to Give

In the past, corporate philanthropy was little more than a reactionary gesture of goodwill. Yes, companies gave. But few had a real plan behind their giving, and many didn’t bother to see if they were accomplishing anything. Today, more companies are abandoning that scattershot approach and focusing on one or two areas where they can really make a difference. Whether it’s improving childhood literacy rates, eradicating disease, or cleaning up a community park, companies are demanding greater effectiveness and accountability from their philanthropic endeavors. What’s more, companies are opening their wallets wider and giving more than at any time in the past. Recent research by the New York-based Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) found that multinationals now grant an average of $32 million annually. With so much money involved, it’s not surprising that companies want to take a more rigorous approach to philanthropy. “Corporations have become exponentially more sophisticated about why, where, and how they give,” says Charles Moore, executive director of the CECP. “Companies are spending more time and effort aligning their business models with corporate-philanthropy models.” Take, for example, Wells Fargo, the Bay Area’s most generous corporate giver. The San Francisco-based bank set a record in 2005, donating over $12 million to 1,780 Bay Area nonprofit groups. Community development projects got the largest portion, nearly $4 million, most of that for affordable housing and jobs programs. Nonprofits that address the health of low- and moderate-income communities received $2.3 million, and arts and culture received $2.1 million. Among other projects, Wells offered microcredit programs to minorities and women in underserved communities, and sent employees to schools to teach students good financial management habits. By supporting a stronger community through



Bank of America Corp. $9,131,240 / $130,000,000

Intel Corp. $10,499,534 / $92,590,350

projects such as job training, education, and microlending, Wells Fargo is creating an environment where individuals and small businesses are more likely to save money and need the services of a bank. Plus, a 2001 survey by public relations firm Hill and Knowlton showed that nearly 80 percent of consumers think about corporate citizenship before purchasing a product or service. Moreover, a 2004 study by Cone, a brand-management company, found that 86 percent of Americans were very/somewhat likely to switch from one comparable brand to another if the brand was associated with a good cause. “It’s one of our corporate values to give back to the communities where we work and live,” says Kim Wininger, South Peninsula community bank president at Wells Fargo. “When we do that, the communities thrive and in turn Wells Fargo is a beneficiary.” “Some say corporate philanthropy shouldn’t be done for business benefit,” says Moore of CECP. “But I would argue that’s not a good use of funds from the shareholders’ perspective or the employees’ perspective. The brand should benefit—and it can.” So can the bottom line. Moore says IBM originally developed voicerecognition technology as a philanthropic gesture. It’s now a significant business. Verizon is investing in programs that promise to increase literacy, knowing that these efforts could also help its business, especially since text messaging is a significant part of its revenue stream.

Giving Tree

You wouldn’t expect a company that’s in the paper business to actually save trees. But New Leaf Paper is doing just that. CEO Jeff Mendelson has saved nearly a million trees since he founded the company in 1998. San Francisco-based New Leaf leads the paper business in the development and distribution of environmentally-friendly printing and office paper. It produces paper with a high percentage of recycled pulp rather than virgin pulp from trees. Most of its paper is whitened without chlorine or chlorine compounds, sparing the environment nearly 50 million pounds of pollution. In 2001 the company developed EcoBook 100 paper, 100-percent


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Applied Materials Inc. $6,261,458 / $10,739,587

Chevron Corp. $7,133,858 / $73,055,561

recycled paper made for publishers. In 2003 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was printed on EcoBook 100 for the Canadian market. Hundreds of publishers are customers and a number of popular authors now request that their books be published on EcoBook. “It just seemed the paper business desperately needed reform,” Mendelson says. “It’s one of the largest industries in the world, yet it was stuck in an old paradigm and it was overdue for change.” Moore of the CECP points to New Leaf as representative of a trend among young companies: a belief that social responsibility is not anathema to business success. “There are new expectations when it comes to corporate social responsibility. There’s a new wave of progressive businesses that focus their philanthropic efforts on solving the world’s pressing problems.” New Leaf’s corporate mission is to reduce its “ecological footprint” in everything it does. It donates to environmental groups such as the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the world’s beaches, and Leave No Trace, an organization that promotes responsible outdoor recreation. But it is in its own industry that New Leaf is having its largest impact. In fact, the more paper it sells, the more trees its saves and the more revenue it generates—nearly $20 million a year. “Our social and environmental mission is embedded in every transaction and every product line,” Mendelson says. “Everything we do all day long is a service.” Mendelson, an avid surfer and hiker, worked hard to build his company—and to change attitudes in his industry. At first, the leading papermills saw him as a nuisance. But after a few years, major mills started to come around, partly because they were struggling with their own business models. They realized green business practices would be good for the bottom line. “Today we have a very collaborative, very positive relationship with our mill partners,” Mendelson says. “We’re even working with their engineers to create new product lines.” Nudged by the success of New Leaf, many more large mills are now offering green paper. And customers are buying it. New Leaf’s best clients are mainstream corporations. Bank of America uses New Leaf’s letterhead—the first acid-free, white writing paper made from 100-percent waste.

Triple Play

Like New Leaf, Benioff’s Salesforce has tightly integrated philanthropy into its mission. Benioff calls his approach the “1-1-1” model. The company pays for each employee to volunteer six days a year (1 percent of a year’s worth of work). It also put 1 percent of its preIPO stock in a nonprofit fund, now worth $15 million, that awards grants. And, finally, Salesforce gives 1 percent of its software to non-

The Really Big $1,500 Donation

Wells Fargo goes to bat to rescue elementary school students in East Palo Alto

Last year Wells Fargo donated to local education programs $3.5 million … and $1,500. The $1,500 was just a small grant for a business like Wells, but it was a huge lesson in philanthropy for Cesar Chavez Elementary School in East Palo Alto. The students there had collected money to send to Hurricane Katrina victims, but one night a thief broke into the school and absconded with the kids’ jars of cash. Wells Fargo heard about the incident and stepped in immediately. “Cesar Chavez was one of our adopted schools, and when that money was stolen it was an opportunity for us to do more,” says Kim Wininger, South Peninsula community bank president at Wells Fargo. “We had a personal connection, so it made sense for us not only to replenish the money from the theft but to give even more to their hurricane donation pool.” Wells Fargo adopts five schools in Bay Area counties each year. It raises money for them with an innovative promotion, donating $100 to its education fund for every run scored by the San Francisco Giants. The cash comes to about $10,000 for each school. “It feels pretty good when you call and tell a school you’re bringing a $10,000 check,” Wininger says. “I feel like Santa Claus.”

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Top Business Leaders on Their Philanthropic Efforts John Morgridge,

chairman emeritus of Cisco Sys-

tems, on how Cisco makes a difference: “The concept of giving back has been part of Cisco’s DNA since the beginning. Early on, our offices were located in the middle of East Palo Alto, a city struggling to provide services for its



Citigroup Inc. $4,253,530 / $85,071,869

PG&E Corp. $6,128,717 / $12,097,472

residents. The many needs that were not being met were especially evident at Costano Elementary School. We were separated only by a fence. Cisco employees found it difficult not to help. They literally jumped the fence and got to work to help improve the school. What began with painting walls and cleaning the schoolyard quickly grew into a partnership of mentoring and working with teachers and administrators to accomplish long-term objectives.”

Michael S. Dell,

founder of Dell, on not simply

throwing money at a cause: “We believe in giving back to the community, but in doing it slightly differently. We created a Sustainable Business program in 2003 that integrates economic, social, and environmental responsibility into everything we do. We don’t see it as spending shareholder money, but as creating long-term stakeholder value. Acting responsibly on behalf of shareholders and on behalf of the community don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”

Phil Marineau,

CEO of Levi Strauss, on how Levi’s

commitment to the community sustained the company during its downturn: “Without that bank account of goodwill—which has been created by social responsibility and commitment to community—we would have been in more serious trouble than we were, and we might not have come out of it as well as we have.”

Laura Scher,

CEO of Working Assets, on why her

company is a success: “We choose to spend our marketing dollars on making donations rather than running expensive television commercials. For Working Assets, making a socially responsible business decision has also been a sustainable business decision.”

Alan Hassenfeld,

chairman of Hasbro, on why his

company’s philanthropic programs are successful: “We’ve hired people who are exclusively dedicated to the foundation and trust. They evaluate grants and do site visitations. Nothing gets approved without scrutiny. If you don’t foster the programs with the right people, it’s not going to work.”

Source: The Business of Changing the World, by Marc Benioff and Carlye Adler

profit companies. About 1,200 organizations, from the United Way to the Red Cross, now use Salesforce applications to do everything from helping the homeless to managing disaster-relief funds. The results are evident at San Francisco’s Project Homeless Connect. Here, every other month, more than 1,500 individual community volunteers join city government, nonprofits, and corporations to provide a one-stop shop of health and human services. San Francisco’s homeless can get medical care and help with mental health, substance abuse, housing, and legal problems. They can get their wheelchairs repaired and even receive free eyeglasses. Salesforce employees are also on hand to assist. Using Saleforce software, these employees collect information from the homeless and enter it into a database that can be accessed by social service agencies. According to Salesforce, most corporations on average can only count on 18 percent of their employees to participate in community volunteer efforts. Salesforce has an 80 percent opt-in rate. Why? Partly because the company makes its priorities clear from the start: “When new employees join, they learn all about the company and the software. But we also take them out for two hours on volunteer activities such as cleaning up a park in the Tenderloin,” DiBianca says. “So from the first or second day, these new employees know the company means what it says and that we’ll support their efforts.” Ditto at Clif Bar, the Berkeley-based maker of energy bars and other food products. In a project called 2080, the company ensures its employees volunteer a total of 2,080 hours, or what a fulltime employee works in a year.

Acting Globally

As the economy goes global, so does corporate giving. “More and more income is coming from international sources, so it only makes sense that these companies look abroad not only to make a profit but to give back,” says Moore of CECP. Whenever a Salesforce regional office reaches 70 employees, DiBianca has the green light to hire a full-time staff member dedicated to philanthropic activities. So far she’s hired people in Tokyo, Dublin, London, New York, and Singapore. Five years ago an employee in Dublin took his paid volunteer days and went to a girls’ orphanage in Kenya. He secured a grant from the Salesforce Foundation to set up a computer lab at the orphanage and run high-speed data lines to the village. Soon the company was getting emails from the girls, and even video greetings. Salesforce flew the girls to San Francisco, where they stayed for 10 days at the homes of employees, and the foundation is now funding the college education of several of the girls. “Not to knock anyone else, but some foundations are content to give money and go away,” DiBianca says. “It’s very important


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Washington Mutual Inc $4,140,058 / $45,057,368

to us to stick around and see results. For instance, we know we’re impacting the lives of those girls, because we’re tracking their success over time.”

Employees Take Stock


AT&T Corp. $3,445,072 / $79,318,975

At another big Bay Area business, Charles Schwab, workers take the lead. Carrie Schwab Pomerantz, daughter of the company founder and head of Schwab’s 10-year-old philanthropic foundation, says that employees play a large part in guiding the direction of the brokerage’s charitable efforts. “My father created the foundation because he wanted to help employees with their own philanthropy,” Pomerantz says. “It was a way to help promote employee giving.” Pomerantz has been head of the foundation for five years, and under her leadership it has tightened its focus on employee-funded causes. The more employees get involved, the more money the company gives. For instance, at the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure ride in Napa, Schwab has been the top fundraiser for the last several years. As the number of Schwab employees in the ride has risen, so has the Schwab donation. Last year it gave about $70,000. Because the foundation is relatively small— about $3 million a year—Pomerantz says, “We have to look for ways to grow arms and legs, and we really rely on our employees. There may be a couple of employees who are very passionate about a particular cause. If they come to us, we’ll support it on a small scale and we’ll tell them, ‘The more employees you bring, the more we’ll give.’ We’ve seen some events really grow.” One of them is Schwab’s own FERSTT Aid Day, which is named for the company’s values: fairness, empathy, responsiveness, striving, trust, and teamwork. The half-day program involves about 1,100 employees around the country in seven cities. They volunteer in groups to perform acts of kindness—cleaning up a beach, painting a Boys and Girls Club, helping out at a food bank. “We’ve gone to museums, to the VA hospital, to animal shelters,” Pomerantz says. “We even helped refurbish the submarine at Fisherman’s Wharf.”


The Clorox Co. $3,206,505 / $5,327,951

Oakland-based Clorox leverages its science competency by supporting employees who volunteer to take science into local classrooms. In 2005, 57 Clorox employees volunteered for the Clorox Science Education Program. More than 11,000 students in Pleasanton, Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, and Oakland took part. Meanwhile, tech giant Cisco has developed an employee-led volunteermatching system that connects individual employees and employee teams to philanthropic opportunities in their communities.

Doing Good—and Well

At Schwab, financial literacy is at the center of half the foundation’s efforts. The company runs a program in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. In after-school classes, young people 13 to 18 years old learn about saving and investing money. The program is now in its third year and, Pomerantz says, in its first 18 months it reached 37,000 teenagers around the country, primarily from inner cities, military bases, and on Native American land. “We’ve always prided ourselves on democratizing investing and making it more accessible to more Americans,” she says. “So this program is a natural extension of our heritage.” Research shows that kids who go through the program are more likely to save money and open savings accounts, she says. They’re more likely to make a budget and start a search for college aid. “These are kids living in homes where they may not even know about bank accounts. We’re getting them into the economic system.” The long-term payoff is obvious: more potential customers for Schwab. But the immediate return is happier employees. Pomerantz says inhouse surveys show that one of the biggest factors in commitment to the company is its philanthropic endeavors. People want to work for a corporation that cares about the community. Salesforce’s DiBanca is matter-of-fact on the topic: “I won’t lie: Our philanthropic efforts have been a remarkable recruiting tool for executives and software developers.” She says Salesforce recently hired a highly sought-after CFO who cited the Salesforce Foundation as a key reason he chose the company. “Living in the Bay Area, there’s a lot of social consciousness, and people want more meaning than dollars and cents,” says Schwab’s Pomerantz. And, she adds, a boost for the bottom line is always welcome. “As everyone knows, you do well by doing good.” B

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Board Housewives What does it take to run a big-name company, raise a brood of children, and serve on multiple nonprofit boards? It takes Leah, Eleni, Summer, Zem, and Lisa.

It’s the hot topic these days. Frustrated moms, fed-up career women, fired-up housewives—women who want to have it all. From Oprah to the best-seller racks at Barnes & Noble, women are looking for ways to balance the age-old equation of family and career, of making a home and making a difference in the world. While there are no easy and obvious solutions, one thing is very clear: having it all and doing it all are two very different things. We talked to five smart, savvy, and overscheduled Bay Area women who perform a precarious balancing act—organizing charity galas and board meetings while also grocery shopping, running companies, raising families, and of course, looking absolutely fabulous.

Maryanne Comaroto Lisa Stevens Claudia Ross

By Bonnie Wach Photography: Billy Winters

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Summer Tompkins Walker When Summer Tompkins Walker leaves a Daughter of Doug and Susan, founders of the Esprit voicemail, it can be a little breathless. It’s underclothing empire, she gave up a successful international standable, considering she’s on a schedule that design firm for a high chair and a large—very large— would make a Fortune 500 CEO beg for mercy. volunteer’s hat. Today, for instance, she was up at 4 a.m. doing Age: 39 paperwork, had breakfast ready for her two kids by 7 a.m., and was heading to the grocery store and Home Life: Married, with two children, ages 3 and 6; her daughter’s preschool by 9 a.m. From there, it a third child is due in March was a mad dash to do three errands for the annual Boards & Organizations: Children of Shelters, Bay Area auction and gala benefit she’s hosting in a few days, Discovery Museum, finance committee for District Attorney followed by a quick side trip to the gym for a workKamala Harris, and various mayoral advisory committees. out. Then it was time to pick up her daughter for swim class and drive her son to his tennis lesson. Finding Balance: “You have to check in with yourself “I’m tired a lot,” Walker confesses with a laugh. and think about what satisfies you. And you have to “I’m busier now than I’ve ever been. My mom is allearn to say no once in awhile.” ways telling me to slow down and do less.” Seven years ago, Walker was well on her way to following in her parents’ footsteps, running her own international accessories-design business with clients that included Neiman Marcus and Saks. But then she decided to trade in her swivel chair and frequent-flier miles for a high chair and very large volunteer’s hat. “I came from this background of extremely productive parents, and I had to figure out what made me feel good, and it was not just sitting on a board, going to meetings. It was creating something tangible.” Asked by a friend to help get young women involved in the One Warm Coat program, which donates clothes to the needy, Walker jumped in with both feet, helping found and serving as president for the spin-off organization, Children of Shelters (COS), a nonprofit that provids educational and cultural opportunities to children living in shelters for the homeless. Two of COS’s big annual fundraising events—an auction of designer holiday wreaths and a Santafest for kids—raised more than $250,000 last year for programs such as music, extracurricular sports, and summer camp, and organizers expect to surpass that figure this year.

Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis knows firsthand the value of a good education. Her father, a Greek immigrant, arrived in this country with “absolutely nothing.” A fruit picker in the Central Valley, a non-English speaker with dyslexia, he worked his way out of poverty and up the ladder through—as she puts it—the “gift” of the California public education system. Today, Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis heads AKT Development Corporation near Sacramento, one of the largest and most successful land development companies in Northern California. Valued at close to $1 billion, it was founded by her father, Angelo, and is now run by various members of the Tsakopoulos family, who are also among the region’s biggest public education benefactors. Through their family foundation, they have donated more than $31 million to educational, cultural, and humanitarian causes. “My father has had an enormous influence on me. He made me recognize how important society’s contribution is to how kids grow up,” says Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis. “I was raised with an absolute sense of obligation to keep this country strong for my kids, my grandkids, and everyone else’s kids,” she says. “I think if you benefited from this country, you’re responsible for keeping it strong, and however you can contribute, you should.” In addition to pulling double duty as president of both AKT and the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Foundation, she serves and has served as a trustee for a halfdozen organizations, among them the Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism and the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center (a sentimental position passed to her from her grandmother).

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Eleni TsakopoulosKounalakis Daughter of a Greek fruit picker and head of one of the largest and most successful land development companies in Northern California, she has been instrumental in the donation of $31 million to educational, cultural, and humanitarian causes. Age: 40 Home Life: Married, with two children, ages 4 and 5 Boards & Organizations: San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism, Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Council, Tsakopoulos Hellenic Foundation Finding Balance: “If you’re miserable, stop doing something. Tweak your formula until you can handle what you can handle, and you can do everything.”

1/10/07 11:17:46 PM

How do you get the young and affluent to cough up big bucks for charity? Start with names like Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and Goyard, stir in a mention of A-list party thrower and PR whiz Claudia Ross, shake it up with a worthy cause like the Raphael House family shelter, and watch the checks roll in. Ross, founder of the twoyear-old Cross Marketing company and Northwest ad director for Marie Claire, pairs high-end retailers in need of publicity with philanthropic causes in need of raising awareness. If the results are anything like last year’s Nordstrom Fall Fashion Preview, which raised $60,000 for Raphael House, it’s a perfectly blended cocktail. On Raphael House: “I was introduced to Raphael House 11 years ago before I had my children. I took a tour and fell in love with the idea of helping people to raise happy, healthy families— single mothers who wouldn’t have this opportunity elsewhere. So it’s always been a part of my immediate family. After I had children, working there reminded me how lucky my children are to be in a safe, secure environment.” On philanthropic matchmaking: “Homelessness is not sexy. It was a challenge to bring in the young and affluent set and give some sexy coolness to a cause like a homeless shelter. You want to make it fun and play up both the cause and the client at the same time.”

Claudia Ross Age: 36 Homelife: Married with two children, ages 3 and 4 Organization: Raphael House

Zem Spire Joaquin: Raised on a commune founded by singer Joan Baez, once an executive at a chic shopping Web site, she is now a certifiable “tree hugger.” Age: 36 Home Life: Married, with two children, ages 3 and 5 Boards & Organizations: Director of Global Green USA, past board member for Raphael House Finding Balance: “I juggle a lot and I wish I had more time with my kids, but we do have a lot of quality time, and I think they understand that it’s important for me to do this work.”

In a little-known allegorical fable that made the rounds in the ’70s, called The Tale of Mee, Myself, the Wicked Elf, and Zem the Little Queen, a queen (representing the land) tries to show an evil elf (representing the government) that love conquers all. The book was written by Peter Music, a resident of The Land, a Palo Alto commune founded by Joan Baez, David Harris, and fellow antiwar activists. The little queen in the story was Zem Joaquin. “It’s a bit ironic. Having a name like Zem (which coincidentally means “earth” in Czech) and being born on a commune, I always fought the notion of being a treehugger,” says Joaquin from the Marin County home she shares with her husband and two children, ages 3 and 5. “I used to criticize my parents for rebelling against the government and the war, and then I ended up being an environmental activist, working on the Kerry campaign, and rallying against the war. Everything comes around—you can’t hide who you are. I am a treehugger.” Joaquin’s transformation began in 1999 when her friend Gina Pell convinced her to come work at, the chic style and shopping website Pell founded. Joaquin’s spoton instincts for good design combined with a growing interest in eco-products led to a meeting with William McDonough, a pioneer in the fields of green architecture and design, and sustainable development. “I always railed against the image that environmentalism had to be devoid of aesthetic beauty, and after meeting Bill McDonough, I realized my instincts were correct,” she recalls. After the birth of her second child, Joaquin left Splendora in 2003 to spend more time with her family and to focus on nonprofit work. She joined the board of Global Green USA, a national environmental organization that works with local governments, developers, and affordable housing organizations to adopt sustainable building practices. Not content to merely talk the talk, Joaquin put together the organization’s first Bay Area fundraising bash. Now in its second year, Gorgeous & Green is what many consider the eco-lifestyle event of the year, attracting influential A-list celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Salma Hayek, and Orlando Bloom, and raising upwards of $250,000 for the cause. Her mentor, Bill McDonough, was this year’s keynote speaker.


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Being the executive director of a large nonprofit organization is an all-consuming occupation. Imagine, though, if you did this while also serving on the board of one of the city’s most powerful and politically-charged agencies. Then try to imagine getting to all those meetings and events, attending all the press conferences and public hearings, shuttling back and forth from one end of town to the other at all hours of the day and night—on a bicycle. Leah Shahum, the 35-year-old executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and part of the powerful, sevenmember Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) board, says cycling isn’t really the hard part. It’s missing out on social time with friends and dinners at home with her long-time partner. “Luckily, he is so supportive of what I do and is really involved in the Bicycle Coalition as well,” says Shahum. At first glance, Shahum seems like an unlikely choice for the city’s pedal-power spokesperson. Ten years ago, she took up cycling mostly because she was frustrated with the unreliability of the city’s public transportation.

Leah Shahum Director of a large nonprofit and board member of one of the city’s most powerful agencies, she is one pedal away from changing how the city’s transportation system works. “Global Green is part of my core belief. It fuels everything I do,” says Joaquin. “I fell in love with it because it’s an intersection of my two passions—making affordable housing truly affordable by lowering energy costs, and making these homes a healthier place to live through green building practices.” In 2005, looking to scratch her design itch once again, Joaquin started an eco-consulting business and launched a website,, devoted to promoting beautiful, sustainable products. Part shopping site, part information clearinghouse, and part advocacy blog, Ecofabulous showcases everything from organic shampoos to treefree notepaper, and a host of “cradle-to-cradle” products where all the components are not only from recycled sources, but eventually return to the earth as either biological or technical nutrients. Ecofabulous caught the attention of House & Garden magazine, which asked her to join the staff as their “green” editor in 2006. Joaquin says her big goal for this year is to finish her house in Marin—a completely green design, loaded with everything from recycled countertops, to solar power, cork floors, and foot-pedal faucets for conserving water. She laughs at how things have come full circle from her days on the commune. “It’s a big joke around our house. My kids tell me ‘Mommy—you’re just like the queen in the story. You’re the queen of green!’”

Age: 35 Home Life: Domestic partner Finding Balance: “When you’re in public advocacy, it’s really important to find time for a social life. You need to do things that are completely unrelated to your work, that let you step out of yourself for awhile.”

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“I was working two restaurant jobs and coming home at night, and I would find myself waiting endlessly for buses and constantly being late,” she recalls. “I borrowed a roommate’s old bike and found myself getting to places on time a lot more, and being a lot less stressed about transportation.” Then one day in a Panhandle coffeehouse, she overheard a group of people talking about bicycling and went over to introduce herself. “They turned out to be from the Bicycle Coalition, which only had a few hundred members at the time. I got sucked into writing for the newsletter that night, and not long after ended up editing the newslet-

ter,” Shahum remembers. “I saw and experienced how bicyclists are treated as second-class citizens on the road. And that if we can get more people out there biking and more dedicated space for cyclists, it would be safer for riders and encourage more people to bike. It would also help drivers by freeing up more parking spaces and having less traffic. And, of course, there are the obvious environmental benefits.” Shahum became executive director of the 6,000-member bicycle coalition in 2002, and in 2006 was named by Mayor Newsom to the MTA

Lisa Stevens Regional president for banking giant Wells Fargo, a tireless volunteer for 12 (yes 12) nonprofits in the past few years, she fought hard to pass Proposition A, which will improve the City’s school infrastructure. Age: 35 Home Life: Married, with three children, ages 2, 5, and 7 Boards & Organizations: SF Connect; San Francisco Unified School District business advisory committee; Junior Achievement of the Bay Area; Santa Clara University; Project Open Hand honorary board member; the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), California State University Foundation board of governors; International Museum of Women. Finding Balance: “Living really close to where I work has been huge for balance. I work in the city and my kids go to school here, so I can pop in for a class play or a parade and pop back in to work fairly quickly.”

For some people, volunteering is a way to keep busy after retirement. For others, it’s a once-a-year altruistic endeavor at a favorite charity. For Lisa Stevens, it is a lifestyle. A glance at her curriculum vita would make most of us feel like underachieving slackers: San Francisco Bay Regional President for Wells Fargo in charge of 82 branches and $18 billion in deposits; named one of the “2005 Women Making History” by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors; recipient of the Women’s Initiative Founders’ Award; and nominated as one of the “Bay Area’s 100 Most Influential Women in Business” by the San Francisco Business Times. In the last few years, she has worked for upwards of a dozen nonprofit groups, including SF Connect, Glide Memorial Church, Project Open Hand, Shanti, the San Francisco Unified School District Business Advisory Council, Junior Achievement of the Bay Area, International Museum of Women, Santa Clara University, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and California State University Foundation.


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board, a governing body that sets policy on everything from MUNI budgets to bike-lane additions to the price of parking tickets. One of her top priorities in the new year will be pushing to complete the citywide bike network by filling in gaps in the bike-lane system. The bicycle coalition’s goal is to have 10 percent of all city trips by bicycle by 2010—a target that she sees as not only attainable, but welcome by most residents.

“My husband and I used to volunteer before we had children. It’s just something I’ve always done,” says Stevens. “Even before that, my mom would take us to Toys R Us at Christmas time to buy something we really liked and donate it to Toys for Tots. This year we took two of our children to Glide Memorial at Thanksgiving and served food. It started them thinking about giving Maryanne Comaroto and asking questions like, ‘Where Age: 42 do these people live?’ Later, my five-year-old said, ‘I want to have Home Life: Married with one 14-year-old teenager a garage sale and sell my toys and Organization: National Action Organization (NAO) give my money to the poor people we served food to.’” Of the many causes she champions, Stevens says education is at the top of her list. The daughter of a public school teacher, she believes passionately in working to For Maryanne Comaroto a run on the treadmill is not simply a time bridge the education equality gap. In her position to exercise. on the San Francisco Unified School District BusiA best-selling author, personal-growth lecturer and motivational ness Advisory Council, she fought hard to pass speaker, Comaroto had something of an epiphany when she mounted Proposition A for school building improvements a treadmill more than a year ago “A clear, loud, and neutral voice told last year, and as an eight-year board member of Jume that it was time to start a nonprofit,” recalls Comaroto, who lives in nior Achievement, she has focused her energy on Larkspur with a teenager and husband, a local real estate player. “I’ve low-income areas such as East Palo Alto and Baysince translated that call to action into the NAO [National Action Orview. “I want low- and moderate-income houseganization], which is dedicated to helping women build self-esteem holds to have the same opportunities people in by teaching them how to sustain and enhance their lives through their private schools have.” creative gifts.” Stevens has also leveraged the power of her emAs NAO’s founder and chairman of the board, Comaroto, who is ployer, Wells Fargo, elevating the company to the perhaps best known for her memoir Skinny, Tan & Rich: Unveiltop ranks of Bay Area corporate philanthropists. ing the Myth, which explores her painful childhood and adolescence (See the Benefit article on corporate philangrowing up in the Bay Area, leads the organization’s effort to support thropy on page 100.) Since her appointment to entrepreneurial women. NAO’s scholarship program helps women regional president three years ago, the bank has develop their skills through educational programs, and its micro-lendgiven $12.6 million to area nonprofits. ing service helps women overcome such unforeseen challenges as ill“Our CEO has always given back to the comness, death in family, or even poor planning. munity. When I took over, I understood that. “We chose our name because it represents the power to get someThe more volunteering we do, the more financial thing done,” says Comaroto. “I know that people who believe in nothneeds we become aware of, the more we need to ing greater than themselves do damage. NAO believes in a greater increase our financial commitment. It’s the right good–and we’re helping others believe as well.” B thing to do and it’s good for business.”

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Ready for the red carpet Sydney, Hudson, their daughter Hillary and her hot-couple friends, Kyle and Rick get ready to celebrate in style – and with style. Academy of Friends is hosting several Oscar-worthy events to raise money for HIV/AIDS service organizations in the Bay Area. This month on the 23rd, it’s the cocktails at Bubble Lounge. Then it’s to the Herbst on February 25 for Academy of Friend’s Oscar night gala, the annual black-tie party with big screens and bigger celebs. ( photography: stylist: megan papay,


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On Sydney: White lace dress, Sari Gueron. On Hudson: Tuxedo, Burberry. White shirt, Armani. Bow tie, David Donahue.

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On Sydney: Ivory brocade bolero, Lela Rose. Ivory silk blouse, Bibi. Ivory taffeta skirt, Lela Rose. Black patent bag, Christian Dior. Black heels, Chloe. Opposite: Sheared lamb bolero, Adrienne Landau.

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On Chelsea: Black and white dress, BCBG. Black patent heels, Via Spiga. Bracelet, Lora Paola. Heart necklace, John Wind. White tie, David Donahue. Opposite, on Chelsea: Black feather dress, BCBG. Black maryjanes, Bibi. Pearl necklace, Ralph Lauren. On Sydney: Black tulle dress, Carmen Marc Valvo. Necklace and bracelet, Lora Paola.

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On Chelsea: Black and white knit bolero, Peter Som. Black bubble dress, BCBG. Black patent bag, Christian Dior. Opposite, on Chelsea: Black and white tulle dress, Charles Chang Lima. Black patent boots, Sigerson Morrison. Black suede gloves, Juicy Couture. Gold bird necklace, Betsey Johnson. Black wool cap, Eugenia Kim. On Chris: Tuxedo, Hugo Boss. White shirt, Armani. Black tie, David Donahue. On Scott: Tie, David Donahue.

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On Chris: Tuxedo, Hugo Boss. Shirt, Armani. Tie, David Donahue. Opposite, on Sydney: Black velvet blazer, Ralph Lauren. Black chiffon blouse, Ralph Lauren. Black pencil skirt, Yei and Kei. On Hudson: Tuxedo, Burberry. Shirt, Armani.

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hair:, atelier aveda santana row makeup: models: victoria and joe, look / brittinie and chris, stars

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William Salit Design magazine art direction / production / publishing services

Benefit Jan/Feb 07 (selected pages)  

The San Francisco Bay Area lifestyle magazine of philanthropy. Art directed and produced by William Salit Design.

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