Second Annual Gala Raises $120,000

OAKLAND CA, April 3, 2014 – Super Stars Literacy, the leading provider of extended learning time intervention programming for primary grade children in under-resourced Bay Area communities, celebrated its Second Annual Gala on Saturday March 8th, 2014, at the at the Rotunda Building in Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza. Building on the success of its 2013 “Wild Rumpus” Gala, SSL once again chose a beloved children’s book, “The Little Engine That Could,” as the theme of the event. David Anderson, M.D. and Beichen Li, Mike and Patty Mowery, Carla Koren and Neal Parish, and Robin Silva served as the event’s Host Committee sponsors, and corporate sponsors included Bercovich Commercial Accounting, BlackRock, Dow Chemical, the Harper-Koren Group at Morgan Stanley, Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP, Legg Mason, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Morrison Foerster, Nuveen Investments, Prudential, and Wells Fargo.

Nearly two hundred attendees enjoyed a silent auction decorated with the Super Stars students’ train-themed artwork during a cocktail hour featuring music by The Astronauts, then descended the elegant staircase to be seated for dinner. Juliette Goodrich of KPIX-5 San Francisco, who has authored several children’s books, served as emcee. The first speaker of the evening was Darin Jensen, member of SSL’s Board of Directors, who announced that SSL Board President and founding member Carla Koren had just been awarded a Jefferson Award for her impressive volunteer service. Carla introduced the evening’s honoree, Outgoing Executive Director Mike Mowery, who likened the SSL organization to the “Little Engine” as it works to help children progress from “I Think I Can” to “I KNOW I Can!” Mike was followed by the evening’s Keynote Speaker, Delaine Eastin, former California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, who emphasized the need for investments in children’s education and called on the guests to become advocates for quality education for all of California’s schoolchildren.

Following the speakers, charity auctioneers Duke & Duke kicked off the live auction portion of the evening where guests engaged in spirited bidding for exclusive ticket packages from Bay Area sports teams, exciting vacation getaways, Napa and Sonoma wine experiences, and unique art. SSL Group Leader and AmeriCorps Service Program member Daniel Hagos introduced the “Fund a Need” Paddle Raise and told guests that his own childhood was similar to that of the Super Stars students, living in a low-income, high-crime community and having parents who could not speak English. Daniel was able to find his motivation and refuge at school and in books and became the first of his family to graduate from college. He shared that his strong motivation to serve others through his AmeriCorps placement with SSL stemmed from the great kinship he feels with the Super Stars students and his desire to give them the same opportunities he was able to access. Visibly moved by Daniel’s own story as well as the stories of his students’ struggles and successes, guests contributed over $22,000 to the Fund a Need, which was matched by a generous anonymous donor. In total, the Gala raised over $120,000 to support the organization’s literacy intervention programming. Gala Chairperson Sarah Morrison, a member of the Board of Directors, said, “It was a wonderful evening and we were honored to have Delaine Eastin give the Keynote address. She and our other inspiring speakers underlined the continued importance of our mission to provide every child the foundation for lifelong learning and achievement. We are so grateful for the generosity of our sponsors and guests whose contributions will directly benefit our students.”

To view photos of the event, please (an email will be requested). Once you have registered, select the “Shooting Stars” gallery and enter the access code “Literacy.”