Volunteering & Giving
February 12, 2015

Hospital shows it’s got heart

A local nonprofit auctions off heart sculptures to raise money for San Francisco General Hospital — and Wells Fargo contributes to the cause.

You’ll spot them throughout San Francisco — in lobbies of office buildings or on street corners.

They are 5-foot tall heart sculptures adorned with a variety of designs and materials, each designed by a different local artist. Every year, new Hearts in San Francisco “heartworks” are created.

The back story: In 2004, the San Francisco General Foundation, an independent nonprofit dedicated to raising funds for San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, was looking for creative ways to raise money. It asked local artists to create hearts for auction and dubbed the effort the Hearts in San Francisco. To help get it off the ground, Wells Fargo donated $250,000 as seed money.

That year, 131 hearts were created and sold.

Wells Fargo has purchased several hearts that can be found across San Francisco.
Wells Fargo has purchased several hearts that can be found across San Francisco.

Connie Shanahan, president of the San Francisco General Foundation Board of Directors, says, that to keep the momentum going, the Hearts in San Francisco project evolved into Heroes & Hearts — an annual luncheon that honors local heroes and unveils the latest series of heart sculptures. The luncheon was eventually expanded to include a second evening event, Hearts After Dark, geared toward the next generation of givers. Wells Fargo is a lead sponsor of both Heroes & Hearts and Hearts After Dark. In addition to the large hearts, smaller table-top and mini-hearts also are available for auction.

“The long-term support Wells Fargo has provided has been instrumental to the continued success and growth of these events,” says Connie.

San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center has been part of the community since 1857. Today, the hospital (which is affectionately called “The General”) serves more than 100,000 patients each year, and is the city’s only Level 1 trauma center.

“The hospital’s mission is to provide quality health care and trauma services with compassion and respect,” says Connie. “We’re the city’s safety net, serving the under- and uninsured. The General cares for anyone, regardless of ability to pay.”

All told, Wells Fargo has contributed $1.8 million to The General since 2000 — including $1 million for capital campaign support for the Emergency Department. Money from Wells Fargo has helped fund a housing program for HIV-positive, at-risk residents, a geriatric-friendly unit, and more.

This year, Wells Fargo volunteers assembled heart lockets that were auctioned off at the luncheon, and then attached to the heart sculpture Wells Fargo purchased. In addition, more than 120 Wells Fargo team members volunteered at both Heroes & Hearts and Hearts After Dark, and helped set up for both events by assembling gift bags and making centerpieces.

“We believe that there is a strong connection between a person’s physical health and their financial health,” says Jim Foley, president of the Bay Area region for Wells Fargo. “And we know that as a company, we are only as healthy as the communities we serve.”

All of the Wells Fargo locations that have heart sculptures.
A map of all of the Wells Fargo locations in San Francisco that have heart sculptures.