Powered by Hope: GLIDE Comes Together in Holiday Celebration

The heart and soul of San Francisco turned out for GLIDE on the evening of November 17. The 2022 GLIDE Annual Holiday Jam: Powered by Hope brought more than 800 supporters and community members to The Masonic to hear a roof-raising musical line-up headlined by original funksters The Family Stone and punctuated with a surprise performance by legendary folk singer-songwriter Joan Baez.  

Exceeding its goal, the event raised more than $1.2 million for GLIDE’s work to help people off the streets and out of poverty, advance racial and social equity, and build empathy to enact systems change across San Francisco. 

“It can be hard to see the brokenness on the streets of San Francisco,” said GLIDE President and CEO Karen Hanrahan during a heartfelt speech. “But it’s in these darkest spaces where the light can shine the brightest: the power of hope, resilience and redemption…. At GLIDE, hope translates into a special place and special community connected by the highest energy. It is why we are here together tonight in this room, and it’s the powerful example put forth by GLIDE’s founders, Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani.” 

That connecting energy was in abundant display during the holiday jam as audience members were inspired to get out of their seats and dance. In addition to the impromptu appearance by Joan Baez, a longtime GLIDE supporter, and the rousing final set by The Family Stone, the program featured powerhouse vocalist and activist Jenn Johns, Oakland’s own HipHop artist and producer Kev Choice, and the stirring GLIDE Ensemble and Change Band under the direction of Vernon Bush. 

Priya David Clemens, the host of KQED Newsroom, served as mistress of ceremonies for an evening whose surprises also included a visit from former mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. 

Hanrahan’s remarks included special praise for GLIDE’s frontline staff who, she said, “are hopeful because they know that progress is possible, often because they themselves have transformed their own lives from living on the streets or being challenged by addiction or violence or trauma to now helping others change their lives.”  

The evening’s program included a video featuring GLIDE community safety monitor Iris Butler. Once homeless, Butler now keeps watch over the GLIDE community and has saved countless lives in the Tenderloin by taking quick overdose prevention measures.

Funds raised at Powered by Hope will support GLIDE’s comprehensive services, ranging from overdose prevention to COVID-19, flu, and monkeypox vaccination to free meals. In fiscal year 2021-22, GLIDE served over 530,000 meals to the community. Its new mobile services—including pop-up resource hubs—will extend GLIDE’s reach and impact across the city to under-resourced communities, including South of Market (SOMA), Potrero Hill and Bayview Hunters Point.  

Stepping on to the stage after Hanrahan’s speech, Reverend Williams observed, “We have a group of folks here at GLIDE who really love the work and bring people together… we will always know that the world is a better place because of what we’ve done.”