There are so many wonderful charitable organizations in San Francisco, it’s hard to say one has a favorite, but at the top of my list is Raphael House.
It was founded in 1971 as the first homeless shelter for families in the city, and so far they’ve helped more than 10,000 children and their parents. What I love about them is they don’t just provide shelter (which is, of course, so vital), but they try to take an active role in transitioning homeless families back into full-time housing of their own. They try to create stability in addition to shelter.
They are funded privately, through individual and corporate donations, foundations, special events, and so on. The people who support them are always working to come up with new ways to help, and one of the most recent is something that Sophie Azouaou has put together that I think is great.
Sophie, as you probably know, is the glamorous interior designer who owns Sophisticate Interiors, one of the leading design firms in the Bay Area, and she has recently been working pro bono on a project to give part of Raphael House a make over (get it — she’s an interior designer, it’s a house, a perfect combo.)
The make over consists of a new basketball court in the after school building, a complete redo of the teen room, as well as furnishings and accessories for the Residential Shelter Program.
When I checked in with her earlier this month, she had been able to get “two generous grants” from the Fremont Bank Foundation, Babcock & Brown, furniture donations from the San Francisco Mart, and she had donated furniture through her own firm. The ribbon cutting and final unveiling is expected in early September, and I can’t wait to see it. ABC’s “View From the Bay” is even going to do an episode on the “Before and After”.
Obviously San Francisco’s homeless problem isn’t going to be solved singlehandedly by Raphael House or projects like this — but what supporters like Sophie are doing is showing that individuals can use their special talents (in her case, design) to benefit people in unique, creative ways.
SFluxe would love to showcase how others are using their expertise to improve the lives of people in the community — feel free to share info on your projects by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org