My Cause

Shannon Cronan: Supporting the San Francisco Opera

By Erin Carlson

The Cause: Along with Kathy Huber, Cronan co-chairs the San Francisco social season’s most coveted ticket: This year’s Opera Ball, themed “¡Viva La Noche!” Proceeds from the Sept. 7 event benefit the community initiatives and education programs of the Opera Guild and the San Francisco Opera Association, which reach a combined 60,000 students in Northern California every year.

Budget: $2.5 million for student and adult outreach education programs.Opera Ball A-Team: Cronan, Huber, honorary chairs Dede Wilsey and John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn, and San Francisco Opera Guild President Jane Mudge. And don’t forget design impresario Riccardo Benavides and official wine sponsor Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards and Winery.

Inspiration: Cronan, a prominent San Francisco real estate broker, learned the importance of volunteering from her mother, and donates much of her time to supporting the arts through her work with the SF Opera Guild. She loves that the organization raises money to bring opera to Bay Area schools, where students exposed to the time-honored art form — including those who might think, “Oh, that’s not cool,” says Cronan — can experience firsthand the powerful combination of music and storytelling, and even be inspired to pursue careers in it.

Impact: “Donations make a tremendous difference in the reach of our programming,” says Cronan. “For example, $150 brings Sing a Story to one classroom, $425 brings Opera a la Carte to one classroom, $1,200 provides 12 weeks of instruction for the Book to Bravo and Voices for Social Justice programs.”Get Involved: “If someone is unable to attend Opera Ball but interested in supporting one of our current programs or our endowment fund, they can do so at,” advises Cronan.— Erin Carlson

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