PARTIES: Grace — And Caring — For All

Cause: Grace Cathedral Carnivale
Attendees: 594 patrons, plus 105 tune-ins
Impact: $625K, benefiting the cathedral’s innovative ministry, arts, social justice and education programs

So much for virtual gala fatigue. Grace Cathedral broke its own in-pew event record, raising $625K — online — at its February 16 Carnivale: Grace for All fundraiser. That’s a whopping $25K over last year.

Conceived by chairwoman and cathedral trustee Lily Bowles Leo (with assists from committee members Don Derheim, Clement Xue, Art Yeap and Christine Benson), guests streamed into the cathedral — beautifully adorned by event designer Heather Rice — where the Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, bishop of California, joined cathedral dean Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young, his spouse, Heidi Ho, and auctioneer Liam Mayclem, as hosts.

“Every one of us is a child of God,” Young toasted. “And during this difficult time we’re reimagining how we connect with people. We’re not closing the cathedral; we’re putting everything online and connecting with the world.”

Housebound patrons noshed on gourmet McCalls meals, underwritten by Dede Wilsey. They also savored performances by Grace’s Choir of Men and Boys and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, singing works by Shari Bennett-Jackson — which complemented the unveiling of the cathedral’s latest installation, created by Roots Division artists De’Ana Brownfield and Megan Leppla.

This Gothic beauty is so cavernous, Rice also adorned the cathedral with colorful lights, ribbons and a Brown-Forman-sponsored bar (bless you, super supporter Eliza Brown) for event staff.

Another envelope pushed? Those delish McCalls boxes. Chairwoman Leo filled each Carnivale-branded box with logos, programs, embroidered linens, bouquets, candles and glass holders.

But lovely parties aside, Leo is well versed in Grace’s historic fight against social injustice. “In times of crisis, Grace has always been a place of refuge. When no one else would, Grace welcomed our LGBTQ community and believed that Black Lives Matter long before it was a trendy hashtag.”

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