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Rainbow Honor Walk Names Donna Sachet “The First Lady of the Castro” as Board President

media contact: David Perry (415) 676-7007/ 

Rainbow Honor Walk Names Donna Sachet “The First Lady of the Castro” as Board President

With a New Slate of Board Officers, the Non-Profit Reiterates its Commitment to Celebrating and Preserving the Public Memory of LGBTQ Pioneers

16 April 2020—San Francisco CA: The Rainbow Honor Walk ( an eleven-year-old nonprofit that highlights the contributions of LGBTQ pioneers with sidewalk plaques in the city’s Castro District, today announced a new slate of board officers. Taking the reins from David Perry, RHW’s cofounder and board president since 2009, is Donna Sachet, the San Francisco-based entertainer, drag queen, community activist, and fundraiser, also known as “the First Lady of the Castro.” 

Donna Sachet brings more than 25 years of experience to the position, having served as a former board member of the Positive Resource Center, Equality California, SF LGBT Community Center, LGBTQ Advisory Committee to the SF Human Rights Commission, the Imperial Council of San Francisco, and the International Court Council. Sachet, who has earned accolades from five San Francisco Mayors, the City and County Board of Supervisors, and the California State Legislature, has also co-chaired SF GLAAD Media Awards, 50th Anniversary Gala of Imperial Court of SF, co-created and produced SF Pride Brunch for 21 years, and co-anchored and hosted televised and live productions too numerous to mention. Sachet is a regular columnist for the San Francisco Bay Times.

As the impact of COVID-19 continues to unfold in communities around the world, the Castro District’s well-traveled sidewalks may temporarily be empty.  San Francisco Bay Area’s residents—among them, AIDS survivors now combating their second pandemic—are sheltering in place. But the need to remember and take inspiration from the bravery and resourcefulness of past LGBTQ pioneers endures.    

“This is a very difficult time for everyone, including non-profit charitable groups,” says Sachet. “We realize that priorities have changed, as they should, but we remain committed to recognizing our own LGBTQ historic pioneers. Knowing our history and making sure our significant contributors are inscribed in the public record remains vitally important. I am proud to share the vision of the Rainbow Honor Walk.”

A Close-Knit Team of Collaborators

The board also voted in a new slate of new Rainbow Honor Walk board officers. They include:

Vice PresidentBarbara Tannenbaum, San Rafael-based journalist and author, former magazine editor and science writer with the California Academy of Science, and board member since 2015;

• Secretary – Dr. Karen L Helmuth, San Francisco-based clinical psychologist and former union steward with NUHW and board member since 2017;

• Treasurer – Charlotte Ruffner, Sonoma-based attorney (retired) and board member since 2013 who returns for a second term as treasurer. In 2013, Ruffner enabled RHW to earn its nonprofit 501(c) 3 status.  

Newly elected Rainbow Honor Walk board members are Maximilian Buck, San Francisco-based product manager at the health/technology firm Augmedix, and Kyle McKee, San Francisco-based filmmaker with a background producing commercial videos, documentaries, and short films. 

They join board members Peter Goss, real estate agent/marketing specialist at Corcoran Global Living; Madeline Hancock, native San Franciscan and Learning Specialist at SF’s Hamlin School; Dr. Bill Lipsky, San Francisco Bay Times columnist, author, and curator at the GLBT History Museum; Joe Robinson, director of facilities operations at Nurix; Gustavo Serina, former president of the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District; and Tarita Thomas, Oakland-based healthcare facilitator and author. All continue to work on the educational and outreach mission of the Rainbow Honor Walk. 

Special Thanks for Departing Board President, David Perry

David Perry first obtained recognition from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as early as 1994 for his inspiration to create a sidewalk tribute to honor the significant achievements of past LGBTQ individuals. Funding and city support was delayed, however, by the urgent need to combat the ongoing AIDS crisis. Not until 2009 were Perry and cofounder Isak Lindenauer able to charter a board with the support of Bevan Dufty and launch the all-volunteer nonprofit organization. 

To date, the Rainbow Honor Walk —working with the San Francisco Department of Public Works—has installed 36 plaques along Market Street, Castro St, 19th Street, and Collingwood Avenue. An additional 8 honorees have been selected for installation later this year.

Perry, who remains a special volunteer advisor to the RHW board, wishes great success for the team’s continuing efforts. He joins new president Donna Sachet in warm recognition for the contributions of founding board members and previous officers Gustavo Serina (founding Vice President) and Joe Robinson (founding Secretary). 

“Joe and Gustavo have been the glue that has bound together the Rainbow Honor Walk since day one,” says Perry. “Without their calm, no-nonsense professionalism, we could not have achieved this level of impact and continuity.” 

With an eye to the future, Perry says, “The LBGTQ community has faced pandemics before and survived. Our story is the American story and a global story. Our painful experience will help the world at large face the present crisis and find the strength and inspiration to rise again in the not-so-distant future.”

For more information:

A full list of board members, donors, and honorees can be found online at or on Facebook by searching for “Rainbow-Honor-Walk.”

For more information, email at or by mail to Rainbow Honor Walk, 584 Castro Street, #113 San Francisco, California 94114.