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At Ritter Center’s Under The Stars benefit (from left): Kathleen Tam, senior director of Clinical Quality Assurance at Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical; Elaine Eborall, senior vice president of Quality and Compliance at Ultragenyx; Jean-Louis Van Heusden; Lisa Helton, vice president, Program and Portfolio Management at Ultragenyx; Mark Shotwell, CEO of Ritter Center; and Ernie Meyer, executive vice president, chief human resources officer at Ultragenyx. Photo courtesy of Ritter Center

Ritter Center held its fourth annual Under The Stars Dare To Dream fundraiser on May 16 at the Elks Lodge in San Rafael. This evening was a celebration of community support and resilience and raised more than $160,000 in support of Ritter Center services and programs.

Attendees enjoyed a seated dinner catered
by Big Jim’s BBQ, accompanied by live music courtesy of the S&S Jazz Band. The evening featured lawn games, a live auction and a fund-a-need segment to raise funds for Ritter Center’s wrap-around services and programs. An anonymous donor pledged to match all donations up to $25,000, doubling the impact of contributions.

“We are deeply grateful to all our speakers, honorees, sponsors and supporters for their unwavering commitment to our cause,” said Ritter Center CEO Mark Shotwell. “Their dedication and generosity enable Ritter Center to continue providing vital services to individuals and families with low incomes and people experiencing homelessness, empowering them to rebuild their lives and realize their dreams.”

Highlighting the event was the presentation of a series of awards. The 2024 Corporate Impact Award was given to Ultragenyx, in recognition of their commitment to bolstering Ritter Center’s ability to serve the community.

Lynn Murphy, mental health outreach provider at the San Rafael Police Department, received the Community Champion award for her advocacy and dedication to serving individuals experiencing homelessness as a point of connection to access needed services — as opposed to traditional criminal justice interventions.

Ira Potovsky was recognized as the Outstanding Volunteer Honoree for his decades-long commitment to bringing joy and support to those in need, particularly through his involvement with Ritter Center’s holiday programs.

Sandra McMillion was the recipient of the Hope and Healing Honoree award, in recognition of her journey from experiencing homelessness
to becoming a beacon of hope and healing within the community.

David Guggenhime received the Spirit of Giving Award for his outstanding “Sleep Out” community challenge fundraising campaign that secured the top spot for two consecutive years. By sacrificing the comforts of his own bed for one night, Guggenhime, along with two of his grandchildren, raised crucial funds and awareness about homelessness in Marin.

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