Many Winners at ‘All-Inclusive’ Fund-Raiser
In this season of fund-raisers, one upcoming event stands out for its inclusiveness of multiple organizations.
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Guild Hall in East Hampton, this “fund-raiser with a twist” will comprise a screening of “The Letters: The Untold Story of Mother Teresa,” live and silent auctions, pop-up shops, and a food truck. Beneficiaries are the Unstoppable Foundation, which brings sustainable education to children and communities in developing countries; Mully Children’s Family, working to eradicate poverty and improve social justice in Kenya; the Voss Foundation, dedicated to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene to enable community-driven development in sub-Saharan Africa, and the Urban Zen Foundation, which seeks to preserve cultures while inspiring change by integrating mind, body, and spirit in health care and education.
“I’m calling it an all-inclusive fund-raiser because I think we don’t need to feel competitive for dollars,” said Phyllis Chase, who organized the event. “They are all doing good work and can help one another.”
Five South African safaris from Zulu Nyala will be offered in the live auction. A silent auction will feature items from the likes of Jennifer Miller Jewelry, an African animal oil painting by Beth O’Donnell, personal coaching from the comedian Eddie Brill, a Zamani Collections carpet, and a membership to the travel concierge company Indagare. Foundations including Urban Zen, Voss, the Neo-Political Cowgirls, and Gimme Shelter Animal Rescue will offer their own silent auction items. Maasai Collections, Nuudii System, and Zamani Collections will be represented by pop-up shops in the John Drew Theater’s green room and will donate a portion of proceeds to the Unstoppable Foundation, as will Opa! On the Go, a food truck serving Mediterranean, seasonal, and diner favorites.
Ms. Chase, who lives in East Hampton and Los Angeles, said that she was inspired by a workshop held by the Neo-Political Cowgirls, the women’s dance theater company, in which women discussed their nonprofit organizations. “I had this moment of inspiration to invite other charities,” she said. “I hope it changes the way people do fund-raisers going forward. I hope it catches on.”
That inspiration followed a decision by Ms. Chase, a retired psychotherapist and former radio host, to set a personal goal to raise $1 million for three Kenyan charities, which itself followed her attendance at a charity event in Beverly Hills featuring Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for female education and youngest Nobel Prize laureate. “I had to think twice about spending $250 to go to it,” she remembered, “but I was so moved by the children they’d brought that I pledged $2,500.”
Later, an inheritance allowed her to sponsor a village in Kenya, and last year she visited the village. “That was an amazing experience,” she said. “The kids are so grateful, so thirsty to improve their lives, to learn.”
“The Letters: The Untold Story of Mother Teresa,” a biographical drama, will be screened at 7:45. Told through personal letters written over 40 years by one of the greatest humanitarians of modern times, the film, starring Juliet Stevenson, Rutger Hauer, and Max von Sydow, reveals a troubled, vulnerable Catholic nun grappling with feelings of loneliness, isolation, and abandonment by God.
The film, Ms. Chase said, is less about religion than Mother Teresa’s suffering. “We can all relate to feelings of abandonment,” she said. “I was deeply moved by it.”
The 2015 film’s release coincided with the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., which discouraged many from attending public events, such as a night at the movies. To further its exposure, Ms. Chase invested in its nationwide re-release, scheduled for Sept. 4, the anniversary of Mother Teresa’s canonization. “They let me have the film so I could do an event in my hometown,” she said of OnBuzz, the company that is distributing its re-release.
Following the screening and until midnight, a garden reception will feature music and food from the Golden Pear and the Red Horse Market.
Tickets for Wednesday’s fund-raiser are $25 and available by entering the East Hampton ZIP code, 11937, at onbuzz.tugg.com. Special box seats, at $100, are available at myunstoppablechallenge.org/chasematchings. Ms. Chase can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for box seat tickets.