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This month GLIDE celebrates the 20th anniversary of the eBay Auction for Power Lunch with Warren Buffett. This exciting annual effort raises funds for GLIDE’s comprehensive programs benefitting some of the most in-need and marginalized San Franciscans. It also represents a special relationship that has only grown stronger with the years—one that includes Mr. Buffett, who first came to GLIDE at the invitation of his late wife Susie Buffett, and also our friends at eBay.

“There’s plenty of good things to do in the world with money,” notes Mr. Buffett of his longstanding commitment to the auction and his endorsement of GLIDE’s programs and services. “The one thing I can do is I can give them a 100% guarantee, so this is one of them.”

Regarding GLIDE’s work on behalf of San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents, Mr. Buffett remains as passionate as ever.

“You offer them the chance to find out what’s within them that hasn’t yet surfaced. That can start with things as basic as food, but it goes beyond that. If you can help somebody be something better than they thought they were or that the world told them they were, that’s the ultimate accomplishment in life.”

The following is an excerpt (lightly edited for readability) of Karen’s chat with Warren Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska, on April 4. You can also watch the interview here. GLIDE’s community is blessed to have friends like Warren Buffett and eBay, and we thank them for their stalwart commitment to GLIDE’s mission and the diverse and beautiful communities we serve.

Karen Hanrahan: It’s the 20th anniversary of the auction. You have so generously supported this legendary effort for two decades. This is a very special partnership to GLIDE. It’s not just Warren Buffett and GLIDE, it’s also eBay and now a growing circle of winners who’ve become part of the GLIDE family. This partnership has really allowed GLIDE to lift even more people out of desperate circumstances. It’s allowed GLIDE to innovate on the front lines of poverty. It has really fundamentally changed the lives of the people that we serve, and it’s a special relationship for us.

When you think back over the past two decades, what are some of the experiences you’ve had and people you’ve met that really stand out?

Warren Buffett: Well, it’s been nothing but good. We’ve raised money, but I’ve had a good time. I’ve met a lot of very interesting people from all over the world. . . . The one universal characteristic is that they have a good time, and they feel they’ve got their money’s worth. But the most important thing is they feel that that money is going to be put to very good uses. . . . And it translates into human beings finding that there is hope in life.

KH: I was brought to GLIDE to help it evolve, to help GLIDE grow, and to really build on the legacy that Cecil and Jan have built for over 50 years.

WB: I was skeptical going in [to GLIDE the first time]. Susie told me about this wonderful organization, this wonderful man, the wonderful things they were doing and everything. But when I saw it! You know, I like backing the right people.

KH: At GLIDE, we know we couldn’t do this auction without eBay. They’ve got an ethos and a commitment to philanthropy. They’ve been an incredible partner.

WB: Well, it’s been so successful. We were raising $25,000 a year by talking to just a few people. And as soon as we went on eBay, we essentially were talking to the whole world. Now we raise in the millions every year.

KH: The winners and eBay, they’re investing in GLIDE’s legacy. We spend money on the people. And everyone has our clients at the front of their minds.

WB: I talked to a couple of the top executives at eBay over the years and they feel really, really good about their participation through GLIDE. There’s nothing like backing winners, and helping people become winners.

 

 

Watch the full interview. 

Building social justice mindsets in law enforcement communities

With the arrival of Rabbi Michael Lezak last year, GLIDE’s Center for Social Justice (CSJ) has been able to expand and deepen the ways we emphasize truth and reconciliation in our efforts around advocacy, staff development, and community building. In April, CSJ welcomed police departments and district attorneys’ offices from around the western United States for our first “An Officer and a Mensch” training. This curriculum seeks to instill greater understanding and care between law enforcement and the people of historically oppressed communities like the Tenderloin.

Rabbi Michael leads the initiative in partnership with Chief Matt Carmichael from the University of Oregon Police Department, and Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig.

“I look at GLIDE as a lifeboat in a sea of need,” says Matt. “It’s a simple idea, to come where the need is and teach our criminal justice professionals that to be a good leader you have to know your community and who you serve. What better way to learn who you serve than spending time at GLIDE.”

Matt and Jeff along with about 25 law enforcement professionals spent three days at GLIDE, discussing everything from racism in the criminal justice system to the causes of the opioid crisis to what truly compassionate human interactions should look like. They also volunteered as a group in our Meals Program and met with GLIDE staff from across the organization to learn about our values-based approach towards serving our Tenderloin community.

“The vision was to create an opportunity to change the paradigm, to bring law enforcement leaders into this experience of opening our minds and broadening our perspectives, even if it’s just a little bit, to a different way of approaching the issues that affect us all: homelessness, poverty, addiction, mental illness,” says Jeff. “The goal and the prayer is for law enforcement leaders to develop more hope, more understanding and maybe change the way we do the job a little bit.”

GLIDE Senior Director of Programs Kyriell Noon speaking to the group about GLIDE services and community engagement. Photo credit: Alain McLaughlin

The training left a positive and lasting impression on the participants, so much so that Rabbi Michael and GLIDE are already prepared to welcome another group after Thanksgiving this year. Michael, along with Director of the CSJ Miguel Bustos, are in the process of refining the curriculum and in conversation with various law enforcement professionals about instituting it as part of the core training for officers in departments across the west coast.

“This partnership at GLIDE is the only one of its kind in the country,” says Matt. “What’s wonderful about what you did for us is that it’s a re-connection, a reminder of our responsibility to leave no one behind. We have to serve everyone.”

Chief Matt Carmichael speaking during the final session of the training. Photo credit: Alain McLaughlin

 

Iona Lewis is a Case Manager with GLIDE’s Men in Progress program. Thanks to her father, Iona has been a part of the GLIDE community her entire life. Now, she and her husband Raphael are both employees here and their son, Carlo, attends GLIDE’s Family, Youth and Childcare Center (FYCC) during the day. Iona and Raphael were part of the GLIDE contingent to the opening of the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, in April.

In the following lightly edited excerpts from a recent conversation, Iona shares some memories of her father and growing up near GLIDE. With this offering from Iona, we wish everyone everywhere a loving Father’s Day weekend. 
Continue reading “A Father’s Gift”

Karen Hanrahan on Warren Buffett, a unique GLIDE tradition, and the power of community

Tonight, we count down to one of the most unusual and powerful fundraisers any nonprofit might aspire to: the eBay for Charity Auction for Power Lunch with Warren Buffett. The story of how it came to be is often told and dear to us, since it starts with a much loved and missed member of GLIDE’s congregation and community named Susie Buffett, who took it upon herself to introduce a certain relation named Warren to the place that she had come to believe in so passionately. Her introduction worked. To the no-nonsense investor whose success has made him a household name, GLIDE was the real deal. And he has lent his name and time to the cause ever since. We asked GLIDE’s President and CEO Karen Hanrahan for her perspective on this singular tradition.
Continue reading “Pulling Together”

GLIDE’s Karen Hanrahan reflects on the power and promise of women and girls

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I’d like to ask you what drives your own connection to GLIDE’s efforts on behalf of women and girls in the Tenderloin and beyond? Well, firstly, I was raised by a single mother, a strong woman and a role model who raised three children by herself and worked very hard to do that. I watched how hard it was in the 1970s to get divorced, to build a life that would take care of her children. Women of her generation had to break a lot of barriers.

When we talk about injustice, about inequality, what I have seen is that women and girls are still viewed as having less value. That was the case when I began working on human rights issues, and it continues to be the case in many places around the world. That for me was a calling, addressing this injustice and inequality. At the same time, I have had the extraordinary opportunity to form very close relationships with girls and young women in places from Afghanistan to Africa to the Middle East, and I have seen how courageous these girls and women can be—particularly if they are standing up for something they know they can be put in jail for or can bring great risk to them. But women and girls who make very courageous and positive changes in their community—it’s where real change can happen.

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Karen with a group of children from GLIDE’s Family, Youth and Childcare Center.

 

What’s the significance of International Women’s Day for you?
It reminds me of the power of women for positive change, in the U.S. and globally. We’ve learned, for example, that when you put money directly in the hands of women, their children live longer, their households do better, their communities do better. When women are in power in government, they tend to be agents for peace, rather than violent conflict. It’s a reminder of the power of women to make the world a better place. At the same time, the fact that we have only the one day is a reminder of how far we have to go. There are still too few women in senior positions in government, in the private sector, even in the public sector. There remain high levels of inequality. Women have the highest risk of being impoverished in the United States, actually. So we have a long way to go.

“… We all come into the world wanting dignity, respect and equality. I’ve seen incredible women, including young women and girls, pushing the boundaries of their circumstances, and pushing against the forces that are keeping them out of school or out of politics or forcing them into child marriages.”

 

When you look at the challenges facing women and girls in the Tenderloin, do you see things that are similar to those you saw in other parts of the world?
A lot of people think the United States has made a lot more progress than most other countries, that it’s some sort of beacon of equality for women. But the #MeToo movement has shown just how common and deep the discrimination and abuse faced by women here really is. It happens everywhere around the world. Again, it comes from a lack of valuing women for who they are, turning them instead into these objects over which men will try to exercise some kind of power.

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GLIDE Meals Navigator Pamela Brown helped prepare special gifts for our woman-identifying guests on International Women’s Day.

 

The Tenderloin has reminded me of certain cities I’ve been in around the world because of the state of poverty and homelessness in San Francisco, but also because of the dramatic differences in wealth. One of the fastest growing groups among the most marginalized are women and particularly women of color. So that combination [of growing inequality and a disproportionate impact on women of color] is happening here and on a global level.
There’s another great common denominator among girls and women: We all come into the world wanting dignity, respect and equality. I’ve seen incredible women, including young women and girls, pushing the boundaries of their circumstances, and pushing against the forces that are keeping them out of school or out of politics or forcing them into child marriages. I think it comes down to that common human factor, wanting to be free and to have dignity.

“Overall, one of my objectives is to help GLIDE be a better place for women, as well as to grow our capacity to work with families.”

 

What about GLIDE’s work do you think is the most hopeful and relevant to women and girls today?
I can say that generally GLIDE provides a place for everyone, and welcomes everyone no matter their circumstances and treats them with dignity and respect. But in all honesty I also see that women don’t always feel comfortable in a very male-dominated space, in terms of coming in that front door. I’ve talked to women in the Women’s Center about this, for example. One of the places I want to push us to improve is in ensuring that GLIDE is a friendlier place for women and girls, and provides them with a supportive environment. Their needs are sometimes similar but also often quite different from the men. So this is part of what I want to do at GLIDE.

And from a practical perspective, investing in women and girls and families in the U.S. is one of the smartest investments we can make because it’s one of the best ways to actually break cycles of poverty or prevent poverty in the first place.

So one of my objectives is to grow our capacity to work with families. We do already provide a wonderful environment in our Family, Youth and Childcare Center to support families and to provide early childhood education. That support allows women to continue their own educations and to remain employed. I don’t think everyone truly understands the value of a safe, high-quality place for families to put their children. It means women in particular can get onto a more sustainable path out of poverty—and we’re really going to grow that work.

———-

Karen Hanrahan is the President and CEO of GLIDE. She has 20 years of experience advancing human rights and building high-impact global initiatives around the world, most recently as a senior appointee in the Obama administration, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. In a variety of roles throughout her life and career, including as a United Nations aid worker and the chief program officer for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Karen has brought creativity and innovation to intractable challenges in economic development, global health and international human rights.

Rev. Dr. Jay Williams on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the “Urgency of Now”

This weekend San Francisco, the Bay Area and the country will honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through acts of solidarity, resistance and celebration. We sat down with GLIDE’s Lead Pastor Rev. Dr. Jay Williams to talk about this weekend’s events as well as their significance for our moment.
Continue reading “"We Will Get There"”

A message from GLIDE’s Pastoral Team

A wave of cruelty is sweeping over our country.
On Tuesday the Trump Administration moved to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the immigration policy that gave “Dreamers” a fairer chance to thrive in the United States. Rightly, DACA made undocumented minors eligible for work visas and offered safety from deportation.
Continue reading “Defend DACA: A Call to Action”

A Statement from GLIDE Leadership

GLIDE stands with the 800,000 DACA Dreamers who are our neighbors, friends, colleagues, loved ones and fellow Americans, including the more than 220,000 throughout California and here in the Bay Area.
Continue reading “GLIDE Stands with All Immigrants”

Introducing GLIDE’s new President and CEO, Karen Hanrahan

After a nationwide search lasting more than a year, GLIDE is thrilled to welcome Karen Hanrahan as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. This is a new position, created last  year by GLIDE’s Board of Trustees as part of a carefully managed transition plan. The intention throughout has been to ensure that GLIDE retains the dynamic leadership necessary to carry its social justice mission forward, as Co-Founders Rev. Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani move to part-time positions, having guided and grown GLIDE with phenomenal success and impact for over five decades.
Continue reading “Dynamic Leadership Team Complete!”