Shanti Celebrates 40 Years Serving The Community With Annual Compassion Is Universal Benefit On October 18th, 2014

San Francisco- On Monday, August 4 th , 2014, Shanti Project hosted a launch reception at the Fairmont Penthouse for its 40th Annual Dinner Compassion is Universal to be held on Saturday October 18 th , 2014 at the Fairmont Hotel. The reception was attended by 100 of San Francisco’s philanthropic community including sponsors’ representatives, host committee members, and notable guests including actor and activist Omar Sharif Jr. and Terminator 5 director and story artist Alan Turney and Jane Wu.

The October Dinner will celebrate the clients, volunteers, and supporters that embody the spirit of the Shanti Project’s core values: compassion, diversity, inclusiveness, and service.

In its 40th year and as the world’s first and oldest peer-support organization of its kind, Compassion is Universal will be a special evening highlighting the devotion of Shanti’s volunteers, the courage of its clients, and generosity of its supporters. The evening will draw over 600 guests from the Bay Area philanthropic community.

Presented by returning sponsor Nordstrom, the evening will begin at 6:00pm with a reception and silent auction, followed by a special opening performance by Beach Blanket Babylon, dinner, live auction, and an inspiring program honoring those in the community who best embody Shanti’s values of volunteerism and service.

We are thrilled to announce that this year’s Nancy Pelosi Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are San Francisco’s beloved Reverend Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani of Gilde Memorial Church. For over 45 years, Reverend Cecil Williams has expanded the limits of spirituality, compassion and diversity. As minister, author, social activist, lecturer, community leader and spokesperson for the poor and marginalized, Reverend Williams is respected and recognized as a national leader in the struggle for civil and human rights.

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Janice Mirikitani is recognized as a visionary, community activist, leader, poet, and editor. Mirikitani’s passion has been to create programs for women and families as they struggle with issues of substance abuse, rape, incest, domestic violence, the AIDS crisis, single parenting, childcare, health/wellness, education, and jobs development. In partnership with her husband, Reverend Cecil Williams, have achieved worldwide recognition for their groundbreaking organization.

Compassion is Universal 2014 will be co-chaired this year again by acclaimed San Francisco designer, Ken Fulk; and Bahya Oumlil-Murad, Founder and Publisher of SF Philanthropist. In addition, the Honorable Ambassador James C. Hormel and Michael P. Nguyen, who have been the heart and soul of Compassion is Universal for many years, are our Honorary Committee co-chairs, while the live auction will be led once more by Emmy winner Producer and TV Host Liam Mayclem.

Our 2014 host committee includes Heide Betz, Dan Burns, Aubrey Brewster, Mark Calvano, Jamison De Trolio, Joel Goodrich, Ted Hannig, Tom Horn, Daru Kawalkowski, Barbara Klein, Carolyn Lee, Liam Mayclem, Alan Morrell, Rev. David Pace, Janet & Clint Reilly, John Rosin, Donna Sachet, Dede Wilsey, Doug Waggener, and Brenda Zarate.

This year’s Compassion is Universal will be the biggest yet! Thanks to generous sponsors, including Kaiser Permanente, Wells Fargo, Dr. Micki Klearman, Ambassador Hormel & Michael Nguyen, California Pacific Medical Center, and the Bob Ross Foundation, 100% of all tickets and auction sales will benefit people battling HIV/AIDS, Breast Cancer, and other life threatening illnesses.

Sponsorship opportunities begin at $2,250; individual tickets are $225 each. Sponsorships and tickets may be purchased online at or by calling Elenka Refsell, at (415)674-4761.

ABOUT SHANTI: Founded in 1974 by Dr. Charles Garfield at the UCSF Cancer Institute, Shanti was one of the first-ever volunteer organizations to work with terminally-ill individuals, and, later, became one of the very first community-based HIV/AIDS organizations in the world. Shanti has trained over 18,000 volunteers in the Bay Area and 600 organizations world-wide in the Shanti Model of Peer Support™, and in the Bay Area alone, Shanti volunteers have provided over 3 million hours of care-giving. Each year, Shanti serves over 2,000 people with Breast Cancer or HIV/AIDS. For so many of those clients, Shanti represents the difference between zero and one—the difference between a client having to face a life-threatening illness alone or having at least one caring presence at his or her side.