Tag Archives: fundraiser

Celebrating 23 Years of CG

IMG_7104Wednesday, October 4, 2017 was an amazing night to celebrate 23 years of CommunityGrows and Barbara Wenger’s upcoming retirement as founder and Executive Director.

The African American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) was abuzz with activity from early morning, setting up the Hall of Culture and firming up last minute details. Barbara Fujimoto, former Advisory Board member, donated the beautiful flowers and huge pumpkins for our decorations (thank you Barb!). By 4pm a few of our BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens), Eluis, Jennifer, Vihn, and Michelle, arrived with Advisory Board members Jaromy Schmidt, Liz Holt, Catheline Leung, Maricel Guinto, Jessica Jauw, and Christina Mathis to volunteer with setup and our silent auction. 22195363_10155462311501140_6421382218067334561_nStaff and VISTA employees Karen Lally and Laura Witzig also did a lot of behind the scenes work.

CommunityGrows staff: Ana Valdas, Karen Lally, Melissa Tang and Osceola Ward
CommunityGrows staff: Ana Valdas, Karen Lally, Melissa Tang and Osceola Ward

Sophie Constantinou, Partner/Director of Citizen Film, arrived to set up the sound and video work with Kevin Myrick, Director of Synergy Moon and sound director for the AAACC. Name tags were laid out…22154658_10155462310931140_8066386578112722340_n…and delicious food from La Mediterranee arrived. the spread included hummus, organic green salad, falafel, spinach and feta phyllo, rice pilaf, chicken pomegranate, and grilled veggies with tofu.22221655_10155462310936140_4789901640448702517_n Jaromy Schmidt, our Advisory Board co-chair and Starbucks District Manager, brought delicious cake pops and homemade cupcakes with the help of Liz Holm, also an Advisory Board member and Dual Store Manager at Starbucks.Jaromy-Liz-Cupcakers-SFW

Over the past few weeks Barbara had been dreaming about all the people that were invited to the party—friends she’d made over the past 23 years. These were friends from her past, from former employees to friends from the neighborhood. There were friends from Hayes Valley, John Muir and Rosa Parks Elementary Schools, the San Francisco Zen Center, youth organizations, partners, City dignitaries and employees, the Tides Center (CommunityGrows’ fiscal sponsor), consultants, funders, and supporters of CommunityGrows. So many of these people showed up to celebrate with her. It was truly a celebration of life!
22195243_10155462311821140_8219625076929008222_n22228403_10155462311536140_5550771335622914786_n
Barbara thanked the AAACC staff and their two new Executive Directors, twins Melora and Melonie Green, for hosting the evening.

Melora and Melonie Greeen
Melora and Melonie Green

The AAACC has been our home office for the past five years. We feel very grateful to serve the community in such a beautiful, vibrant building, which contains such institutions as the African American Shakespeare Company, the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, AfroSolo, Cultural Odyssey, Project Level, dance and recording studios, and functions as an art gallery and historic center.

Ruby Jackson, Office and Events Coordinator, and Michelle Black, Business Affairs Manager for the AAACC
Ruby Jackson, Office and Events Coordinator, and Michelle Black, Business Affairs Manager for the AAACC

The night was about reconnecting, cultivating and supporting the future of CommunityGrows. Along the walls of the Hall of Culture event space, photos of over 150 of our BEETS teen program participants reflected ten years of the program, as well as highlighting some of the 1,300 youth we serve each year. Here are some guests from the evening…

Alex Vazquez, Lily, Sonja Robles and Sonya Watson, past and present Advisors from the Tides Cewnter
Alex Vazquez, Lily, Sonia Robles, and Sonya Watson, past and present Advisors from the Tides Center
Judith Cohen, Director of Handful Players and her husband Malcomb Gissen
Judith Cohen, Director of Handful Players and her husband Malcomb Gissen
Chandler Covington Braddick and Francee Covington
Chandler Covington Braddick and Francee Covington
Adrian and Nanny Almquist with Barbara Wenger
Adrian and Nanny Almquist with Barbara Wenger
Dahlia and Jack Kamesar, Pam Jackson and Valerie Harris
Dahlia and Jack Kamesar, Pam Jackson, and Valerie Harris

Will Newsom was our Master of Ceremonies, introducing everyone and keeping the program moving along. Speakers came to offer their praise and stories about Barbara, including President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, London Breed; Director of Public Works, Mohammed Nuru; Director of the Human Rights Commission, Sheryl Davis; and General Manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, Phil Ginsberg. It was an honor to have them there.

London Breed, President, Board of Supervisors; Mohammed Nuru, Director of the Dept of Public Works; Sheryl Davis, Director of the Human Rights Commission; and Phil Ginsberg, General Manager, Recreation and Park Department
London Breed, President, Board of Supervisors; Mohammed Nuru, Director of the Dept of Public Works; Sheryl Davis, Director of the Human Rights Commission; and Phil Ginsberg, General Manager, Recreation and Park Department

One of the highlights of the evening was the music by Con Brio lead man, Ziek McCarter.

Ziek McCarter, Lead singer of ConBrio
Ziek McCarter, lead singer of Con Brio

Ziek came to us in 2011 as one of our BEETS. He was a very shy and introspective guy. Soon after being a BEET, we hired him onto our staff to be a Garden Educator at Rosa Parks Elementary. Music being his passion, he soon broke out with Con Brio, which is now one of the premier rock, pop, and soul bands in San Francisco and the world. They go on tours through Europe, Australia, and Japan (where they are number 8 on the pop charts)! We have deep love for him and were so happy that he and his bandmate came out to play for us that night. IMG_7063

Barbara introduced the staff and Advisory Board of CommunityGrows and our new Executive Director, Kelly ErnstFriedman, who has been with CommunityGrows for the past three years as Director of Programs and Deputy Director. Kelly has a decade of experience working with nonprofits increasing program performance and impact, grant writing, staff management. She has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from American University in Washington DC. Since she’s been with us, she’s expanded programming evaluations, streamlined and strengthened our operations through better record keeping, financial reporting, and engagement with the Board. With the help of our Board members, she secured two AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers last year, increasing our staff capacity by 80 hours a week! We know Kelly will take CommunityGrows to even greater heights!

Barbara also thanked the Koshland Family who gifted us Koshland Park and the Community Learning Garden over 44 years ago. This park and garden continues to be our home-base site for John Muir Elementary School day classes, as well as after-school and summer programs. It is the site of the Western Addition Peace Wall, a seven-year project that honors the families and youth of this neighborhood. The Koshland Family has continued to support our presence in the park and garden and we owe them our deepest gratitude.

Another highlight of the evening, introduced by CommunityGrows Director of Programs, Melissa Tang, was a surprise video done by Citizen Film in honor of Barbara, thanks to Sophie Constantinou.

Sophie Constantinou, Partner/Director, Citizen Film
Sophie Constantinou, Partner/Director, Citizen Film

Many of Barb’s dearest staff and friends talked about the impact she made on the lives of so many people. It was a beautiful tribune which brought tears to our eyes. Here are more guests from the evening…

Abby Winshop-Hoyos, Assistant Manager, Heart of the City Farmers Market and Dee Lewis, former BEET and Advisory Board member
Abby Winshop-Hoyos, Assistant Manager, Heart of the City Farmers Market, and Dee Lewis, former BEET and Advisory Board member
Linda Ruth Cutts, Abbot and Steve Weintraub, teacher, from the San Francisco Zen Center
Linda Ruth Cutts, Abbot, and Steve Weintraub, teacher, from the San Francisco Zen Center
Wendy and Peter Rudnick, Zela Rowland, Richard Johnson, Pam Jackson and Francis Thompkins
Wendy and Peter Rudnick, Zela Rowland, Richard Johnson, Pam Jackson, and Francis Thompkins
Frances Nealey, Paul Olsen, Bob Barnwell from the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association
Frances Nealey, Paul Olsen, Bob Barnwell from the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association
Nora Brereton, Former Director of Programs, Cheryl Clarke, Development Consultant, Heather Groninger, Former Advisory Board member, and Kristen Wolslegel, Former Advisory Board Chair
Nora Brereton, Former Director of Programs, Cheryl Clarke, Development Consultant, Heather Groninger, Former Advisory Board Member, and Kristen Wolslegel, Former Advisory Board Chair
Barb Fujimoto, Adrian Williams, Ashante Smith, Peter van der Sterre
Barb Fujimoto, Adrian Williams, Ashante Smith, Peter van der Sterre

Finally, Barbara tried to answer one of the burning questions of the night. “What am I going to do when I retire?” Here is what she said: “While I’m happy to be leaving this organization with a young, smart and devoted crew, I want to be outdoors more, as well as pursue the visual arts. I envision walking in a forest as a park ranger or being an assessor of our national parks and old lodges throughout the United States. I also hope to be creating and studying art. If anyone has leads of a part-time job doing these things, let me know.”

An amazing crew of Advisory Board members and others stayed to clean up and put the Hall of Culture back to it original self.

CommunityGrows Advisory Board members and staff
CommunityGrows Advisory Board members and staff

It was a night to remember and one joyously celebrated. Thank you everyone!22196309_10155462311176140_3995917989257693357_n For more photos, most taken by our gracious photographer, Judith Keenan, see our Flickr Photostream here.

Speakers: London Breed (President, SF Board of Supes), Mohammed Nuru (Director, Dept of Public Works), Sheryl Davis (Director, SF Human Rights Commission), Phil Ginsberg (General Manager, SF Rec & Parks Dept)

Food:  La Mediterranee and Starbucks

Silent Auction Donors — Thanks to the work of Bob Barnwell and our amazing Advisory Board: Last Minute Gear – gift certificate, Melissa and Mike Mulcahy and Stuart and Jim Michler – wine tasting weekend in Sonoma, Suppenkuche – dinner for two, Stacks – breakfast for two, SF Symphony – two tickets, SF Opera – two tickets,  Yoga Tree – five-class pass, AASC – two season subscriptions, Legion of Honor/de Young – two VIP passes, Urban Putt – two games of mini-golf, Peggy Chipkin – one Feldenkrais lesson, Bluxome Street Winery – wine tasting at Ghirardelli Square, Rochioli – set of wines

Event Space:  African American Arts & Culture Complex

Donors: Thanks to all attendees, and to those who donated but could not attend.

Night of Fun and Games

9.6.17-Joey-the-Cat_IMG_1928Wednesday September 6, 2017, CommunityGrows held its second annual fundraiser at Joey the Cat, an event space and arcade game rental company in the Mission District. 9.6.17-Joey-the-Cat_IMG_1894 The event was sponsored by Kaiser-Permanente and it was a blast! 9.6.17-Joey-the-Cat_IMG_1899Our wonderful Advisory Board put tons of work into raffle prizes and invited many of their friends. We raised over $10K and made lots of new friends.9.6.17-Joey-the-Cat_IMG_1866 Our CommunityGrows Advisory Board did an amazing job reaching out to their networks for tickets and contacting organizations for raffle donations (we almost doubled our raffle tickets total from last year) and working the room to encourage support (special shout out to Abby Blodgett for doing a fabulous job at running the tournaments)!9.6.17-Joey-the-Cat_IMG_1858Some of our favorite moments were Will Newsom’s pop-a-shot challenge that fell to Christina in short order…9.6.17-Joey-the-Cat_IMG_1803…and the “Santa bag” of baguettes that got distributed to a lot of happy attendees and Mission residents on the walk home. Great job, everyone! 9.6.17-Joey-the-Cat_IMG_1824For more photos check out our Flickr Photostream here.

Joey the Cat Fundraiser

11-16-16-joey-the-cat_img_8610On Wednesday, November 16, 2016 CommunityGrows Advisory Board hosted an evening of fun and games at Joey-the-Cat in the Mission District of San Francisco. Thanks to our sponsors Avila and Associates and Kaiser-Permanente, we enjoyed a great night of skeeball, pinball, hoops, ping-pong, air-ball, and Wack-a-Mole and raised money to support CommunityGrows. 11-16-16-joey-the-cat_img_8648We munched on goodies from Front Porch and Sugar and Spun, as well as wine from Plumpjack, Fort Point Brewery, Stag Dining Group and Souther Pacific Brewing Company. Folks lined up to have their photos taken at our Garden Booth. 11-16-16-joey-the-cat_img_8682There were skeeball competitions and lots of great conversations throughout the night. Guests were treated to a welcome by Advisory Board Co-Chair, Casey Johnson, and Barbara Wenger, Executive Director, and also included a video of CommunityGrows and shout-out from Ziek McCarter, Garden Educator and lead singer of the band Con Brio. A raffle of terrific items including dinner at State Bird and the Boxing Club, as well as a stay at the Monterey Tides Hotel rounded out the excitement of the evening. 11-16-16-joey-the-cat_img_8654A great time had by all, young and old. 11-16-16-joey-the-cat_img_868011-16-16-joey-the-cat_img_867511-16-16-joey-the-cat_img_8673Congratulation to our Advisory Board for working so hard, inviting their friends and making the evening a great success!11-16-16-joey-the-cat_cm_20161116_204917

Get 10% off sporting goods and support our youth!

Join us at Sports Basement (1590 Bryant Street) for a fundraiser for CommunityGrows on Thursday, September 24th!

Do you need some new camping gear? Are your running shoes worn out? Come by, say hello, and load up on active wear and outdoor gear, all at a discount!

The discount and donations run all day, but stop by between 6:00 and 8:00 pm for beer, wine and snacks provided by Sports Basement.

****When you make a purchase, be sure to tell the cashier you are there to support CommunityGrows, and we get 10% percent of the proceeds and you get a 10% discount!****

  sports basement flyer.pdf by blwenger

Vote for CommunityGrows Video!

7.8.15-BTW-NewLib_IMG_2205CommunityGrows entered their video in a Retale Community Garden Video Contest sponsored by Echo-Reducing Hunger, Improving Lives Worldwide. Please go on-line and vote for us here. We would receive $2500 towards our garden program! The contest picked ten gardens throughout the USA to choose from, and we think ours is pretty good!
You can vote a maximum of one time per day (refresh your browser if it says you voted already). Voting ends on September 4.
Thanks for your support!

Big Weekend Coming Up at Rosa Parks!

On Friday, May 15, 2015 there will be a student talent show and fundraiser for the Garden Program, highlighting the amazing Rosa Parks students. It will also feature our CommunityGrows Assistant Garden Educator, Ezekiel McCarter and his bank Con Brio.. If you’d like to donate to the Rosa Parks  program or purchase advance tickets, please click here.

The following day, Saturday, May 16th, Rosa Parks will have a workday in the gardens to deconstruct and rebuild a new greenhouse, and to maintain the gardens. Everyone is welcome to both events. Scroll down for both flyers.

5.15.15-RP-TalentShow by blwenger

5.16.15 RP Greenhouse WkDay by blwenger

CommunityGrows Fundraiser on October 16, 2010

Please join us for a great party on October 16th from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM in the Koshland Park Garden in San Francisco. This outdoor garden fundraiser for CommunityGrows will showcase our programs and the great work we are doing. There will be live music, delicious local food, performances by the youth we serve, a silent auction and great company. Please join us for a fun afternoon!

CG 10.16.10 Fundraiser