warren_hellman_2.03.jpgA memorial service is being held today for San Francisco financier and philanthropist Warren Hellman, who died Sunday at the age of 77.

Mayor Ed Lee, who is expected to attend the memorial, ordered all flags at city and county buildings to be lowered to half-staff today in honor of Hellman, who is best known for founding the popular Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival held annually in Golden Gate Park.

San Francisco Unified School District buildings are also lowering their flags today in honor of his contributions to the city’s young people.

Among his accomplishments, Hellman founded the private equity firm Hellman and Friedman LLC, helped found the San Francisco School Alliance–an advocacy group for the city’s schools–and served as chairman of the board for The Bay Citizen, a nonprofit news organization he helped found in 2010.

The memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Congregation Emanu-El, located at 2 Lake St. in the city’s Presidio Heights neighborhood. The service is for friends and family, although limited space will be made available to members of the public.

The service will also be streamed live on the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass website, www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com.

A public celebration of Hellman’s life is also planned for an as-yet-undetermined date in January in Golden Gate Park.

Last Thursday, the city’s Recreation and Park Commission renamed Speedway Meadow as Hellman Hollow in honor of his contributions to the park and the city.

In lieu of flowers, Hellman’s family is asking for donations to be made to the San Francisco Free Clinic at www.sffc.org, The Bay Citizen at www.baycitizen.org, or the San Francisco School Alliance at www.sfschoolalliance.org.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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