Media Release

Hi-res Photos & press Materials available at:

Press Contacts: Jeff Cotter, Executive Director (415) 608-5333 /

For Immediate Release



From World Leaders To School Children, Thousands Send Wishes Of Hope
To Decorate World’s Most Unique Holiday Tree

With Message “We Are One Human Family”

[San Francisco, CA, November 1, 2014] – Rainbow World Fund (RWF) to invites the people of the world to submit wishes to decorate the 9th annual RWF World Tree of Hope ®, a global symbol of unity and hope for a better world and a unique and inspirational feature of San Francisco’s holiday season. The RWF World Tree of Hope will be displayed in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, a new location for 2014.

The RWF World Tree of Hope is a gift to the San Francisco Bay Area and the world from the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. It is the largest annual origami decorated holiday tree in the world, decorated with over 12,000 origami cranes and stars. Each crane or star is hand folded and inscribed with wishes for the future of the world. It is created by RWF to inspire hope and to encourage people to think about what they would like for the future of the world, and then take action. The tree illustrates that while a single person’s offering is valuable, the collective effort of many possesses great power and strength. If each person would do just one small thing that is good for our world today, we will be better off tomorrow than we were yesterday.

The tree is inspired by the story of Sadako Sasaki, the child whose journey and death several years after the bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, transformed the origami crane into a symbol of world peace (please see Sadako's story below).

Designed as the world's most unique holiday tree, people worldwide can help decorate the tree by simply sharing their wish for the future. Wishes are sent in from around the world by mail and online at The wishes come from people of all
ages, all faiths and all walks of life. The wishes are then printed and folded into origami cranes by an extremely diverse team of volunteers including members of San Francisco's LGBT and Japanese American communities, survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, local children, and life-sentence prisoners from San Quentin. The origami "crane wishes" are then placed on the tree.

Submitting a wish for the tree is free and open to everyone. Wishes will be added to the tree throughout December and are accepted year round. Over three hundred people come together, donating over 2,500 hours to create the tree. Notable wishes on the tree include President Barack Obama, Dame Jane Goodall, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Arianna Huffington, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Isabel Allende, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Mariela Castro, Shirley Temple Black, Frances Moore Lappe, Danielle Steel, Patty Duke, Sharon Gless, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Phyllis Diller, Stanlee Gatti and RuPaul.

The official tree lighting ceremony and party will take place on World AIDS Day - December 1, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Special guests include San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, the Consul General of Japan Masato Watanabe, Human Rights Activist Cleve Jones, emcee Cheryl Jennings, the Grammy winning San Francisco Boys Chorus, sing Veronica Klaus and pianist Tammy Hall, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, other special guests to be announced. The ceremony is free and open to the public. Info at:

The RWF World Tree of Hope will be available for public viewing at Grace Cathedral, 1100 California Street, from November 25, 2014 to January 3, 2015. 

The RWF World Tree of Hope is made possible through the support of the many volunteers and donors including: Gays for Good, Alpha Phi Omega; University of California Berkeley and University of San Francisco chapters; the Junior League of San Francisco, the Men of Grace Cathedral. For more information, contact RWF executive director, Jeff Cotter, at (415) 608-5333 or Press information and tree photographs can be found at

About Rainbow World Fund
Rainbow World Fund’s (RWF) mission is to promote peace, unity and hope by leading the LGBT movement in participating in local and humanitarian relief efforts. Founded in 2000, RWF is the world's first and only all-volunteer, LGBT-based humanitarian aid organization. RWF works to help people affected by natural disasters, hunger, poverty, disease, oppression and war by raising awareness in, and funds from, the LGBT community to support relief efforts around the world. RWF provides a united voice, a large visible presence both in the United States and abroad, and a proven structure to deliver LGBT charitable assistance to the larger world community.

RWF currently supports projects focusing on global HIV/AIDS, water development, landmine eradication, hunger, education, orphans, and disaster relief worldwide. RWF is the first and only LBGT based humanitarian aid organization. RWF also works to raise awareness of the charitable contributions of the LGBT community, and to establish connections with non-LGBT communities. RWF programs increase LGBT visibility, serving as a platform for LGBT compassion and concern. RWF’s philosophy is that we are all “One Human Family” and that we are living in a time that tells us that our survival on this planet depends on us all giving more to each other.

RWF has donated over $4.1 million in humanitarian aid such as financial grants, food, water, medicine, medical equipment, and art and school supplies.

Sample Wishes

Wishes from the President to school children, from San Francisco to Sri Lanka, make the World Tree of Hope a powerful expression of people coming together to create better a world. See sampling of wishes at

"I wish for a world for our children more just, more fair, and more kind than the one we know now." President Barack Obama

"I dare to wish for a world in which people live in harmony with each other and with the natural world and all the wondrous animals with whom we share the planet." Dame Jane Goodall

“My wish is to live in a society where marriage equality is a reality for all & where American families are treated with respect and dignity.” Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

"My wish is for us all to stop waiting on others to right the wrongs of our time and instead turn to the leader in the mirror. It is only by tapping into our own leadership potential that we can remake the world." Arianna Huffington, Author, Syndicated Columnist and Commentator

"I wish male fashion designers would be forced to wear the stuff they create for women, like stiletto heals. And that  all politician would have to live by the rules and laws they come up with for the rest of us. Like the ones on food stamps and minimum wage." Isabel Allende, Author

"My wish is for the freedom of the Cuban 5." Mariela Castro, Director of CENESEX, Havana, Cuba

"I hope that our City can be successful in fulfilling the hopes of all of our diverse communities and exemplify a higher love of civic pride, strong neighborhoods and respect for each other." Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco

"I wish it will snow in the morning so nobody does not have to go to school for 2 weeks!"   Michael, 13, Long Island, New York

Sadako's Story and the Significance of the Origami Crane
In 1955, the origami crane became an international symbol of peace when the world learned the story of Sadako Sasaki. Ten years after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, 12 year old Sadako contracted leukemia. While in the hospital, a friend told her about a Japanese legend that the folder of a thousand paper cranes would be granted one wish. Sadako started folding but grew weaker with time. Her wish to be healed grew into a wish for peace for all the world. Sadako passed away and was 356 cranes short of her goal. Her classmates folded the rest and all 1,000 were buried with her. On the wings of her cranes Sadako would write messages. One deeply profound message read, "I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world." Her hope, strength and determination have inspired millions to this day. A children's campaign honoring Sadako's hope, strength and determination led to the creation of the Children's Peace Monument in Hiroshima's Peace Park.

"The Rainbow World Fund World Tree of Hope taps into two of our most powerful resources – the human mind and heart – to give individuals a way to join together to express our hopes and intentions for the future of our global community." says RWF Executive Director, Jeff Cotter.

Submit Your Wish
Wishes for the RWF World Tree of Hope can be sent to Rainbow World Fund, 4111 - 18th St. #5, SF, CA 94114 or via the RWF website: Wishes are collected year-round and are added to the tree throughout December. Wishes may also be recorded in the guest book at San Francisco City Hall.

INFO: 415-431-1485 or




WHAT: Rainbow World Fund presents...

THE WORLD TREE OF HOPE - A 18-foot holiday tree decorated with thousands of white origami cranes, each containing written wishes of hope & peace from children and individuals from around the world. Wishes can be submitted online for free at The wishes are printed, folded into origami cranes and placed on the tree. Be part of this unique symbol of global unity and hope! 

WHEN: THE WORLD TREE OF HOPE will be on public view from November 25, 2014 – January 3, 2015 during public hours at Grace Cathedral: Open daily from 8 a.m. (Thursdays, 7 a.m.) closing times vary, please check the website

OFFICIAL TREE LIGHTING: Monday, December - World AIDS Day - 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Grace Cathedral with emcee Cheryl Jennings ● SF Mayor Ed Lee and Consul General of Japan Masato Watanabe will exchange peace cranes ● concert by the Grammy winning San Francisco Boys Chorus ● singer Veronica Klaus and pianist Tammy Hall will perform ● Human Rights Activist Cleve Jones will deliver a message of hope ● The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will bless the tree ● other special guests to be announced.

Event details:

WHERE: Grace Cathedral, 1100 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

Wishes will be added to the tree throughout December 2014. Submitting a wish is free!


MAIL WISHES TO: Rainbow World Fund, 4111 - 18th Street #5, San Francisco, CA 94114

INFO: 415-431-1485 or

YouTube 2014 Tree Invitation to Hope:

YouTube 2013 Tree 1 minute time lapse: