We are all reminded of the connection we have to our neighbors when disaster strikes; a major emergency like the 2014 Napa Earthquake was a wake-up call and a profound example of humanitarianism that is possible in the face of distress. The 2015 American Red Cross Gala echoed this very message of unwavering support for those in need.
On April 11, Fort Mason’s Herbst Pavillion came to life in red-carpet fashion for the black-tie affair. Over 600 guests arrived to a swanky cocktail lounge where silent auction items were on display, and a sea of rouge-attired supporters could bid, sip, nibble and mingle amidst lavish touches like velvet curtains and red roses that seemed to sparkle against the flicker of candlelight.
Past the red velvet curtains awaited a stunning dinner scene, which commenced when Gala Chair Lillian Phan took her solo spot onstage to deliver a warm welcome for the evening. Teresa Briggs, Vice Chair and the West Region Managing Partner for Deloitte LLP and Alexander R. Mehran, Sr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunset Development Company, served as co-honorary chairs. This year, the Red Cross Bay Area Chapter honored Bay Area Philanthropic CEO of the year, Anthony F. Earley, Jr., Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of PG&E Corporation, for his commitment to providing immediate humanitarian assistance to those in need. For more than four decades, PG&E has partnered with the Red Cross to support community safety and disaster response at home and abroad.
“It’s a privilege to be honored by the American Red Cross of the Bay Area. PG&E has been proud to collaborate with the Red Cross over the years on a number of local programs that help our communities prepare for and recover from emergencies,” said Earley. His sentiment was underscored by the video that followed, a tearjerking highlight of American Red Cross recovery efforts after the Napa Earthquake. We were also reminded that more than 90% of Red Cross efforts happen through heartfelt dedication of volunteers.
A moment of silence was the perfect time for the hype to begin; the live auction kicked-off of with a $25,000 donation from PG&E in honor of Tony Earley. Bidders threw up their paddles on exciting auction items like a two-day Audi sports car experience and a luxury Napa Getaway. Not long after the auction – and dessert – ended, the Four Tops donned their signature sequin suits for a sizzling performance, followed by music by DJ Zhaldee and dancing to close out the evening.
This year’s event raised over $1.7 million dollars, and proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter’s disaster preparedness, response and recovery program and services in the community.