Give To Colombia Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Give to Colombia

Give to Colombia, a US-based nonprofit organization is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a special event.  The organization is known for their transparency and delivering targeted dollars toward Colombia’s biggest issues.

According to the organization’s website, they “create, promote and facilitate alliances between international donors and Colombian grassroots organizations.”

This year is the nonprofit’s tenth anniversary.  They are thriving as more and more people get involved.  Give To Columbia has three branches which each serve to support and enhance the other two.  They are education, economic development and health and nutrition.

In terms of education, they provide teacher training and an elevated academic success.  For economic development, they provide job training and teach how to start and maintain a business as well as save money for the future.  For health and nutrition, they partner with other organizations to bring the necessary people and medicine to the region.

“It is the way to have an impact through donations in a directed and trustworthy manner, with an organization established according to the legal standards of the United States which for multi-national companies like ours is very important,” said a representative of Give to Columbia.

To celebrate their anniversary, the non-profit is hosting a celebration.

“With the help of our allies and supportive community, our organization has been able to benefit the most vulnerable populations in Colombia, raising funds that supported more than 160 projects and impacted over 250,000 people,” said a representative of Give To Colombia.

The Colombian Central Bank has given the organization a collection of vintage bills that will be signed by famous Colombian celebrities, artists and musicians.  The idea is that they will “leave their mark” on the bills to express how your donation adds value to Columbia and multiplies.

Some of the people on the host committee include Andres Santo Domingo, Alejandro Santo Domingo, and Lauren Santo Domingo—that’s almost the whole Santo Domingo family—Angela Maria Tafur, Missy Carricarte, and many more. Let’s get giving!


Shakira’s Shaking Up Education

IMG: Gustavo Miguel Fernandes / Shutterstock

Shakira is known around the world for having one heck of a pair of lungs.  The girl can sing.  Yet, she is has also branched out into another field of work.  She has committed to deliver world-class education to the children in her native Columbia and beyond.

She employs the use of “philanthrocapitalism” which is “the practice of applying business methods to philanthropy and calling on the private sector to pick up where governments leave off.”

Shakira, having grown up in poverty-stricken Columbia, has seen it all.  She has seen how children born into destitute conditions die in the same state. They have no way to raise themselves up and overcome their birth situation.  She knew this was wrong and wanted to change things.  Shakira recognized the importance of education in order to grow new generations of empowered young people.

Further, she viewed her own success as a vehicle to promote education.  She knew she had been given some amazing opportunities in her life and wanted to pay it forward.  She saw it as her duty to invest in change.

So, she began her Barefoot Foundation and co-founded ALAS to tackle these challenges.  Through her organizations, she and Alejandro Santo Domingo, brother of Andres Santo Domingo, have built schools with community centers and a feeding program so parents want to send their kids to school.  They are currently serving more than 6,000 children.

Shakira said, “Education is an investment as well as a duty, and an integral part of a strategy that plays a vital role in figuring out how to spend every penny and making every effort count. This approach is, in my opinion, perhaps the only method to solving one of the modern world’s most pervasive problems.”

Shakira views “philanthrocapitalism” as a means to achieve lasting results.  She said she sees providing education as a way to “produce a supply of qualified workers for decades ahead, but it also creates valuable and savvy consumers. What seems on its face to be charity is actually just good business when you get down to it–because various academic studies have shown that investing in education is as solid an investment as you can make. For every dollar invested in a child’s basic education, $17 is eventually returned to the state. That’s an incredibly healthy return on investment if you ask me.”

Over the years, she has worked with some of the most influential people in education and business.  Some of those innovators include Bill Gates, Howard Buffett and Alejandro Santo Domingo.  All of these leaders hold a belief that getting the private sector involved in education can create lasting change.

To read Shakira’s entire profile, click here.

Organizations Resources

Star-Studded Love Ball a Success

Natalia Vodianova
IMG: via natasupernova Instagram

“Love is in the air.  It’s everywhere you look around.”  You may recognize the words to the famous song.  Yet, love really was in the air on July 27th at the “Love Ball.”  Partiers and players came out to support a good cause and take part in the merrymaking.

The “Love Ball,” an annual event that changes location each year, ended up in glitzy Monte-Carlo this year.  The event was attended by celebrities and many members of the Monaco royal family.  Andrea Casiraghi, Princess Caroline’s oldest son and second in line to the Monegasque throne, was in attendance with his socialite fiancé, Tatiana Santo Domingo.  She is also the niece of Andres Santo Domingo.

Celebrities such as Bono, Karl Lagerfeld and Margherita Missoni kicked up their heels. However, the recent Marie Claire cover girl, princess Charlene of Monaco, was the most glamorous of all.  She turned heads wearing a sparkling, pink strapless gown with a lace hem.  In fact, she may have overshadowed model Natalia Vodianova, clad in a red dress, for whose organization the ball was thrown.

Vodianova’s organization, the Naked Heart Foundation, aims to raise money to support families raising children with special needs.  They also build play parks and playgrounds around Russia.  The “Love Ball” raised four million dollars for the cause.

Entertainment included performances from prima ballerina Diana Vishneva, Grammy award-winner Ildar Abdrazakov, and world-renowned violinist Maxim Vengerov.  The evening concluded with a performance from maestro Valery Gergiev, flown in for the evening following the world premiere of the opera “Levsha” in St. Petersberg.  James Corden, British actor, played host for the night.

The auction was supposed to remind attendees of the story of a couple in love on a magical trip around Monaco.  Some prizes included a private tennis lesson with Rafael Nadal, an internship at Chanel under Karl Lagerfeld’s direction, afternoon tea with Prince Albert, a round of gold on the 2014 Ryder Cup course and a Rolex watch.

The Ball will be remembered long after the decorations have been taken down and the champagne drunk.  The Naked Heart Foundation will reach out to families in need and pass on the generosity that comes from love.

Organizations Resources

Prospect Park is one of Brooklyn’s Treasures

Prospect Park
IMG: via Shutterstock
Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY

Prospect Park, located in the heart of Brooklyn, NY, is a 585-acre sanctuary, the result of a collaboration between famed landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. The expansive park features a 60-acre lake, the Prospect Park Zoo, and Brooklyn’s only forest. It is home to many events and performing arts festivals, which brings the community of Brooklyn together to celebrate, as well as invites visitors to explore the beautiful urban oasis.

Prospect Park is a real treasure of Brooklyn, and is “safer, cleaner, more vibrant, and more popular today that it’s ever been,” thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Prospect Park Alliance, a group focused on maintaining the park’s breathtaking natural offerings. During the summer, Prospect Park comes alive for concerts, performances, parties, and events for locals, families, and visitors of all ages to delight in.

July marks the annual Summer Soiree at Prospect Park, an event made possible with the help from sponsors and organized by the Prospect Park Alliance. The Soiree is an annual cocktail gala that raises funds for Prospect Park, and features musical performances, an open bar, silent auction, hors d’oeuvres, and of course, a wonderfully fun and entertaining evening, held at the beautiful Prospect Park Boathouse.

Summer Soiree at Prospect Park is one of the most important fundraising nights of the year for the park, because ticket sales and support take up a huge chunk of the expenses needed to maintain the beauty of Prospect Park. The event receives support from community members and many local philanthropic organizations and individuals such as Diane Von Furstenberg, Jennifer Fisher, Warby Parker, and Brooklyn Brewery. Another advocate for the event is Brooklyn-based Mexican Summer Records, founded by local philanthropist Andres Santo Domingo, and whose recording artist Tamaryn will perform at the Soiree.

This year’s annual Summer Soiree to benefit Prospect Park will be held on July 24th, at 7pm. For more information about the event, and to purchase tickets, visit the official event page.

Organizations Resources

Young Philanthropy in New York

chelsea clinton
IMG: mistydawnphoto /

It seems like younger generations are getting more generous every year. Famous or not, rich or poor, young Americans are lending their time, money, and effort to a variety of philanthropic ventures. In New York City, the same is true, and this year the popular New York Observer will be honoring twenty philanthropists under 40 at a gala designed to raise philanthropic awareness.

The event, called “Young Philanthropy,” will honor a number of well-known names and faces in the NYC philanthropy scene. Let’s take a look at a few of the well-to-do winners:

Chelsea Clinton: The daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Senator Hilary Clinton, nearly all of Chelsea’s life has been lived under the spotlight—and unlike so many of the young and famous, her image is pristine. Her charity work includes support for the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the Walkabout Foundation.

Amanda Hearst: As heiress to her father’s media conglomerate, the Hearst Corporation, Amanda has a lot to live up to. She is a socialite, activist, model, and most recently is the associate market editor for Marie Claire. Amanda also founded Friends of Finn, which is a charity that fights inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills, and is an active member of Riverkeeper, an environmental nonprofit organization.

Alejandro Santo Domingo: Like Hearst (whom he coincidentally dated for several years), Alejandro is an heir. He and his two brothers, Andres Santo Domingo and Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Jr., are heirs the majority stake in SABMiller, a South American beer company. While his career revolves around managing the conglomerate, he is also a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees; is on the board for the international nonprofit group, Endeavor; is on the Latin American Conservation Council for The Nature Conservancy; and is on the Board of Directors for DKMS Americas.

Other honorees of the night include Lauren Bush, Jesse Cole, Alexis Feldman, Michelle Harper, Lydia Hearst, Eric Trump, and many more.

Organizations Resources

Turnaround for Children: Annual Impact Awards Dinner

Turn Around for Children
IMG: vai

Turnaround for Children is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2002 to help poverty-stricken children and schools succeed. Turnaround for Children partners with some of the most impoverished schools in New York and Washington, DC, and works to transform them into “calm, effective learning environment[s].” In a time when one in four children in the United States is being raised in poverty, the need for effective and innovative programs is greater than ever before.

The organization is currently partnered with 20 and is exploring expansion options in Baltimore and Newark. Its partnerships are determined through a mutual selection process, and selected schools agree to hire and pay a full-time social worker to work with students and staff. Turnaround partners with local mental health providers and deploys a team to work intensively with the schools for between 3 and 5 years.

This team consists of a Social Work Consultant, and Instructional Coach, and a Program Director. Together, they help the school build a student support system to help children in need; train teachers in classroom management and instructional strategies to combat poverty-specific challenges like disruption and engagement; and strengthen the school’s leadership and achievement expectations.

“Some people believe we must fix poverty in order to fix public schools,” Turnaround writes. “We do not. We believe poverty presents profound but predictable and recurring challenges to students, teachers, and schools. This enables us to design a targeted, precise intervention to address them.”

Now Turnaround is preparing for its “Turnaround Impact Awards Dinner,” which will honor Goldman Sachs Gives for its generous giving spirit. The Goldman Sachs has a vast array of projects that it gives money to, features on its website, and encourages community members to get involved with. Past award recipients include Goldie Hawn, Joel Klein, John Legend and Merryl Tisch, among others.

This year’s gala will be held on Tuesday, April 30th. John Legend will give a special guest performance, along with some of the children involved with Turnaround. Speakers will include Joel Klein, Katherine Bradley, and Pamela Cantor. Chairs for the event include notable New Yorkers such as Cristina & Chris Cuomo, Lauren & Andres Santo Domingo, and Stephanie & David Wolkoff.

As of Monday, March 18th, Turnaround had already raised $835,650 of its $1.2 million or more goal. Tickets to the event are still available for purchase, ranging in price from $1,000-$2,500 per person. Full 10-person tables can also be purchased for $10,000-$50,000 each. Those interested in supporting Turnaround for Children can also make individual donations online.


How Effective Are Galas at Raising Money?

gala event
IMG: Land Rover MENA via Flickr

Gala benefits have received their fair share of criticism over the years, with many individuals complaining that they are an inefficient way to make money for organizations. Indeed, galas do take a LOT of volunteer time and money to put together, but there’s no question that they can also bring in stunning amounts of donations when carried out properly.

Gala benefits require staff—waiters, bartenders, auctioneers, DJs, and more—and it’s not always possible to find good Samaritans willing to volunteer, so part of the revenue must go toward paying those employees. If a gala is carried out correctly, though, costs should be minimized and donations should far outweigh them; if not, an organization could lose money hosting a gala.

Gala benefits are hosted for a few purposes. First, they tend to get people excited about a cause. Second, they might honor a particularly committed or influential donor/community member. Third, they raise money through tickets, auctions, and donations. One-time donations are popular among guests who aren’t overly involved in the organization, but it’s certainly possible that other more committed donors could emerge.

Donations at gala benefits may not be as altruistic as simply writing and sending a check, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Revenues will be smaller because of the cost of the event, but donors will get a chance to socialize and get each other excited about the cause. This can ultimately create more “buzz” and awareness within the community, which could attract new supporters.

When organizing galas, groups should be sure that the hosting committee is full of influential and affluent members of the community. People with better connections will create a bigger buzz and can attract more donors and attendees. Some of the biggest and best galas have been hosted by well-known names: Actress Sarah Jessica Parker (Dance By Design), Vogue contributing editor Lauren and husband Andres Santo Domingo (DKMS Linked Against Blood Cancer), and businessman François-Henri Pinault and wife Salma Hayek (Costume Institute).


DKMS: ending the Fight Against Blood Cancer

hedi klum
Heidi Klum at the 2012 DKMS Event
IMG: lev radin /

Every year, millions of people struggle to win the fight against blood cancer. DKMS is an organization that began with one girl’s heart-wrenching experience of watching her mother fight and lose that battle. Katharina Harf was just thirteen when her mother, Mechtild, was diagnosed with acute leukemia. Mechtild was told she could be saved by a bone marrow transplant, but there were only 3,000 donors in Germany at the time.

Mechtild’s husband and Katharina’s father, Peter Harf worked tirelessly to find a donor, recruiting nearly 70,000 donors in one year and forming DKMS with his wife’s doctor at the time, Dr. Gerhard Ehninger. They knew that other families and patients needed the same access to donors, and wanted to make that information accessible to all.

Mechtild was beaten by her blood cancer, but now her daughter, Katharina, works to make sure others don’t have to lose their loved ones in the same way. DKMS has a registered bone marrow donor list of 3.3 million people who have provided more than 32,000 transplants worldwide. Katharina is its Chief Inspiration Officer.

In 2004, Katharina expanded DKMS into the U.S. and established recruitment programs and educational campaigns throughout the country. Each year, DKMS holds a gala to further raise awareness and money for the cause, which is organized by New York socialites such as Lauren and Andres Santo Domingo (we previously profiled Andres Santo Domingo). This past year, Heidi Klum was honored for her efforts in raising awareness.

The DKMS website offers information about bone cancer as well as fundraising opportunities and a section to register to get swabbed. Each swab costs $65 to register, and yet DKMS does not require new donors to pay and therefore relies on donations from the public to continue functioning.


Andres Santo Domingo: a New York Philanthropist

andres santo domingo
IMG: via Forbes Credit: Billy Farrell/Sipa/Newscom

Andres Santo Domingo is one of those people who is a true philanthropist.  A record label owner and New York socialite, both he and his wife Lauren Santo Domingo are heavily involved in the community in the city.  The son of Colombian businessman Julio Mario Santo Domingo Pumarejo, Andres grew up in New York City, attending St. Bernard’s School, and it makes sense that he would continue to give back to the community he lives in and loves.

Both Lauren and Andres Santo Domingo have been heavily involved in the arts in the city, as well as various environmental initiatives.  For more information about Andres Santo Domingo and his involvement in the community check out our profile on him.