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25th Anniversary Gala for Family Connections Honored “25 Hearts of the Community”
May 10th Event at Sons of Italy Hall Celebrates Nonprofit
Serving Immigrant Families in SF’s Portola / Excelsior Neighborhoods
15 May 2018 – San Francisco, CA: A crowd of more than 150 people came out to San Francisco’s Sons of Italy Hall last night to salute Maryann Fleming and her bold idea 25 years ago – an idea that gave birth to the respected nonprofit Family Connections (www.portolafc.org): dedicated to developing strong, healthy families that build thriving communities in San Francisco’s Portola and Excelsior neighborhoods. Rose Aguilar of KALW Radio emceed the festivities right across the street from the future home of a newly expanded Family Connections center at 5016 Mission Street, set to open later this fall. The event raised $50,000 for the organization.
“We are truly honored and humbled by this show of support,” said Fleming, who first conceived of Family Connections when she was serving on the Advisory Board of E.R. Taylor Elementary School’s Healthy Start program in the Portola neighborhood. “When we started 25 years ago, we had a vision but thanks to the people in this room and countless others, the Principles of Family Support were able to take root and positively impact thousands of families.”
Dubbed the “25 “Hearts of the Community” Gala, the evening paid tribute to 25 people and organizations who have been instrumental in realizing the ongoing success of Family Connections: volunteers, philanthropists, community and political leaders and city officials. The honorees (in alphabetical order) were: Margaret Brodkin * Mollie Ward Brown * Willie L. Brown, Jr * Warren Browner * Dr. Eddie Chan * Flora Colao * The Cowell Foundation * Bevan Dufty * Barbara Fenech * Nicole Termini Germain * Mary Gregory * September Jarrett * Greg Keech * Laurel Kloomok * Jenny Lam * Stephanie Lee * Kingman Leung * Betty Liao * Mimi Ly * Gina Mendicino * Naomi Powers * Lorena Sanchez * Joaquin Torres * Suzy Vogler * Neva Walker
Also, on-hand for the event were San Francisco Board of Supervisors members Hillary Ronen (District 9), Ahsha Safai (District 11) and City & County Assessor Carmen Chu. Personal greetings and letters of congratulations were sent from Senator Dianne Feinstein, House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed. San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell proclaimed May 10, 2018 as “Family Connections Day” by presentation of an official embossed civic proclamation.
Family Connections serves primarily low-income, immigrant working families and individuals in community centers located in San Francisco’s Portola and Excelsior neighborhoods. Their array of more than 30 interconnected, participant-driven programs is designed to provide a comprehensive continuum of care from early childhood education to grandparent support groups and from family literacy to intensive case management. The goal is to support and empower parents and caregivers to develop healthy families that will, in turn, create a thriving community in which to raise children. Using the Principles of Family Support as the underlying philosophy and framework, Portola Family Connections was launched in 1993 to deliver the initial community requested services. In 2004, after an invitation from a local advocacy group and survey of families in the district, they expanded into the Excelsior neighborhood.
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