Grass Roots Gay Rights Foundation Mission:

“The Grass Roots Gay Rights Foundation changes lives by supporting organizations that promote a happy, healthy and connected Bay Area LGBTQ community.”
“Grass Roots” refers to how the Foundation raises resources, which is primarily from the work of volunteers who organize our events and from our Circle of Friends who host, buy tickets and attend our events. Grass Roots also refer to what we look for in our beneficiaries, meaning the ability to create measurable local positive social impact for the diverse populations that make up San Francisco’s LGBTQ community. We celebrate and support a diverse range of beneficiaries that represent the wide range of people and issues in the Bay Area’s LGBTQ community. This includes beneficiaries that serve several populations, sustain any single distinct group, or focus on important issues that affect these diverse populations.

Today, as the Grass Roots Gay Rights Foundation, our board, working group, hosts and members work year-round to create world-class events that dazzle our guests and raise significant grant funds to support Bay Area organizations that create a happy, healthy and connected LGBTQ communities.

Board of Directors

Alex has spent his career investing in and successfully growing entrepreneurial for-profit and non-profit organizations that seek to drive financial and/or social impact… Read more ↓

Alex currently serves as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships & Communications at Tides, a global philanthropic partner and nonprofit accelerator that facilitates effective grantmaking and impact investing for individual and institutional donors and also provides infrastructure and nonprofit management services to hundreds of nonprofit organizations nationwide. Alex leads Tides marketing, communications and new client development efforts and serves on Tides’ Executive Team.Alex was previously Director of Innovation Investments and Portfolio Director at the Skoll Foundation. Alex also serves as founding Chairman and President of Excelerate Foundation and its predecessor non-profit organization, a role that he has held for over 25 years. Excelerate supports innovative non-profit organizations that drive positive change in the areas of social entrepreneurship, health, the environment and community development. Alex spent 18 years as senior investment professional at several leading venture capital firms.

Billy joins the board this year as the Events Committee Chair… Read more ↓

and he is very excited for REAL BAD XXXI. He had been a host at REAL BAD for over 10 years and been involved with the Events Committee for five years. During his five years of involvement, he was part of marketing, communications, host and leading the production for REAL BAD XXIX. Billy loves to travel whenever he can. He finds it very inspirational to visit other countries to immerse into their culture, food, art and music; especially attending music events.

Dave is our board President. Originally pulled to the Bay Area during the great internet gold rush of the ‘90s, Dave quickly established himself in the vibrant and diverse San Francisco community that he…” Read more ↓

would soon call home. Dave joined the working group for REAL BAD XV. He served in several roles in the production of the Party, including the Event Chair for REAL BAD XVII. Dave joined the board of the Foundation in 2010. Dave is the Customer Success Manager at cloud solutions company He and his husband, working group member Daniel Sonnenfeld, love to travel and do so as much as budget & vacation time allow. Recently he has become very involved at San Francisco’s Public Glass, where he is an artist.‬

Gina moved from Rhode Island to San Francisco in 1983 and lived with her older brother who tended bar at the legendary Trocadero Transfer. She would grow up… Read more ↓

quickly in the next decade as she lost half of her newfound family, primarily gay men, to the AIDS pandemic. Throughout the ‘90s Gina poured her energies into expanding the Damron titles as owner and publisher of the popular LGBT travel guides since 1989. After being asked to co-chair the 1998 World AIDS Day at the National AIDS Memorial Grove, she joined their Board in 1999, serving as secretary for 4 years and and Board co-chair from 2009-2012. Gina has followed DJs and circuit parties around the world for over two decades and has attended all but three Real Bad parties.‬

Philip joined the board of the Foundation in 2018 as the 2018 Events Committee Chair… Read more ↓

and has now been added as a permanent member. He has been part of the REAL BAD Events Committee for six years, including leading production, marketing, and communications. His impact in the community additionally includes producing events with Folsom Street Events and Paradigm SF, both of which benefit local non-profits. Philip is also a well-known DJ and has spun some of the best nightclubs and events in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

Scott joined the Board in 2018 after being a member of the Events Committee for the past 3 years and working on the Beyond the Grant program for the past year and a half… Read more ↓

Having attended REAL BAD since 2008, Scott wanted to get involved beyond attending the party and is excited to see what the future holds.

Upon moving to San Francisco, he quickly became involved in the community, becoming a Shanti practical support volunteer and canvassing the streets… Read more ↓

for candidates in local races. He
and his partner David are currently in their 17th year as hosts for Real Bad. He has been active in
the dance music scene since 2000, working as a volunteer Webmaster for Noble Beast
Productions, which produced the amazing ReUnion at City Hall events at San Francisco City Hall.
Vittorio has spent his entire career in various technology leadership roles and is now manages a
team of Agile coaches for a financial institution in San Francisco. He has a BA in Computer
Applications and Economics from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA in Finance from
San Francisco State University.
As a member of the GRGRF, he is proud to be part of a group that has done so much good in
the community for the past 30 years and looks forward to working with the rest of the board on
its mission to continue doing good for the community.

Events Committee

2019 Events Chair
Billy Ho

Our Legacy

The legend lives on…
thiry years
and beyond…

The tradition of the Circle of Friends began in 1989 when a group of friends came together to host a celebration of life. Though the first REAL BAD dance event was small, those who attended knew the event was special and that it would continue for years to come.

In the early 90s, many event organizers in the LGBTQ community focused primary on raising money for AIDS- and HIV-related organizations. The organizers of REAL BAD, however, wanted to emulate an East Coast organization with a broader focus—Grass Roots Gay Rights Fund (GRGRF). The goal of that organization was to support groups defending LGBTQ rights and working for policy change. Inspired by GRGRF, Grass Roots Gay Rights West (GRGR/West) was founded in 1991 to pursue similar goals in the Bay Area through the REAL BAD party.

Initially, the organizers chose a different beneficiary each year, and they selected organizations dedicated to the advancement of LGBTQ civil rights. The beneficiaries received grants from the event proceeds, and many nationally recognized non-profits were recipients. Over time, the success of REAL BAD allowed for a second organization to receive funding from the event proceeds each year.

Now some 30 years later, REAL BAD has become the preeminent dance event of the Folsom Street Fair weekend with over 2000 men and women dancing the night away and generating funds to support many valued service organizations that serve the Bay Area LGBTQ community.

The REAL BAD event operating and production costs are covered by the event sponsors, in-kind donations, and funds from host registrations. This approach allows 100 percent of general admission ticket sales to go directly to the beneficiaries.

For a complete history of the evolution of the REAL BAD party, please click here.

In more recent years, the Foundation has branched out to present other fundraising dance events during the year including RITUAL over Dore Alley weekend. These events generate additional funds that go to our beneficiaries. The Foundation is also pleased to work closely with organizers of and support the beneficiaries of Flagging in the Park a premier outdoor flow-arts fundraising event held monthly between May and October in the National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

And most importantly, over the last 30 years, we have raised and granted to charitable organizations over $3 million!



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