In its first year, the Ever Forward Masked Ball was a rousing success in raising support for the Ever Forward Club, a non-profit that’s been mentoring young men of color in the Bay Area since 2004.
The organization was founded by Ashanti Branch, who along with first partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, served as honorary chair for the spirited, glamorous affair. Held in the Green Room at the War Memorial Opera House, and co-chaired by Tanum Davis Bohen and Elaine Mellis, the celebration hosted Franc D’Ambrosio (Phantom of the Opera), who belted out Broadway favorites while guests sipped sparkling and still from J Vineyards & Winery, plus Tito’s Masked Martini, made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka. The evening’s paddle-raising auction included everything from a luxury Parisian adventure to a spa day at Epi Center MedSpa. (Can we have … both?)
Branch — a dynamic leader whose work with young men of color was a subject in Siebel Newsom’s documentary on toxic masculinity, The Mask You Live In — was exuding an infectious energy at the gala, where his myriad supporters were not only in the building, but also in masquerade.
Spotted among them, despite the clever disguises: Marilyn and Michael Cabak, Marybeth La Motte, Bert Inch and Natalia Urrutia, among many others.