On September 28, SFF celebrated our 75th anniversary at an event that brought together 500 leaders from the nonprofit, public, and private sectors in support of making the Bay Area a better place for all. It was an amazing night filled with reflections, music and performances, art and dancing – and great food. It was the perfect way to mark this milestone in our history and connect with our closest partners who make our work possible. Together, we look ahead to the next 75 years, stronger than ever in our determination to create an inclusive, thriving Bay Area.
California Governor Gavin Newsom appeared in a pre-recorded message of commendation. “The San Francisco Foundation helps Bay Area communities show the nation what’s possible,” he said. His message was followed by a letter of appreciation from Vice President Kamala Harris, read by senior advisor to the VP Courtney O’Donnell.
The Cities of San Francisco and Oakland each declared September 28, 2023, as San Francisco Foundation Day, and the foundation received commendations from the City of San Jose and the California Legislature.
“This year, what we’re really celebrating is 75 years of doing exactly what [the founders of the San Francisco Foundation] envisioned,” said SFF CEO Fred Blackwell. “Which is identifying the problems of the day and coming up with solutions, in partnership with community, to those problems.”
The evening’s performances included poet and screenwriter Chinaka Hodge, who performed an original piece, “The Promise of the Bay,” created for SFF. “What we want is equity,” Hodge said in her poem. “A fair shake for everybody who looks like us and everybody that doesn’t.”
Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown got the biggest laughs of the night when he called attention to the song that played as he walked onto the stage, Tony Bennett’s old standby “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” Said Brown, “I didn’t request that song. I requested ‘Smooth Operator.’ But oh well.”
A number of additional speakers, performers, and local businesses made our celebration so meaningful: Ras K’Dee, a Pomo nation community educator from Audiopharmacy grounded us with a land blessing; Precita Eyes Muralists led guests in a participatory art experience; Micaiah Dempsey shared their creative talents with us; and Off the Grid and Wachira Wines treated us to great food and wine. Thank you also to La Fauna Music, Adriana Oyarzun, Tooney White, Mayad Studios, Secret Gardens, Front Porch Floral, Terra Gallery, and Inspired Events.
For 75 years, SFF has played a critical role in some of the biggest social justice movements in the Bay Area. Learn more about how and why we were created in 1948, our priorities and partners throughout the decades, and how our history has positioned us so well to address the Bay Area’s greatest challenges now, and in the future. Learn more at sff.org/anniversary.