Congratulations to all the hard work from our LA Chapter for putting on such a beautiful event Thursday May 19! It was the third annual Gala in LA. The event was put on at the Majestic Hall in Downtown LA -a former bank vault, which seems to be a growing trend in new clubs/banquet halls in Downtown! There were about 150+ altruistic attendees. The event was put on so beautifully by Cary J. & Kevin O. The event started with an awesome speech by the founder John Wood, then followed by a Live Auction. I am astonished at the generosity of all the auction donors – we had everything from concert tickets, wine baskets, art, spa certificates, signed Laker jerseys, etc etc. John Wood successfully auctioned off 40 1-year Girl Scholarships (250$ each) and a generous individual also donated $25,000 at the auction which will build 10 libraries in these countries. This Gala event ended up raising about $100,000.
[ Left: John Wood, Founder of Room to Read. Middle: Cary Jones, president of the LA Chapter & Gala Organizer. Right: Good College girlfriend Fareda & I. ]
Hor d’oevres & dinner were supplied buffet style in 2 rows. The bar included sponsored wine, vodka and our favorite Singha Beer (Thank you Tom Sopit!). I heard that Singha beer was willing to donate more than double the amount needed. Amazing. Off to the side was a section representing Nepal, the country where John Wood visited over a decade ago and decided to quit his Microsoft job and go help build libraries. It was enthusiastic Nepali friends Reena, owner of a Himalayan clothing store on Venice blvd and Tara, owner of Tara’s Himalayan Cuisine who helped build it. I found myself there half of the night. They had a little shop with Nepali souvenirs, and a clothing rack of Sari’s and authentic Nepali clothing for people to try on and take pictures. It definitely added some funk to the event. The original plan was to have one of those sections for every all 11 countries that Room to Read is now in, but time & money did not permit that. Next year we shall!
After the event, about 7 of us ventured over to the Spice Table in Little Tokyo to have a more intimate dinner with John Wood. I tried to pick his brain a little without prying too much. Sitting across from him at the table, I was impressed by his humble energy, while his presence and all his success made me a bit star struck. His efforts alone created this revolution in the early 2nd millennium in which schools and libraries are being built and girls will be sent to school so that they have more choices in their lives.
On a even more exciting note, Will Ferrell, Hollywood’s most charitable celebrity hosted a Room to Read Fundraiser in his backyard 3 weeks prior!! Will Ferrell was last year’s Gala MC but unfortunately could not make this year’s. Will’s fundraiser with his fellow famous friends raised $300,000 – enough to support the building of four new schools, nine new libraries, 10,000 children’s books published in local languages and 256 years of girls’ education!! Read more about it here.
I’ve had a lot of positive responses from my blog posts, word of mouth & facebook photos on Room to Read. We have monthly meetings on the first Tuesday of every month, and Beers for Books event monthly put on by a member.
Our next Beers for Books Fundraising Event is put on my Rena A. at:
TARA’S HIMALAYAN CUISINE
10855 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles 90034
TUESDAY, JUNE 21ST
7 PM – 10 PM
To RSVP & Donate, Visit Travel for a Purpose Donation page!