At her legendary fundraisers, she gathers the rich,
powerful and famous of the Bay Area and beyond not
just to raise money, but also to bring people together
where they can share ideas while having fun.
April/May 2018 47
DREW ALTIZER; OPPOSITE: AGENCY MOANALANI JEFFREY
and get other residents involved in the process.
“I figured out what everyone was good at and found a way to
put them to work,” Manus explains. The new system was so much
better, it was not only implemented at that shelter but adopted at
other soup kitchens as well.
The realization that she had the power to use her intelligence
and problem-solving skills to help others was a turning point, and
it went a long way in restoring her pride. Hitting rock bottom, she
says, provided a solid foundation for the rest of her life.
“Helping others to survive and thrive made me feel better about
myself. That’s one of the things I always tell people: Believe it or
not, helping others actually makes you feel better than even those
you’re helping.” And speaking from experience, she adds, “If you
can look up, you can get up.”
Manus felt so energized and empowered that she was ready to
come back onto the grid and re-enter the world, but she knew she
had to do something about her appearance. She went into a small
beauty salon run by a pair of Russian sisters, and when she caught
sight of her image in a mirror, she barely recognized the painfully
thin person with matted hair and dirty nails looking back at her.
She told the sisters that she would do anything—sweep the
floors, wash towels, whatever they wanted—if they would just
clean her up. The women were gracious and kind, and enthusiastically
took Manus on as project, cutting and coloring her hair and
making her presentable. In the full day that Manus spent there,
they restored not only her appearance but her confidence, too.
“I emerged from that place looking and feeling like I was
Jillian Manus and her
family at the Big Game
Big Give fundraiser at
her estate in Atherton