As guests arrived they were greeted by Gwen Austin, Carlette King, and Sonja Fitz. After getting their table assignments, they walked by the Silent Auction tables — three long tables overflowing with nearly 30 auction packages to choose from and bid on. Auction items ran the gamut from a classic beach cruiser bicycle, coffee with a mayor, a Pixar gift basket, wine and spirit tastings, even two different Hawai’ian getaways! Something for everyone!
As the guests neared the end of the silent auction tables, they could finally set their eyes upon the Andre Thierry Band as they played melodically enticing zydeco. A few dancers occupied the dance floor, and were clearly having fun.
This was the scene for the BOSS 45th Anniversary Gala. It was fun and flirty, somber and celebratory.
Our Mistress of Ceremonies was the ever engaging Emily Turner from KPIX Channel 5. She kept everyone on track and informed as well as entertained. The opening of the Gala began with a brief, but beautiful performance from 5 young talented artists from the Oakland Youth Chorus, a moving invocation from Bishop Joseph E. Simmons of the Greater St. Paul Church of Oakland and a few words of gratitude from the BOSS Executive Director, Donald Frazier.
A minor technical glitch (because what event is complete without one!) delayed the proceedings a few moments, but the amazing AV techs, including our DJ for the evening, DJ Just Polo, got everything up and running again in no time. We had a video created by Jeremy Bunch, the BOSS IT Manager which documented the beginnings, history, and current projects of BOSS.
Ronald Broach, a former graduate from the BOSS Career Training & Employment Center told his personal story of overcoming and succeeding. He also took a few moments to recognize his wife, who has been with him through thick and thin.
Alex Briscoe, Managing Director of Tipping Point Community gave the keynote address in which he talked about the disparity and injustices in our community. His stirring speech was capped off by an equally motivating performance by local vocalist Rhonda Benin.
BOSS took time in the event to recognize individuals and organizations that have made our work and success possible. The greatest distinction we can bestow is the Legacy Award: an honoring of a lifetime of work and advocacy. This award we gave to Alameda County District 5 Supervisor Keith Carson, The San Francisco Foundation, and Lateefah Simon, President of the Akonadi Foundation. Ms Simon also gave an incredibly motivating and uplifting acceptance speech that illicit numerous call backs from guests.
Our final award was to Sonja Fitz, the BOSS Director of Development and Marketing, who has worked for BOSS for 30 years. Every BOSS event, program, and facility in BOSS has her stamp on it. She is grant writer, program developer, donation motivation, and BOSS historical guru. Donald Frazier commissioned an art piece for her of John Lennon, Sonja’s personal inspiration.
It was a great night! Delicious Creole from Scott’s Seafood, great wine, a bar mixing drinks, great music, great speakers, and great performances all to recognize 45 years of dedication and service to a great cause: Our Community.
Thank you. Thank you to all the people and organizations who have supported the mission of BOSS over the last 45 years. Our donors, our employees, our sponsors and funders, local officials, our volunteers including our Board of Directors, foundations and grant managers, and you. We could not do this work without you. Now, let’s keep working to alleviate poverty and homelessness!
45TH ANNIVERSARY GALA SPONSORS:
Donald Frazier | Marsha O’Bannon | Bay Area Community Services | Cal-Pep | Clorox Company | Community Economics | Edwin del Carpio | The Greenlining Institute | Sophie Hahn & Eric Bjerkholt | Healthright 360 | Heffernan Insurance | Options Recovery | PG&E | Diane Rames | Weldon Rucker | Dan Scarola | Youth Alive | Marsha Winnacker | Mike Brodsky
DESSERTS DONATED BY:
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