Day of Philanthropy covers bases in world of giving

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

Bringing together major players from the worlds of sports, startups and even Starbucks, the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund will hold its third annual Day of Philanthropy on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

A full day of informational workshops, discussions, networking and talks by major givers in the local Jewish community and beyond, the event will take place from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco.

Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz, the founder and CEO of Starbucks Coffee Co., will deliver the keynote address at a community luncheon honoring local philanthropists Gerson Baker and Barbara Bass Baker.

Schultz, who grew up in a Jewish home in Brooklyn, N.Y.,  joined Starbucks as director of operations and marketing in 1982, when the Seattle-based company had only four stores. Today the coffee giant has more than more than 18,000 stores in 62 countries and serves nearly 70 million customers every week. Schultz has been widely recognized for his leadership, passion and commitment to communities and employees. He was Fortune’s 2011 Businessperson of the Year, cited for delivering record profits for the company while leading an effort to spur job creation and fight political dysfunction in the nation’s capitol.

The luncheon will honor Gerson Bakar and Barbara Bass Bakar, both longtime philanthropists and supporters of the arts, education and health care in San Francisco. Gerson Baker is a residential and commercial real estate developer and Bay Area community leader, who grew up on a chicken ranch in Petaluma. He is a founding director of the housing nonprofit BRIDGE, chair of the building committee of Menorah Park senior housing community, and a 20-year member of the federation’s endowment committee.

Barbara Bass Bakar is the founder and president of ACHIEVE, a scholarship and enrichment program that sends students from low-income communities to private high schools. A former president and CEO of Emporium-Weinstocks and I. Magnin, she serves on the UCSF Foundation Board.

The couple — who founded the Bakar Fellows Program at U.C. Berkeley, and the Gerson and Barbara Bass Bakar Distinguished Professors of Cancer Biology and Cancer Genetics at UCSF — will give a rare public interview at a philanthropic workshop in the afternoon.

Gerson Bakar and Barbara Bass Baker photo/ courtesy jcf

The afternoon roundtable discussions offer attendees a chance to pick the brains of high-powered local philanthropists and get information they can trust from professionals.

Workshops will include a presentation from social entrepreneurs Lily Kanter, a philanthropist and founder and CEO of the Sausalito-based home décor business Serena & Lily, and Mike Berkowitz of Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies, a philanthropic consulting firm. Both individuals have balanced professional and philanthropic ambitions, and will share their strategies for merging the two.

Shawn Landres, co-founder and CEO of Jewish Jumpstart, the L.A.-based Jewish philanthropic research and design lab, will speak on the findings of a recently released study he helped lead on the new landscape of Jewish charitable giving in the U.S.

The day will begin with a tax and estate-planning seminar featuring law professor Samuel A. Donaldson of Georgia State University). Donaldson also will join local estate-planning attorneys at an afternoon panel highlighting recent developments in estate and charitable planning.

The afternoon will be brought to a close with a keynote conversation and networking reception with Larry Baer, president and CEO of the San Francisco Giants, and Daniel Lurie, chair of the Bay Area Super Bowl Bid Committee and CEO and founder of the nonprofit Tipping Point Community.

“The federation’s Day of Philan-thropy is a unique opportunity to reinforce our work on behalf of the Bay Area’s Jewish community through philanthropic education, substantive information and workshops, and inspirational perspectives from some of our community’s great visionaries and machers,” said Jennifer Gorovitz, CEO of the S.F.-based JCF. “The objective is for all of the guests and participants to walk away more informed about the federation and the Jewish community, more knowledgeable about philanthropy and its supporting networks, and generally motivated by the many ways in which we can support one another.

“It’s particularly thrilling to have individuals take part who are literally changing the world — Gerson Bakar, Barbara Bass Bakar, Howard Schultz, Larry Baer, Daniel Lurie, and many others.  These are people who have figured out how to make a positive impact locally while maintaining active, engaged and successful roles in the economy. Their presence at the Day of Philanthropy is a reminder of the layers of leadership, creativity and compassion that exist within our community.”


Day of Philanthropy, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, Four Seasons, 757 Market St., S.F.

Emma Silvers

Emma Silvers is a former J. staff writer.