The Power of Celebration

By Barbara Grasseschi, Board of Directors

I became involved with the Healthcare Foundation in 2009 because I believed in its mission of supporting the health and well-being of this community. In 2014, when former Executive Director Pat Callahan asked me to help organize the first Wine, Women & Shoes event, I learned that an organization with a serious mission can also be serious about celebrating. So many supporters stepped up in a big way for that event, including 108 volunteers!!! Wine, Women & Shoes was enormously successful, with three events raising nearly a million dollars for local healthcare organizations, but just as importantly, it really brought our community together and was loads of fun.

Then, starting with the Tubbs Fire in October of 2017, this community was hit hard by floods, more fires, more evacuations, more losses. The Healthcare Foundation pivoted to address the mental health crisis caused by these multiple traumas. COVID-19 and the murder of George Floyd have brought new challenges, and a new level of attention to racial inequities that result in life-threatening health disparities for people of color.

The Healthcare Foundation is looking deeply at these issues and considering our role in improving health equity in northern Sonoma County. We are developing an understanding of how racism functions on multiple levels: internalized, interpersonal, institutional and structural. This framework is useful as we look at disparities in health outcomes, and search for effective interventions to eliminate those differences.

Even as we confront these painful realities, we also need to find ways to celebrate small victories. I believe in the power of celebration to lift our spirits and provide us with hope, especially in difficult times. That’s why I love leading the Healthcare Foundation’s event committee. We’ve had a fantastic time adapting our 20th anniversary kick-off event BELIEVE IN OUR FUTURE to be our first virtual gala on August 29th. We’ve invited world-class musicians and special guests to entertain you for this livestream event. I’m so excited for all of you to join us!

Thanks to over one hundred sponsors, we have already reached the $300,000 mark, and still have the silent auction and paddle raise ahead! The success of this effort means we can continue to provide emergency funding to organizations on the frontlines, helping essential workers and other vulnerable groups among us who are suffering as a result of the pandemic.

Thank you for joining us! When you receive the email with the link from us next week, be sure to add the event to your calendar. It’s free! We’ll see you and celebrate our success together in the virtual world!

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