Author Archives: Kathryn Hecht

Celebration to commemoration: Red Cross thanks 2020 Gala supporters

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19, we made the difficult decision to cancel our annual American Red Cross San Francisco Gala event this year to protect the members of our community and guests. Under usual circumstances, the Gala is a moment when we honor both an outstanding corporation and a dedicated individual who have furthered the Red Cross mission in the Bay Area. Our 2020 Red Cross Philanthropic Company of the Year, The Clorox Company, and 2020 Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year, Chief Eric Reinbold of the Paradise Police Department, will be honored at our 2021 event. But we want to take a moment to recognize them now.

1-12553_clorox-company-logo-vectorFor over 40 years, The Clorox Company has stood with the Red Cross on the front lines of response, contributing more than $16 million in financial support, countless in-kind donations, foundation grants, and employee activism to help the Red Cross fulfill its mission whenever and wherever we are needed. Clorox has helped collect over 5,700 units of blood through office blood drives across the country, potentially saving over 17,000 lives.  Recently, the company launched a large national disaster preparedness initiative helping Red Cross inspire millions to prepare for disasters, and they donated $1,000,000 to the Red Cross response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Paradise Police Chief Eric Reinbold. Photo Andre Byik | Enterprise-Record

Police Chief Eric Reinbold of the Paradise Police department led the response and recovery efforts for the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest, most destructive fire in California’s history. On November 8, 2018, Chief Reinbold worked tirelessly alongside his officers to protect and evacuate Paradise’s 27,000 residents. Since the fire, Chief Reinbold has faced the massive challenge of maintaining the Paradise Police Department’s operations while simultaneously working to meet the ever-changing needs of his community.

We would also like to take a moment to recognize and thank our 2020 Gala Committee Chairs, Katie Anderson and Meredith Kendall Maines, and Committee members for their efforts in planning this signature event: Nisha Baxi, Luc Bergevin, Jim Bruels, Nikki Chang, Hillary Clark, Raleigh Clemens, Janou Gordon, Lindsey Haswell, Kathryn Holmes, Blakely Hull, RJ Jain, Sara Johnson, Veronica Juarez, Sasha MacFarlane, Rachel Manson, Lillian Phan, Nana Roper, Emily Ajao Tzouanakis, and Lauren Wolfe.

We look forward to celebrating our honorees and the work of the Red Cross with you at our 2021 Red Cross Gala!


To learn more about the work of the Red Cross during COVID-19, please click here.

For further questions regarding the Gala, please contact Pooja Klebig, Regional Special Events Manager.

Thank You to our 2020 Sponsors and Supporters

Gold Sponsors

Kathryn W. Holmes

Diane B. Wilsey

 Silver Sponsor


Bronze Sponsors

Alaska Airlines Logo




Arch Hoffman

JHA Strategies LLC
In Honor of Maria Angel




Exclusive Wine Partner


Liquor Partner


Exclusive Beer Partner


In-Kind Donors:

Al and Rosanne Clifford
Alaska Airlines
American Conservatory Theater
Bentley Heritage Estate Distillery
Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Bricoleur Vineyards
Brown Estate Vineyards
Caymus Vineyards
Chef Fabrice and Jennifer Roux
Componere Fine Catering
Diamond Creek Vineyards
Djerassi Resident Artists Program
Domaine Carneros
Emily Ajao Tzouanakis & Adeyemi Ajao
Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles
Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Gemstone Vineyard
Golden State Warriors
Gregory and Linda Rice
Grgich Hills Estate
Gundlach-Bundschu Winery
Heidi Barrett
Hotel Valencia Santana Row
Hyatt Regency Santa Clara
iHeart Media San Francisco
Elizabeth Portraiture
Jeff Meunier
JL Imagination
Ken Perry
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Liberty School
Medlock Ames Winery
Michael and Janis Klebig
Mike Cunningham
Monte Bello Ridge Vineyards
Panhandle Mercantile
PEJU Winery
Pier 39
Ramey Wine Cellars
Raymond Vineyards
Ridge Vineyards
Saint Joseph’s Church Arts Society
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Opera
Schramsburg Vineyards
Scott Littman
Silicon Valley Capital Club
Silver Oak Cellars
Sports Basement
Standard Party Rentals
Ten Group
The Melt

Project Roomkey – Red Cross leads the way to help most vulnerable fight COVID-19

By Debbi Behrman

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Marianna Thomas

In March, Marianna Thomas of the Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region, received a call from Luke Beckman, Division Disaster State Relations Director for California. Luke needed someone with Mass Care expertise to develop hotel shelter training for state and local government partners to better manage isolation and quarantine for people experiencing homelessness. The non-congregate shelter sites, which are part of California’s Project Roomkey, include hotels, motels, and trailers. California was the first in the nation to receive FEMA funding to secure thousands of isolation rooms in hotels for our most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness with the intention to protect them from COVID.

Marianna is the Mass Care Co-lead (along with Laura Hovden) for the Northern California Coastal Region, as well as the lead for the National Mass Care Webinars, and the perfect choice. “My first reaction,” Marianna recounts, “was our expertise is with helping people in disasters, not helping people experiencing homelessness and putting them in hotels.”  American Red Cross is known for congregate sheltering (like in a high school gymnasium-style shelter), not non-congregate (one person per room) sheltering. Then she realized that the Red Cross is an expert in developing and delivering training and knows more about sheltering than just about any other organization. That’s how she came to lead the team who developed the non-congregate shelter training for partners.

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A surprise phone call: one woman’s American Red Cross story

By Marcia Antipa

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Abby and son, Carl, in 1967.

In October of 1966, Abby Chapman and Carl Borders had been married just a year and a half, when Carl shipped off to Vietnam. Abby had just learned that she was pregnant with their first child. The war and the pregnancy would bring the American Red Cross into her life for the first time.

As a recent medical school graduate, Carl was in high demand in wartime. He was assigned to a new Army MUST field hospital in Tay Ninh. MUST stands for Medical Unit, Self-contained, Transportable.

“I felt as though he was fairly safe there, and he wasn’t. Mortars were attacking his company and the hospital. It was very disheartening for me to think this was where he was going.”

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Project Mask is ‘sew’ appreciated

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Red Cross Volunteer Susanne Newswanger sews face masks to help keep DAT responders – and their clients – safe and healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Red Crossers know how to pivot in disaster. Since the dawn of the Covid-19 crisis, the Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) has done just that – now most calls are answered virtually.

But when a DAT member mobilizes to answer a call in person, these days, they must wear a mask. So when members of the DAT team sent out a call for masks, other members of the Red Cross team responded in kind – this time with needle and thread. Thus, Project Mask was born with the following call to action: ‘”Sew” the Disaster Action Team how much they are appreciated.’

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Thank you, once more, to our incredible volunteers!

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Volunteers are the lifeline of the American Red Cross, providing critical services such as educating clients on home fire prevention. (Photo: Samar M. Salma; American Red Cross)

Every April, the American Red Cross joins organizations around the world to shine a spotlight on the people who make the real difference in our communities: our volunteers. Their selfless time, energy, compassion, and dedication are what get the work of the Red Cross done.

National Volunteer Week takes place this year from April 19th through April 25th. As a ramp-up to this special time, now is the perfect moment to recognize – once more – the incredible volunteers honored throughout our region at our 2019 Volunteer Recognition Events:

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Volunteer LouAnne Williams keeps it simple in order to serve hundreds


(l to r) Eva Marquez, Keith Hoffman, LouAnne Williams, and Jeff Airth. Photography: Kane Wong | American Red Cross

LouAnne Williams keeps it simple. On October 31, 2013, she began to look for ways to give back to her community. She tried to register with a local hospital but felt that they had an overwhelming number of rules and regulations.  Craving something simpler and more direct, she sought counsel from friends and family. Her son-in-law suggested she try the Red Cross, so LouAnne walked into the front door of the Red Cross, literally across the street from the hospital. And she has never looked back.

LouAnne began her journey as a preparedness instructor and now leads her peers in multiple capacities. Last year, she received the San Mateo County Volunteer of the Year Award, something that came as no surprise to her colleagues.

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