Notes & Words raises $1.5 million for UCSF Benioff Children’s hospitals

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - March 25 - Laura Clydesdale and Melissa Williams attend UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals Notes & Words on March 25th 2023 at Fox Theater @ 1807 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612 US in San Francisco, CA (Photo - Drew Altizer)

On Saturday, March 25, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals held their 14th annual “Notes & Words” benefit at Oakland’s historic Fox Theater, raising $1.5 million to support children’s health.

“Notes & Words” was headlined by Grammy Award-winning musician Alanis Morissette, hosted by legendary rock journalist Ben Fong-Torres, and featured additional electrifying musical performances by Tulani, YOYOKA, Oakland School for the Arts, and Oakland’s CO-LLAB Choir. Bestselling authors James McBride and Leila Mottley engaged the audience with poignant readings.

The evening began with “Bubbles & Banter” – an intimate, behind-the-scenes conversation between Ben Fong-Torres and Alanis Morissette – in the Atrium at the Uptown Station building on Telegraph Avenue. A VIP reception featuring delectable eats and distinctive cocktails immediately followed. Over 1,400 then filled the historic Fox Theater to enjoy a one-of-a-kind show that included unforgettable musical sets, powerful readings, and inspiring videos capturing how, from integrative to innovative careUCSF is moving medicine forward for all kids. A VIP after-party at the Atrium included desserts, cocktails, silent disco, and more.  

Cynthia Barginere, Vanessa Stacks, Erin Hickey, and Ted Blackburn (Photo – Dave Zahrobsky for Drew Altizer Photography)

Notable attendees included Shahan & Camilla Soghikian, Laura & Thomas Clydesdale, Kristina & Chris Smith, Melissa Williams, Nancy Rothman & Lou Lavigne, Melinda & Rick Reed, Diane Dietz, Eileen & Chris Kwei, Samantha & Marc Furstein, Anne & Robert Pedrero, Laura & Gregg Perloff, Tamara WhiteUCSF Health President & CEO Suresh Gunasekaran and UCSF Vice Chancellor Erin Hickey.

Suzie Inadomi, Dawn Riordan, and Tram Kumamoto attend UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals Notes & Words on March 25, 2023 (Photo – Drew Altizer)

Founded in 2010, “Notes & Words” has raised over $16 million for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals since its inception. Past performers have included musicians Chris Martin, Dave Grohl, Beck, Brittney Howard, Daveed Diggs and authors including Michael Lewis, Andrew Sean Greer, Jim Gaffigan, Anna Quindlen, and Margaret Atwood.

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals is renowned for providing the highest quality care across a wide range of specialties and is the top hospital for pediatric cancer care in Northern California. For more than a century, this leadership has redefined what is possible in pediatric medicine. For patients’ loved ones, this approach and these accomplishments make UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals a beacon of hope – a place where countless families have learned that if it can be done, it can be done there.

In addition to outstanding clinical care, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals addresses the patient’s developmental and emotional needs by providing programs like music therapy, art classes, therapy dog visits, massage, and much more. It also helps ensure the health of the community, advocating for vulnerable children living in at-risk situations and providing early interventions for kids facing challenges like asthma, obesity, and diabetes.

Because insurance only covers a fraction of the cost for medical expenses, the hospital depends on philanthropic support to help transform children’s lives. Through events like “Notes & Words” and the generous philanthropic spirit of the community, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals can stand as leaders in pediatric health care. Whether using virtual reality to transform pediatric care or harnessing genomics as the next wave of childhood cancer treatment, the future promises to inspire.

More information about “Notes & Words” can be found at

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