My Cause

Philanthropy with panache

Lively October events feature antiques, athletes and fashion.

By Kristen Gray


The San Francisco Fall Art & Antiques Show is the ultimate high-end treasure hunt, a wonderland of culture and curiosity from around the world. The show’s 35th edition, “Animalia – Animals and Art in Antiques,” will feature approximately 60 dealers from the United States and Europe showcasing a dizzying array of fine and decorative arts.

Animalia, Latin for “having soul,” truly defines this installment of the show, according to event chair Suzanne Tucker. “The heart of all art, antiques and decorative objects is a boundless, collective soul—that of the artist, the craftsman, the collector, the observer and the history of the piece,” says Tucker.

The Opening Night Preview Gala, chaired by Alexis and Trevor Traina, Allison Speer and Fred Moll, is widely lauded as San Francisco’s premier social event, renowned for its exquisite McCalls food and beverage program, caviar and vodka bars set amid a dazzling atmosphere of art, antiques and live music.

The Gala is also an excellent opportunity to sport this year’s trending animal prints, many of which can be found in Honorary Chair Aerin Lauder’s fall AERIN collection. True to tradition, all proceeds benefit Enterprise for High School Students, which supports San Francisco youth in developing work and career skills.

San Francisco Fall Art & Antiques Show, October 27–30: Thursday–Saturday, 10:30 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sunday, noon–5 p.m.; general admission $15–$20. Tickets for the Opening Night Gala on October 26 start at $275. Festival Pavilion at Ft. Mason, San Francisco; call 415-989-9019 or visit for details.


When you’ve looped and salchowed your way to Olympic gold, what’s next? How about a 20-year run of continuous support for early childhood literacy? At this year’s Once Upon a Time Gala, Olympic gold medalist and Bay Area native Kristi Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation celebrates 20 years of successfully providing innovative reading programs for children.

Yamaguchi founded the Always Dream Foundation to help develop literacy skills in kindergartners and first-graders through programs like Always Reading. Yamaguchi has turned the Annual Gala, co-chaired by Judy Davies and Nadyne Orona, into a major philanthropic event and one of the social season’s most entertaining tickets.

“In the fourth grade, children read to learn, therefore, the mastery of reading becomes a critical factor in a student’s ability to keep up academically,” said Jennifer Lee, Always Dream Foundation President. “At ADF, we believe that literacy is the gateway to success in school as well as in life.”

To celebrate the Gala’s 20th anniversary, guests will enjoy a special performance by Grammy Award–winning musician Sarah McLachlan and bon mots from gala emcee (and Olympic gold medalist in his own right) Scott Hamilton. Auctioneer Damon Casatico will auction off once-in-a-lifetime experiences and vacation packages.

Once Upon a Time 20th Annual Benefit Gala,
Saturday, October 8: Gold Sponsor Reception, 5:30 p.m.; Dinner, 6:30 p.m. Individual tickets start at $850. The Palace Hotel, San Francisco; email
[email protected] for tickets.


San José native Jacob Keswick has managed life with juvenile arthritis since the age of two. Now 18, Jacob is an inspiration to others, in large part due to the support provided by the Arthritis Foundation. As this year’s youth honoree for the glitzy Fashion Fights Arthritis annual benefit, Jacob’s resilience and determination will be on full display.

“Having arthritis has not been easy, but I am thankful to the Arthritis Foundation for supporting me in so many ways and helping me see that JA is not something that will hold me back from achieving my dreams,” Jacob says.

The 14th annual installment of the show will transport guests to the 1930s and 1950s with Karen Caldwell Design’s nostalgic resort wear, cocktail dresses and gowns adorned with her own personal collection of vintage accessories. “One thing I am really excited to share at the show is the incredible silks and brocades that will be adorning the runway,” says Caldwell. “Each and every look will have its own personality!”

The event, chaired by Elizabeth J. Folger and honorary co-chairs Patricia and Charles Sprincin, will offer more than a feast for the eyes for fashionistas. In addition to the excitement on the runway, guests will enjoy a champagne reception, silent auction, luncheon and live auction.

Those eager to keep the good times rolling will enjoy the “Meet the Designers” after party, featuring Karen Caldwell, featured shoe designer Joan Oloff and Christina Choi of Christina Choi Cosmetics.

Fashion Fights Arthritis, October 5: 10:30 a.m. reception and silent auction; noon luncheon, live auction and runway show. Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco. Call 415-356-1241 or visit

KRISTEN GRAY is a San Francisco freelance writer.

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