Sen. Dianne Feinstein was honored Oct. 24 at the Edgewood Center for Children and Families Hope Ball.
And as she stood at the podium of the ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel in front of the sold-out crowd, she sounded positively gubernatorial.
This was prior to last week’s AP report titled, Feinstein Still Pondering Run for Governor.
But Feinstein was not stumping at the Hope Ball. No siree. She was there to share her long dedication to this organization (founded 150 years ago as a refuge of Gold Rush-era orphans) which is the oldest children’s charity in the Western United States devoted to dealing with childhood health issues, neglect, mental illness and family crisis.
However this lioness of the Senate couldn’t resist giving at least one politically-pointed shout-out.
“I just never get this out of my system” said Feinstein, in recognizing Janet Reilly. “She’s my candidate for District 2 Supervisor!”
Chaired by Edgewood Board Chairman Paul Holm, Jr. and Suzanne Baird, the elegant evening was a rollicking and hope-filled success which raised over $500K for Edgewood programs and featured a signature Beach Blanket Babylon song and performance.
It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen such a lively -- and lucrative -- live auction.
And auction pro Dave Reynolds kept the pledges flying as he cajoled and wheedled guests into raising their paddles high. Part of his take included straight cash Fund-a-Need donations from the audience. As those generous dollar amounts rolled in, Holm had tears of gratitude in his eyes.
Honorary Committee Chairman Marc Corsi introduced Holm by relating their connection to the Hope Ball which Corsi has assisted in organizing.
“Paul invited me to lunch not only because he wanted to learn the ‘art of lunch,’ teased Corsi, who is a regular at Le Central. “But he wanted to me to help him create a signature event for Edgewood that would unite a group of people for the sake of hope and for the future of children.”
Feinstein described Edgewood’s campus in the middle of San Francisco as, “A very, very special place of respite for troubled children.” And she praised Edgewood staff and supporters for their exemplary action which dovetails with her personal philosophy of, “Putting our divot back.”
Feinstein also supplied one of the evening’s hottest auction lots: four original floral-themed watercolors expertly painted by the senator herself.
Sen. Feinstein first became familiar with Edgewood through her daughter, Judge Katherine Feinstein. Judge Feinstein previously spent many years in the city’s Family and Juvenile Courts system where she referred a number of children to the Edgewood Center for assistance.
“At that time, there was little out there to help these troubled youths,” explained Judge Feinstein. “But then, and now, Edgewood is the number one choice.”
“My husband, Rick Mariano, is a long-serving Edgewood Board member. And after that, we all sucked mom in,” said the judge, laughing. “Besides, I’m her only child and mother to her only granddaughter (Eileen Mariano). She couldn’t say, ‘no’!”
Now a Superior Court justice, Judge Feinstein said that she hopes to finish her career back in the juvenile court system.
“I’ve come to realize, it’s the one place you can really make a difference in our system,” said Feinstein. “And Edgewood, which is so near and dear to my heart, is an integral part of that support system.”
Check out more photos below
Edgewood Regional Manager Falope Fatunmise and Edgewood CEO Nancy Rubin
Eileen Mariano with her dad, Edgewood Board member Rick Mariano, her grandmother, Sen. Feinstein and her mom, Judge Katherine Feinstein
Honorary Committee members Anisya and Lynn Fritz
Honorary Committee chairman Marc Corsi and Natasha Kolb
Nancy and Joachim Bechtle
Kendall and Gardner Robinson
Paul Renne and his wife, Louise Renne
Supevisor Bevan Dufty and his Cal Berkeley classmate, Judge Katherine Feinstein
Wine sponsor and Board member Cynthia Lohr and her husband, Sam Lucente
David Kensington, Shirley Robinson von Karl and Will Wick
Thad Howard, Catherine Driscoll Cannata and Jim Murphy
Melissa and Patrick Barber with Daru Kawalokowski
Dr. Megin Scully and her husband, Reed Minuth
Victor and Farah Makras
SF Ballet Executive Director Glenn McCoy, Margaret Mitchell, Gina Milano and Kirsten Strobel
An original signed lithograph watercolor by Sen. Feinstein