by Donor Engagement Officer Lucy Porras-Azimi
It was definitely a memorable night on Oct. 3. That’s when 460 community members, funders and supporters filled the spectacular City View at Metreon for the annual ¡VIVA MEDA! gala to celebrate our nonprofit’s 46 years serving the low-income Latino and immigrant community. This was the largest ¡VIVA MEDA! crowd to date, with the theme for the night being “The Big Picture,” reflecting how MEDA has become part of a national movement of building equity through Latino wealth, place and power.
As guests entered the light-filled halls of the venue, they were greeted by an interactive art installation. This U.S. map prompted guests to sign a tag attached to a paper flower that was then pinned on the banner — the collective “Big Picture” hopes for the community being showcased.
Concurrently, esteemed community leaders, sponsors, elected officials and key allies in community-development work joined MEDA’s leadership for a private reception hosted by Chief Strategy Officer Lucy Arellano Baglieri. This hour-long gathering included remarks and commendations from San Francisco Treasurer Jose Cisneros, former U.S. Representative Luis Gutiérrez and MEDA CEO Luis Granados, the latter laying out the organization’s strategies for 2020. The crowd was rapt upon hearing a surprise announcement from James Vossoughi, representing JPMorgan Chase & Co.: The bank had just granted MEDA $5 million to propel real estate and non-displacement capital lending to the next level.
The rousing sounds of local performers Mariachi Nueva Generacion eventually brought the crowd to the main room for the evening’s program, with famed TV reporter Gilberto Leon serving as the gala’s emcee.
Echoing the welcoming remarks by MEDA CEO Luis Granados (photo, right), featured speakers civil rights icon Dolores Huerta (photo, center) and former U.S. Representative Luis Gutiérrez (photo, left) delivered inspiring speeches about the need for a reawakening of a Latino civil rights movement in this time of political vitriol aimed at the community. This pair of renowned leaders honored the legacy of the African American community for leading the way for other communities, including the Latinx community, to take on the fight for civil rights and equity. Both featured speakers received awards in recognition of their lifetime of work: a “Community Legacy Award” for Huerta; and a “Community Visionary Award” for Gutiérrez.
Additionally, MEDA’s Chief Operating Officer Jillian Spindle was honored with a “Community Impact Award” for her decade of service to the organization; while HOMEY Executive Director Roberto Alfaro received a “Community Healer Award” for his work with at-risk youth in the Mission. HOMEY had been displaced to SoMa, but is now temporarily located back in the Mission in a MEDA Small Sites Program property, with the organization later being offered a permanent home at Casa Adelante – 1990 Folsom, which is now under construction.
The “2019 MEDA Client of the Year Award” was bestowed upon Luz Rodríguez, a MEDA client turned parent leader. As the crowd learned in a video, Luz first came to our organization for tax and asset-building services, but quickly climbed the ladder of empowerment to become a parent advocate at the capitol in Sacramento. Luz has even become a promotora (community organizer), with an eye on increasing parent civic engagement.
With the awards/speeches portion of the program now drawn to a close, the powerhouse duo of Policy & Advocacy Director Norma P. García and Board Chairperson Dolores Terrazas took to the stage to prime the audience on what exactly their role would be in making “The Big Picture” a reality. The zealous pair painted a vision of MEDA being fully prepared to scale the organization’s work in 2020 — with equally scaled support from the community. That goal was met: There was an amazing $235,000 raised in sponsorships and at the event itself, the latter evidenced by a filled-to-the-top digital thermometer that surpassed its goal in under 10 minutes.
The night drew to a close as guests took their final bites of delicious desserts generously donated by the Mission’s own Delfina Restaurant, plus some mouthwatering cookies from MEDA Business Development client Patricia Narciso of Alfajores Narciso (blog). These treats gave the crowd the energy to dance the night away to the rhythmic beats of Susana y su Orquesta Adelante and, later, a deejay, a memorable night framed by a backdrop of twinkling lights of San Francisco.
“The Big Picture,” indeed.
Interested in sponsoring ¡VIVA MEDA! 47 in fall 2020?
Please contact Lucy Porras-Azimi: (415) 282-3334 ext. 154; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to all of our ¡VIVA MEDA! 46 sponsors!
Silicon Valley Bank
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Boston Private Bank
City View at Metreon
First Republic Bank
Old Republic Title Company
Sterling Bank & Trust
Bank of San Francisco
Chinatown Community Development Center
Goldfarb & Lipman LLP
Herman Coliver Locus Architecture
San Francisco Electrical Construction Industry
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation
Armando Vazquez Architecture
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
Carpenters Local Union 22
Gubb & Barshay LLP
Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
Sprinklefitters Local 483