The Fifteenth Annual JustWorld International Gala Presented by the Palm Beach Masters Series and Caryl Philips and Frank Zeiss
Nonprofit organization JustWorld International turned Wellington into a night of Hollywood glamour on Friday, January 12, 2018, bringing close to 600 guests together to celebrate and raise funds for the extraordinary work it is doing around the world supporting children in need. The Fifteenth Annual JustWorld International Gala presented by the Palm Beach Masters Series and Caryl Philips and Frank Zeiss, hosted by Belle Herbe Farm, was a remarkable night marking the achievements of JustWorld and its supporters over the past fifteen years. Moreover, JustWorld introduced new Executive Director, Mei Mei Newsome, and the exciting news that JustWorld will be working with a brand new project partner in Palm Beach County.
The theme of Hollywood glam was brought to life through the décor, music from DJ Adam Lipson, tasting stations prepared by Official Catering Sponsor Bolay, and an open bar thanks to Official Bar Sponsor The Grille, Tito’s Vodka and Fernando Cellars. Guests arrived to their very own paparazzi snapping photos of their ‘celebrity selves’ along with celebrity look-a-likes. They also captured the night at the Horseware Photo Booth and Voltaire Wall of Fame, where they could purchase their own “Hollywood star” to sign, signifying the impact they were creating at the JustWorld projects.
Steven Wilde and Justin Paul, who returned to emcee this year’s event, started off the evening by introducing a video segment from USEF President Murray Kessler, who described his personal involvement with the organization and its incredible growth and success over the past fifteen years. He explained that JustWorld is working in places that truly need our help and that, “together we are building solutions to health care, violence, drugs, and a lack of education.” This year alone, JustWorld has given more than 6,500 children the tools they need to finish primary school and served more than 200,000 meals. Mr. Kessler emphasized, “While the growth has been tremendous, let’s not stop now.” Wilde and Paul then began the “Call to Action” to raise funds to support the very cause Mr. Kessler described- life-changing education for children at JustWorld’s projects. During the “Call to Action,” Olympic rider Ian Miller joined the co-hosts on stage to honor beloved supporter Sue Grange and made a donation in her honor. More than thirty of JustWorld’s young Ambassadors joined in to do their part in helping raise awareness amongst guests about the importance of giving and empowering a generation to lift themselves out of poverty. As JustWorld is educating more children for more hours, their work isn’t done.
JustWorld International Founder and Board President, Jessica Newman, was welcomed on stage with a round of applause as she shared with the audience significant benchmarks achieved by the organization. “Fifteen years ago when I started JustWorld, I never would have dreamed of the impact that we have made. My goal was to unite equestrians from around the world to provide children from the most underserved communities with a better life and that is evident by all of you tonight.” After adding the combined attendance at the projects over the past fifteen years, JustWorld has reached more than 40,000 children, providing opportunities for students to pursue careers and higher education. Currently, JustWorld is supporting more than 6,500 children at partner projects in Cambodia, Guatemala, and Honduras. Newman made it clear that JustWorld’s work is not finished; “I am excited to see what we can accomplish not just this year, but over the next 15 years.”
Jessica Newman highlighted exciting news for the organization as she introduced JustWorld International’s new Executive Director, Mei Mei Newsome. Newsome has been deeply involved with the organization for ten years and served as Volunteer Managing Director for three years. Newman shared, “She is committed to JustWorld and I believe the right person to take what I started and grow it beyond what any of us could hope for.”
Mei Mei Newsome was invited on stage where she addressed JustWorld’s supporters for the first time as Executive Director. She thanked Jessica Newman for her vision, fearless leadership, and tremendous success in connecting equestrians from all around the world with the mission to give hope to children who need it most. “We have proven that we can create change in the lives of these children by pairing donor support with vetted Nongovernmental Organizations,” said Newsome. Through JustWorld’s amazing team and group of supporters, Newsome vowed to continue JustWorld’s mission of empowering more children each day to create a more just world.
With that promise, Newsome announced that JustWorld will support their first project in the United States, right in Palm Beach County, in the town of Belle Glade. The statistics on Belle Glade are staggering. Palm Beach County is the wealthiest county in Florida. However, just thirty miles away, the per capita income in Belle Glade is just $11,000 and ninety percent of the town is economically disadvantaged. Newsome went on to describe that the most shocking statistic of all is that only twenty-six percent of the students in Belle Glade can read. Research reveals that two-thirds of students who cannot read by the end of fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare. “These children need us, so building off of our strongest tenant, education, JustWorld will support supplemental reading programs for school-aged children in Belle Glade.”
JustWorld is partnering with StoryBook Treasures this year to run a pilot program at Pioneer Park Elementary in Belle Glade, Florida, with the goal of serving 100 students in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. StoryBook Treasures Inc. (SBT) is on a mission to increase literacy for our nations’ children. It has created a revolutionary program to change the lives of children through books. SBT’s unique program is implemented within a school setting by the classroom teacher and children learn to build a home library with the program’s books and supplemental materials. This method fosters the essential home-school reading connection that is vital to literacy. The program’s success is proven by each child it reaches- students’ reading comprehension, vocabulary, and family engagement increases by 100% using the SBT program and books compared to books used during regular classroom instruction.
After announcing JustWorld’s new U.S. project, Newsome acknowledged JustWorld’s supporters who serve as the beacon of hope for the children the organization serves. She recognized outstanding individuals with the annual “Leg Up” Awards for having gone above and beyond to spread JustWorld’s core values and demonstrated admirable efforts in giving children in impoverished communities a “leg up” to a brighter future. These awards were presented to: Andrea Oyuela, Morgan Dickerson, Enrique Arenas, Noel Glavin, Brice Goguet, Natalia Paz, Denise Quirk, and Kathryn Quirk.
The 15th Annual JustWorld International Gala commemorated another incredible year of making strides for change to create a just world. Closing the night with incredible live and silent auctions, guests were welcomed to dance the night away, continuing the night’s celebrations.
The organization thanks its sponsors, supporters and newcomers to the event and to the cause. If you were unable to attend the event, please consider making a donation to JustWorld in commemoration of JustWorld’s 15th year of bringing positive change to children around the world.
Your donations and inquiries can be sent to:
11924 W. Forest Hill Blvd, Suite 10A-396
Wellington, FL, 33414 USA
+1 (561) 333-9391
About JustWorld International
JustWorld International is devoted to breaking the cycle of poverty by funding local partners around the world helping children thrive. We support more than 6,500 children by providing access to education, nutrition, health & hygiene, and leadership & cultural development programs.
We work through the international equestrian community and its extensive networks to fund and sustain programs that provide basic needs to children with little opportunity to receive support from other sources. Our Rider Ambassadors raise awareness and funds for our programs, helping to give children a leg up to a brighter future.
JustWorld International is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in the United States and a registered Association 1901 in France. Tax-deductible donations are accepted in Switzerland and JustWorld’s supporters may send their donations to Fondation Philanthropia, a Swiss public-benefit umbrella foundation. JustWorld International has no political or religious affiliation.
JUSTWORLD INTERNATIONAL IS REGISTERED WITH THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE & CONSUMER SERVICES. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435- 7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.