Celebrating its 28th year as one of San Francisco’s most iconic events, the Red Cross Gala returns in 2023 in a new venue, the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, on March 24. Join us as we celebrate the mission of the Red Cross, our 2023 Gala Honorees and an unforgettable evening in a Bay Area landmark.
Date: Friday, March 24, 2023
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Our annual fundraising event returns in 2023 to support our humanitarian mission in a new venue.
Photos courtesy of California Academy of Sciences/Irja Elisa for Show Ready/Jim Vetter Photography
Red Cross Philanthropic Company of the Year
A committed partner for more than 33 years, Visa and Visa Foundation share the Red Cross mission to ensure people impacted by disasters receive the care, comfort and resources they deserve. Visa and Visa Foundation and its employees turn compassion into action, having generously donated more than $26 million in support of Red Cross responses to disasters and crises across the world.
In addition, Visa employees regularly give their time and energy as volunteers, providing hands-on assistance with programs such as Sound the Alarm smoke alarm installation and home fire safety events and personal hygiene kit builds, as well as Missing Maps and MapSwipe initiatives, blood drives, and other programs. Visa team members are also active as Red Cross board and committee members.
Red Cross Humanitarian Volunteer of the Year
Supporting people is at the heart of what Briana Taylor does. She has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross for 17 years – having joined during the Red Cross response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. But, her journey to make things better for others began long before then. Growing up as a Girl Scout, she was always stepping out of her comfort zone and helping others. Even as a young girl, she had the ability to see the potential in everyone she met.
Briana has successfully navigated academic, corporate and volunteer settings throughout much of her life. She is a retired psychologist – she worked for many years in the Dublin Unified School District and is founder of Raising Healthy Kids, a transformative parenting program providing families with the frameworks and tools they need to raise children who thrive emotionally, socially and academically. Her 20-year background in marriage and family therapy equipped her with skills that would serve well in her many roles at the Red Cross. Since her start with the organization, she had been wholeheartedly committed to the Red Cross mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
As a Member of the Pacific Division Regional Response Management Team, Briana deploys around the country as External Relations Assistant Director on the Leadership Team. She has provided comfort and support to communities affected by hurricanes, super storms, floods, tornados, and the California wildfires, including the Valley Fire, Clayton Fire, 2017 California Wildfires, Mendocino Complex Fire, Camp Fire, Kincade Fire, 2020 Lightning Complex Wildfires and most recently in the Red Cross California Gold Country Region during the evacuation of South Lake Tahoe following the Calder Fire. When not responding to disasters, Briana serves as Vice Chair for the Red Cross Bay Area Chapter Board of Directors. In addition, she is the volunteer partner to the Regional Disaster Officer, and has been featured as a guest speaker at countless meetings and events.
Working with local government partners, and community and faith-based organizations to help build more resilient communities is also part of Briana’s personal Red Cross mission. She chairs the region’s leadership councils composed of key community partners and organizations who connect the Red Cross to local community needs.
Briana is also a supporter and advocate for other Red Cross volunteers. As a voice for the volunteers, Briana believes that while people volunteer for different reasons, all have come to help and support our communities. She believes that only through each of our individual, unique contributions can we collectively accomplish great things. It is because of the tireless hours of dedication by each volunteer that the Red Cross is there for our communities when help is needed most. “Our lives are forever changed and deeply affected as we work to actively prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. The spirit, generosity, and resilience of volunteers and the people we serve in the aftermath of overwhelming adversity inspires and motivates me every day.”
Briana and her husband John have two grown daughters, Alex and Sami. Without their support, Briana says she would not be able to do what she does.
Our mission is made possible through the power of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors. Our sponsors are a big part of the work we do within our region and beyond, every day. Thank you for your support!
Devon Bell brings intelligence, passion, humor, and an entertainer’s sensibility to everything he does. His commitment to helping people runs to his core and has guided his path throughout his career.
Devon’s first career was as a real-time captioner for the deaf and hard of hearing. Over the course of 20 years, he has captioned for U.S. Presidents, astronauts, and during live surgeries. “The pace and the pressure of a live event, the sense of accomplishment and achievement with its success,” says Devon, “were all good precursors to becoming a fundraiser.”
Devon grew up in the same small town as lifelong friend Greg Quiroga, who first recruited Devon as a ring man in 2010. Devon was hooked, and he joined Stellar Fundraising Auctions (www.stellarsf.com) as an auctioneer in 2014. Well over 100 auctions later, he still loves the work.
“It’s an honor to be part of any nonprofit fundraising/benefit event,” says Devon. “It’s joyous and poignant and so much fun to help facilitate a community’s expression of support for an organization they love. I feel blessed to play a role, and I try to bring that celebratory feeling to every performance.”
Devon works with schools, arts organizations, and public interest groups throughout the Bay Area and beyond. He lives in Davis and takes any and every opportunity to play music, to play with his kids, and to play music with his kids.
Chris “C.J. Flash” Jourdan is an extremely talented D.J., songwriter, producer, arranger and musician. He produces everything from Hip-Hop to Jazz and is considered one of the Bay Area’s original Hip-Hop pioneers. His history as a DJ goes back to 1982 when he began experimenting heavily with the turntables. His popularity grew as a party D.J., and earned him a spot on what was then the Bay Area’s hottest underground music show - Music For The People on KALX 90.7FM in Berkeley.
There, he teamed up with dynamic on-the-air personality Natty Prep. The show became the most innovative, ground-breaking music program of the 80’s in the Bay Area . This program also started the career of Hip-Hop Historian Davey D. C.J.’s musical knowledge expanded tremendously during this period. He also discovered he could produce music. Some of his early projects were writing for The Timex Social Club (Rumors), and producing for Raw Fusion (who later joined Digital Underground).
In the 90’s, he teamed up with 2 of the hottest Bay Area D.J. Organizations - The Original D.J.’s & The World Famous Rick & Russ Show. Currently, they play for a variety of venues around the country including The Los Angeles & Berkeley Jazz Festivals, The Old School Funk Fest (hosted by KBLX), and international events (Canada, Dominican Republic, Aruba).
In February 2008, C.J. joined the Katt Williams’ “It’s Pimpin’, Pimpin’” nationwide tour. For over 100 shows, C.J. played to thousands of people 5 times a week! C.J. also shares his knowledge, talents and influence with a large number of Bay Area artists, radio and club D.J.’s throughout the music community.
In 2010, C.J. created and hosted "Live @ The BBQ", a premier weekly Sunday afternoon adult mixer located at Kitty's in Emeryville, CA. Currently he (with The World Famous Rick & Russ Show) entertain for a number of events including a Friday evening "Happy Hour" mixer at 3000 Broadway Sports Bar/Restaurant (Oakland, CA), a "Live" internet radio show on Celebdjs.com, "The 5 o'clock Flashback Mix" and "The Saturday Night Get Down" with Victor Zaragoza on 102.9FM KBLX. C.J. also continues to DJ (open) for musical notables such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Charlie Wilson, Robin Thicke, Trey Songz, Nicki Minaj and Jay-Z.
James Fletcher is the anchor of the KRON4 Morning News and has been part of the morning team for more than 20 years!
He joined KRON4 in January 2002 as a freelance writer and quickly rose through the ranks to become a senior producer, managing a number of newscasts including the KRON4 Morning News and KRON4 News Weekend.
During that time, he helped produce live broadcasts of high-profile events such as “Bay to Breakers,” “The S.F. Pride Parade” and “Carnaval San Francisco Parade.”
James joined the morning on-air team in 2007 serving in various rolls including breaking news reporter, 4:00 a.m. anchor, and weathercaster. James joined Darya Folsom on the anchor desk in 2017 and the two have helmed the morning show during the 5:00 – 10:00 a.m. block ever since!
Photos courtesy of California Academy of Science/Irja Elisa for Show Ready.
Ms. Ferguson is a recognized leader in corporate philanthropy and broader social impact strategies. She currently leads the strategic vision and direction of Delta Dental's social impact programs. Prior to joining Delta Dental, she built an award-winning corporate social responsibility (CSR) department for a multinational S&P 500 company.
Kenzie is passionate about the Red Cross mission and finding ways to fund the mission. She serves as both a Red Cross Bay Area Chapter board member and the chair of the Philanthropy Committee. Her philanthropic and civic experience spans the globe and has lived, studied, worked, and volunteered in Russia, the Netherlands, and most recently Morocco where she volunteered with both orphanages and children’s libraries.
Elizabeth J. Folger
Elizabeth’s first connection with the American Red Cross was in San Francisco after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. As a Red Cross volunteer, she escorted people back to their homes down ghost-town streets in the Marina. She was struck how lives were upended by this natural disaster and how the Red Cross’ care and attention was critical during this dire time.
Elizabeth believes in the “the power of our volunteers” who can and do engage to improve our community. She learned her volunteer management and fundraising skills from such organizations as the Arthritis Foundation of Northern California, the San Francisco Symphony and the Salvation Army. As an American Red Cross volunteer, Elizabeth wishes to use her experience to expand its visibility and mission and reach out to current and future supporters.
She is pleased to co-chair with Kenzie Ferguson to help create the 2023 American Red Cross Gala, “Hope in a Changing World.”
Honorary Committee Members
Former San Francisco Giants Pitcher
Leon E. Panetta
Former Secretary of Defense
The Panetta Institute for Public Policy
Gala Committee Members:
Kathryn W. Holmes
Nichole S. Jordan
Lillian Phan Pickering
November 15, 2022
Last spring’s gala was a long-awaited celebration and a return to an in-person event at San Francisco City Hall. Thank you to everyone who attended, supported and helped make this annual fundraising tradition better than ever. We’re excited to celebrate with you again in 2023!
Please direct event inquires to Pooja Klebig.
Pooja.Klebig@redcross.org or 408-205-3670