GiveLight Raises Funds for African Orphanage
By Melissa McKenzie
Just how much can a network of volunteers and donors do?
In the case of Santa Clara-based GiveLight Foundation, the answer is everything.
For the last eight years, the non-profit has supported orphans throughout the world without spending any money on overhead. Founder Dian Alyan doesn’t take a salary, all of her top strategists donate their services, and each month the organization’s office is sponsored through generous donations specifically sought for paying the rent. Even on May 4, when GiveLight held a fundraising event at the Santa Clara Convention Center, it was at a minimal cost to the organization.
The Moroccan chicken dinner with cous cous and olives; spicy chicken and vegetable peanut soup; bread; and Florentine fruit cup with custard, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi and raspberry puree was more than paid for through ticket sales. The stage and Moroccan-themed decorations were donated. Each of the items up for auction was gifted to the organization. Not one penny of the money supporting orphans throughout the globe was spent on the production of the gala. That in itself is amazing.
Even more amazing are the statistics for GiveLight. Currently, GiveLight supports 897 children, and has a presence in 10 countries. Nine of GiveLight’s orphans are grown and attending college. But, in order to grow and break ground on “Maison de Lumiere” in Morocco, the organization needed to raise $300,000 of the $500,000 necessary to build, scale and maintain the home as well as take care of the orphans.
“This is an issue very near and dear to my heart because I think that when you turn away from suffering because you feel that you don’t have the ability to do anything about it, you not only sell yourself short but you give a little bit of the divine that exists in all of us away,” said Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews. “And I think that each of us that are here are blessed and we have an obligation and a duty and responsibility to enrich the lives of others that are not as blessed. When you help a child, you change the world.”
In addition to Matthews, founder and CEO of One Global Family Foundation Laura Ava-Tesimale, Imam Tahir Anwar, and Alyan spoke at the event. Actor Faran Tahir sent a pre-recorded message, and children from Silicon Valley Academy sang a song and participated in a children’s fashion show showcasing traditional dress from countries where GiveLight sponsors orphans.
“We’re all here for a cause,” said Anwar. “We’re not just here because of matching donations…we’re all here because we believe in this. No matter how we made it here, there isn’t a soul here that doesn’t believe that orphans shouldn’t be looked after…We’re supposed to go out of our comfort zone, go out of our way, to serve humanity. And here is a cause and an opportunity that has come knocking on our doorsteps…It behooves every single one of us to do whatever we can to ensure that we look after these young individuals.”
Between ticket sales, corporate matching, the silent auction, and additional donations from supporters, GiveLight raised over $210,000 – combined with the event held in Chicago last month, the organization is only $75,000 shy of its $500,000 goal. To learn more about GiveLight, volunteer, or donate, visit www.givelight.org.