5th March, 2010

Dinner Gala

On Friday, March 5th, the San Francisco American Ireland Fund party of the year was held at the St. Francis Hotel. Almost 600 dinner guests showed up in exuberant form to celebrate with Joanne Hayes-White, recipient of the 2010 AIF Distinguished Leadership Award. The San Francisco Fire Chief was the honoree at this annual Gala event, with Meagan Levitan and Kathleen Dowling McDonough as the sparkling Dinner Chairs, along with highly-regarded Honorary Chair Richard Dunn. It was a night of joyful celebration, recongnizing one of San Francisco's finest Irish-Americans.

Joanne was surrounded by family including her three boys, Riley, Logan and Sean, along with her mom, Pat Hayes and three siblings, as well as a big crowd of Irish-American friends and colleagues from all over San Francisco. AIF Board Directors Bart Murphy and his wife Eileen, Pauline Ryan and husband John, Craig Sullivan and his wife Maureen and Bill Walsh and his wife Carol attended with a large group of friends. Once again, Patrick Meade of Bonham’s was the auctioneer extraordinaire. Among the crowd were Consul-General Gerry Staunton, and Vice-Consul Barry O'Brien. Also present were AIF Dinner Committee members Sophie Breall, Dianne Easton, Kathy Grogan, Victor Makras, Denise la Pointe & Eamon Murphy, Victor Makras, Greg Murphy (Alliance Bernstein), Rita O'Hara, John Ring, Kathleen Ryan, and Mary & Joe Toboni.

EJ Tracy and the Tracy family were out in force with 32 guests! These included daughters Kilian and Cynthia Tracy and Tim Engvall of Tracy Industries. Sonja & Kevin O’Brien, Michael Kenny & Sally Ann Flood, and Helen Wilmot & Greg Davidson joined in the festivities along with a fun group of guests from the San Francisco Giants, the San Francisco 49ers and Leadership San Francisco.

Special thanks go to the Irish organizations that supported the Dinner including Invest Northern Ireland, The Irish Technology Leadership Group, IDA Ireland, and Enterprise Ireland. Special thanks also to Chevron Corporation, Alliance Bernstein, URS Corporation, Bank of America, Mercy High School, St. Ignatius High School, COBRA, Residential Builders' Association, Local Union #16, Lennar Communities, and the ever-generous Diane Wilsey for their terrific support.

AIF Distinguished Leadership Award
During the program, Joanne Hayes-White accepted the Award and paid special tribute to her family, especially her late father Tom Hayes, and her esteemed colleagues. The presentation to Ms. Hayes-White was made by Kieran McLoughlin, President and CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds.

It was a warm and happy gathering of the clan with sweet singing by the Celtic Voices Children's Choir from the Irish Pastoral Center, spectacular Irish dancing provided by the Moore School of Irish Dance, and a rocking dance floor thanks to David Martin’s House Party.

Cheers to Joanne Hayes-White and heartiest thanks to our generous supporters for making this a fabulous fun evening.

Important sponsors of the
auction included:
Aer Lingus
Ashford Castle
Dromoland Castle
The Merrion Hotel
The Villagio in Napa
Cask in San Francisco
Cinta Hair Studio
St. Francis Hotel.