November 11, 2015
On November 5th, Voss Foundation’s Sixth Annual Women Helping Women (WHW) New York Luncheon and African Bazaar raised over $107,000 to fund the water and sanitation infrastructure for Good Future and Hope Foundation’s five new homes, which will provide safe accommodations to homeless children and orphans in the Nakisunga region of Uganda. Over 2oo supporters from around the world came to the Stephan Weiss Studio at Donna Karan’s Urban Zen space in Greenwich Village.
Upon arrival, guests shopped our celebrated African Bazaar, which sells artisanal handmade jewelry, scarves, baskets, and toys purchased directly from communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Liberia, Swaziland, and Uganda where we work. Once again, the Bazaar was curated by a select group of fashion designers, editors, and tastemakers.
Mistress of Ceremonies, writer, producer, and author Susan Fales-Hill, welcomed the crowd once everyone took their seats, sharing stories and encouraging guests to donate “at least what they spent on their last outfit.” She introduced our four outstanding honorees: Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Prime Minister of Norway; Magatte Wade, CEO and Founder of Tiossan; Robert (Tenny) and Kimberly Field, philanthropists; and singer-songwriter, author, philanthropist, and founder of Voss Foundation partner Project Clean Water, Jewel.
Dr. Brundtland spoke of her intimate understanding of the importance of Voss Foundation’s work from over 40 years leading policy on the environment, public health, sustainable development, and women’s empowerment. She explained that this was one reason why she has supported Voss Foundation since our founding. Her son, Voss Foundation (VF) Founder and President, Knut Brundtland, was so moved by his mother’s speech that he came on stage, unannounced, to pledge a $20,000 donation to commemorate her crucial early support of VF.
Furthering the excitement of the fundraising spirit, our Interim Executive Director, Sanjay Rawal, announced that VOSS Water pledged to match donations to the 2015 dedicated Women Helping Women clean water project up to $50,000.
Our next honoree, Magatte Wade, energized and inspired the room with her extraordinary personal story of triumph and success from Senegal to Silicon Valley to entrepreneur. Then, Voss Foundation Board member and supporter Tenny and Kim Field told how they became champions of our cause, ultimately funding and fundraising for their own clean water project in Uganda.
Finally, consummate storyteller, Jewel, moved the crowd by recounting her experiences growing up in Alaska and battling illness while homeless in Los Angeles that led her to found Project Clean Water. Project Clean Water has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Voss Foundation since our partnership began in 2009. She also treated us to two beautifully appropriate songs: Hands from her 1998 album, Spirit, as well as Mercy from her recently released album, Picking Up The Pieces.
The luncheon and bazaar would not have been possible without support from our sponsors Cliffton Dry, Etienne Aigner, MamaGlow, Modern Luxury MANHATTAN, PTL Events, Studio3, Urban Zen, and VOSS Artesian Water, to whom we are so grateful.
Women Helping Women (WHW) is a Voss Foundation global, grassroots initiative that has raised over $750,000 in Europe and the United States since 2009 to fund over 21 water access points and 291 sanitation facilities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Swaziland, and Uganda. In addition to Women Helping Women New York, 2015 WHW events have taken place in Boston and the Hamptons.