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News Briefs: Help decorate the Tree of Hope

by Cynthia Laird

The Rainbow World Fund is seeking volunteers to help decorate its World Tree of Hope ahead of the lighting ceremony next month.

The 12th annual holiday display, which is at San Francisco City Hall, promotes global unity. The tree is unique in that it is decorated with thousands of origami cranes and stars that contain messages for peace and the future of the world. RWF is an LGBT-led humanitarian group that partners with other agencies to provide financial relief during natural disasters and other services. It has donated over $4.4 million in humanitarian aid over the years.

Interested people can volunteer on the following days: Sunday, November 26 through Tuesday, November 28 and Thursday, November 30, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Wednesday, November 29 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

RWF officials said that they can accommodate individuals and groups. To volunteer people must register at

The tree lighting ceremony will be held Monday, December 4, from 6 to 8 p.m. at City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Way. Entertainment will include the Grammy-winning San Francisco Boys Chorus, emcees Cheryl Jennings and Bay Area Reporter society columnist Donna Sachet, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who will bless the tree. Mayor Ed Lee is scheduled to attend. The event is free.

People can also send RWF a wish that will be turned into an origami crane. To do that, visit

Oakland LGBT center to hold Thanksgiving gathering
The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center will be open on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, for people who don't want to be alone on the holiday.

The center has partnered with Bishop Yvette Flunder's City of Refuge UCC Church and its Word of Mouth Pantry, which will provide food for the gathering.

"The holidays can be a depressing time, especially for many LGBTQ people," center Executive Director Joe Hawkins said in an email announcement. "So many of us have been disowned by our families, kicked out of our homes, shunned and criticized because we are LGBTQ."

He added that many people also "carry the weight and stigma of 'church hurt,' particularly during the holidays."

Hawkins said that in addition to food, there will be games, music, and movies.

The festivities take place from 1 to 9 p.m., with food served between 2 and 5. The center is located at 3207 Lakeshore Avenue (enter on Rand Avenue).

For more information, visit

SleepOut to raise funds for homeless youth
Local executives from tech companies and others will bring their sleeping bags and sleep on the street in solidarity with the homeless youth of Oakland during Covenant House California's SleepOut Friday, November 17. The leaders will also raise funds for the program, which has 40 beds for homeless youth, including those who identify as LGBTQ. It also operates the YEAH Shelter in Berkeley and Dreamcatcher, a program based in Oakland.

So far, more than $62,000 of Covenant House Oakland's $150,000 goal has been raised, according to the website. There will be a similar event at the organization's Hollywood location.
People will start meeting at 7 p.m. Friday and the sleepover ends Saturday at 7 a.m. Covenant House is located at 200 Harrison Street. For more information about participating, or to donate, visit

Benefit for trans archive
The Louise Lawrence Transgender Archive will hold its Finishing Touches Benefit Thursday, November 30, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the GLBT History Museum, 4127 18th Street in San Francisco.

The archive, which is housed in Vallejo, was started in January when Ms. Bob Davis launched an campaign to enable her to sort and preserve the collection, which consists of 70 cartons of materials.

Davis is a transgender woman and longtime instructor in the music department at City College of San Francisco.

In an interview earlier this year, she said that the goal of the Louise Lawrence Transgender Archive, or LLTA, is to "increase the understanding of transgender people and encourage new scholarship by making historical materials available to students, scholars, and the public."

The archive is named in honor of northern California transgender pioneer Louise Lawrence, who began living full-time as a woman in 1942, first in Berkeley and then San Francisco. She, along with Virginia Prince and others, published the first incarnation of Transvestia in 1952. Lawrence's address book was the initial subscription list and she was instrumental in developing the trans community's connection to pioneering sex researchers such as Alfred Kinsey and Harry Benjamin, according to Davis.

The fundraiser will feature performances by trans songwriter Shawna Virago, Thrillpeddlers mainstay Birdie-Bob Watt, and the keyboard stylings of Joshua Raoul Brody. Davis will present highlights from the LLTA's collection. Dr. Carol Queen, co-founder of the Center for Sex and Culture, will emcee.

A $20 donation (sliding scale) is requested.

The LLTA is under the fiscal sponsorship of the GLBT Historical Society. All donations are tax deductible.

For more information, visit the Facebook page at

Tenderloin Museum to screen movie
The Tenderloin Museum will present its debut screening of "Even In Darkness" (2016), Thursday, November 30. The film is a new documentary by James Hosking ("Beautiful By Night") that follows San Francisco night minister the Reverend Lyle Beckman, as he walks the streets of the Tenderloin providing emotional support at a time when many need it the most, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. The film will be screened alongside "Shepherd of the Streets" (1966), a KRON-TV Assignment Four report that offers a rare look at the pioneering work of San Francisco's first night minister, the Reverend Donald E. Stuart. Hosking will be present for a panel discussion along with Beckman, former night minister the Reverend Don Fox, and other community leaders.

The event is at the museum, 398 Eddy Street in San Francisco. A reception takes place at 6:30 p.m., followed by the screening at 7. Admission is $10.

Space is limited. To register, visit

GRGR Foundation distributes $211K
The Grass Roots Gay Rights Foundation has concluded its 2017 fundraising season and recently distributed $211,500 to its benefitting organizations.

Those agencies receiving funds are: Positive Resource Center, which assists people affected by or at risk for HIV/AIDS through counseling, education, training and advocacy; St. James Infirmary, which provides free nonjudgmental health care and social services for sex workers of all genders and sexual orientations; and Maitri, which provides residential care to men and women in need of hospice.

Other agencies receiving funds are the Southern Poverty Law Center, a national organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry; Dolores Street Community Services, which provides housing and shelter and other services for people living with HIV/AIDS, immigrants, and day laborers; and LGBTQ Connection, which fosters a more inclusive community in the rural and suburban north Bay Area.

GRGR raised the money through its Real Bad party that follows the Folsom Street Fair and the REACH T-Dance party during San Francisco Pride.
For more information, visit

Horizons hires new CFO
Horizons Foundation, the Bay Area's LGBTQ community foundation, has hired John Marvuglio as its new chief financial officer.

Marvuglio, a gay man, previously worked at Community Gatepath, a Redwood City nonprofit that serves people with developmental disabilities. He replaces Liz Hoadley, who retired after nine years of service.

"John provides exactly the qualifications we were seeking in a new CFO," Roger Doughty, Horizons president, said in a news release. "Horizons is at an extraordinary moment of growth and opportunity, having awarded more than $3 million in grants to organizations last year and launching the second phase of a $100 million campaign that will protect our vibrant community, both now and forever."

Marvuglio, 63, has more than 30 years of experience as a California certified public accountant. He helped guide Community Gatepath through steep downturns in state funding and developed streamlined systems and accounting models to bring efficiency and transparency across all departments of the organization.

"Through my experience at Community Gatepath, I appreciate the value that one organization can provide to the community," Marvuglio stated in the release. "I am very interested in working at Horizons Foundation because I can see the wide-reaching impact that it has, not only on the local community, but to society at large."


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