Photos: FACE Africa/Yinka Aj of Chocolate Photography
The FACE Africa 4th Annual Clean Water Gala took place at Midtown New York hotspot Espace on Saturday, March 23, 2013 from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. The event attracted close to 350 guests and raised $73,000, enough to build 15-20 clean water systems in Rivercess County, one of Liberia’s most marginalized and under-served counties.
The affair included a cocktail reception, premium hosted bar, and an art auction with pieces donated by Aroza Arts. Among the guests attending to support the clean water benefit were supermodel Oluchi Orlandi, actress Maria Arcé, actor Gbenga Akinnagbe, former Miss World Agbani Darego, and former Vogue Fashion Editor Lisa Lovatt-Smith, FACE Africa’s 2012 Honoree and founder of OrphanAid Africa. Co-hosted by attorney, actor, and musician Jabari Gray, there was a special well auction that encouraged guests to pledge between $50 to $5,000 towards a clean water system. This auction alone raised $42,000.
FACE Africa funds and supports sustainable clean water, sanitation and hygiene projects in Liberia, with a particular interest in empowering young girls and women through access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene. Founder Saran Kaba Jones used the occasion to highlight the water crisis in Liberia and the work that FACE Africa is doing in the country to provide clean water to under-served rural communities. An emotional speech educated guests of the close to two million people that lack access to safe water and over 3,000 children that die every year as a result of waterborne diseases.
FACE Africa plans to fund and build 250 water projects over the next 3-5 years, an initiative that will impact 60,000 lives. This year's clean water benefit is all about sharing FACE Africa’s work, celebrating the impact they’re having in Liberia, and thanking the community of supporters who have been instrumental in their growth and achievements over the last few years. Saran Kana Jones gave a heartfelt speech and thanked supporters for all of their generosity over the past four years.
The evening was also an opportunity for the organization to recognize and honor some of its key supporters including Lauren States of IBM, Kara Gerson of the Voss Foundation, Kevin McGovern of the The Water Initiative and Dr. Muri Raifu, all of whom were presented with a special award.