2015 Gala Was Wonderful!
Thank you to all our supporters for another wonderful annual gala! This was one of our most successful (in terms of money raised).
The event was held at the Sheraton Hotel in University City, Philadelphia, a new venue for us that turned out to be perfect, and not just because parking was free!
Here are some highlights:
- Our theme was “be part of the harvest” with a central focus on Palestinian olive oil, which sustains large sectors of Palestinian society and is a major aspect of PfP’s fundraising efforts
- Stephanie Sena (board member) opened with a warm welcome speech
- We were insanely fortunate to have Amer Zahr as our emcee. His unflinching Palestinian-ness, natural hilarity, quick wit and deep intelligence provided the perfect framework for all other aspects of the event. Amer not only donated his time, but he flew in at his own expense and made a donation to PfP. We can’t thank him enough.
- Dr Jess Ghannam’s presentation of the breathtaking difficulties facing Palestinian children and the importance of PfP’s Play Therapy program reminded us all why we were there.
- Hanan Urick (board member) gave a presentation on the olive oil, from planting to harvest to bottling and to our tables at the gala.
- Susan Abulhawa (board member) showed how we’ve spent donations. Briefly, 3.7% of PfP donations are spent on administrative costs (mostly annual audit and tax filing) and the remaining 96.3% of donations go to programs. In 2014, PfP funded the purchase of five playgrounds which will be installed this summer (2015). We also funded several workshops with children and young teens to tackle social and environmental issues ranging from recycling, indigenous plants, gender equality, conflict resolution, physical fitness, and more. Finally, we have begun to implement the long awaited Play Therapy program in Gaza.
- We were proud to present crystal awards to the following outstanding people: The Zahr Family, Evelyn Haas, Dr Ahmed El-Khateeb, Dr Samir El-Omari; and certificates of gratitude for exceptional activism by children were presented to: Laila, Milan, and Adam Elabed, and Danny, Ryan, and Noora Kuran.
- Alwaan Dabke Troupe gave an outstanding performance
- Linda Hanna assembled and managed an outstanding silent auction this year that included a wide range of items: olive trees, jasmine plants, orchids, and other plants; beautiful hand-crafted jewelry, luxury home decorations by Debage; sporting events tickets; garden statues; and so much more, including a two week stay in two gorgeous apartments in southern Spain (courtesy of Rima Vanhill Seal).
- Abeer Karzoun (board member) created gorgeous centerpieces consisting of infused olive oil (from Canaan), which were our gift for attendees to take home (we had to keep repeating this because some didn’t believe we were giving them away)
- Students from PAFA donated their time to raise money at our event by drawing portraits for individuals
- Our amazing AV crew from Dyventiv did a superb job, as always. Thanks to Karen (board member) and Dave Kovalcik
- Dounia Tamri-Loeper (board member) did all our graphic design work, from the name tags and bottle labels to the program and banners. Her exquisite designs were also part of our silent auction.
- For the first time in 15 years, Betsey Piette (board member) couldn’t be with us, but she set us up with everything we needed to process all the finances.
As you can see, everything we did and continue to do is on a volunteer basis. This has been a labor of love for all of us involved because we know that our efforts result in something far bigger and more beautiful than the time we spend. We are so grateful to everyone who attended, everyone who donated to our silent auction and to our projects.
To view photos of the event, please visit our facebook album