Readers’ Choice 2021: Virtual Gala

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Jewish Family and Children’s Services

(415) 449-1200  •

Instead of one virtual gala event, JFCS had a series of online events. The series, JFCS All Together Now was meant to engage and inform and was offered free to the public. When the COVID pandemic brought isolation and uncertainty, JFCS brought our community together — virtually. JFCS All Together Now featured community conversations with Dr. Anita Friedman, JFCS Executive Director, and a range of notable speakers including Dr. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General, and Mayim Bialik, award-winning actress, author, and neuroscientist. These events, which brought together more than 2,500 people and 50 community partners, shed light on mental health, healing, and what we all can do to take care of ourselves and those most vulnerable during these difficult times.

Oshman Family JCC

(650) 223-8700  •

The Oshman Family JCC held their virtual gala on April 17 in the midst of the pandemic.  By all measures it was a great success, and generated 3,000 visits to the event webpage for the couple of days surrounding it.  The livestreamed event yielded $295,000 from 124 generous donors, including a $100,000 match from Taube Philanthropies. Though virtual, numerous groups gathered at in-home small group parties, hosted by supporters for close friends and family. The benefit featured a personalized performance by Shoshana Bean, a game show between community members and staff hosted by Ken Jeong, and musical performances by John Craigie and the Bengsons.

Shalom Bayit ‘Creating Hope’

(866) 742-5667  •

In the midst of the pandemic shelter in place orders, Shalom Bayit held its May 6 gala completely virtually via livestream.  It was a compelling event, achieving a lofty goal of $400,000, the largest in the organization’s 29-year history.  A groundswell of support in the community was galvanized by this event, which began with an introduction by Judy Bloom and a statement of support from Congresswoman Jackie Speier. Executive Director Naomi Tucker and emcee Ellen Toscano hosted the evening, and online donations kept the thermometer ticking ever-upward.  A focal point of the evening honored a group composed of eight women, all local Jewish community leaders who created a forum called We Commit, for speaking truth about sexual harassment in the workplace.

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