Booker T. Washington Community Center 100th Anniversary Virtual Gala

HANGOUTS CAN BE UNDERRATED – BUT AS A GATHERING place for San Franciscans, the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center is an institution. Founded in 1920 for Black World War I soldiers, the center today provides people of all ethnicities with childcare, youth programming, recording studios, a gym and community space, as well as 50 units of affordable housing (half for youth transitioning from foster care) in a 70,000-square-foot facility on Presidio Avenue. Most users come from households earning less than $15,000 a year.

Board Members Stephanie Leung, Stephanie Tomao, Farah Makras

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Danny Glover

Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis

Mayor London Breed

For its 100th Anniversary Virtual Gala, which raised $200,000, even chair Farah Makras and the center’s executive director, Regina Marsh, arranged a hybrid livestream with video tributes from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; former mayors Art Agnos and Willie Brown; Alonzo King of LINES Ballet; and Mayor London Breed who said the center steered her to the mayor’s youth employment and training employment program: “My first step on my journey that led me to where I am today.”

A performance by jazz singer Martin Luther McCoy provided uplift. Keynote speaker Danny Glover, an actor and San Francisco native, found the center a safe harbor amid the civil rights tumult of the 1960s. Community and continuity have been keys for a century. “The people who work here today have different faces,” Glover said, “but they have the same sense of purpose that existed 100 years ago.” That’s why, said Makras, “I wanted to shine a light on this state-of-the-art center and all the good work it does.”

Alisa Jones, Twana Burton, Mary Ceja, Regina Marsh, Daniel Maria, Chris Shelton, Sydney Giles, and Marquis Engler

Regina Marsh and Farah

Alisa Jones, Farah Makras, Stephanie Tomao, Twana Burton, Daniel Maria, Sydney Giles, Mr. and Mrs. Julian Davis

Christopher Shelton

Farah Makras and Stephanie Tomao