The African Library Project’s 2022 annual fundraiser gala, Harambee!, was held in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco at the Pearl on the evening of October 22, 2022. The evening is a festive opportunity that raises awareness and funds in support of ALP’s activities and programs. Ensuring that the evening was memorable were performances by the Oakland Drummers; music by DJ Russell of the World Famous; MC and Auctioneer, JaMarr John Johnson; remarks by Book Drive Organizer, Vaibhav Jayakumar; and an inspiring keynote delivered by Tumisang Ramarea. Overall, the event raised nearly $122,000 in support of the changing lives of youth, book by book.
Attendees enjoyed cocktail hour with light appetizers while perusing and bidding on 70+ auction items donated by over nearly 30 businesses and individuals. Auction items included experiences, stays, wines, sports memorabilia, handmade items, books, and more! There were roughly 30 items available in an online auction, offering ALP community members not able to attend Harambee! live to participate in the festivities.
JaMarr John Johnson, the evening’s MC and Auctioneer, delivered a lively welcome and introduction into the evening’s festivities, setting the vibe and putting the “fun” in fundraiser. Personally, inspired by the mission and activities of ALP, JaMarr shared his daughter’s commitment to becoming a Book Drive Organizer in 2023. He also wowed attendees with his personal story and interest in ALP.
Chris Bradshaw, ALP Founder, took to the podium to present two 2022 Compassion in Action Awards. This is an award designated for volunteers and Book Drive Organizers who show exemplary commitments and outstanding contributions toward ALP’s work. Recipients of the 2022 Compassion in Action Award were Claire Hubel and Vaibhav Jayakumar. Claire has coordinated 428 book drive organizers for nine containers. She has collected, sorted, packed, and shipped books for over 100 libraries, in addition to storing, packing and shipping ALP’s Librarian-Teacher manuals and Junior African Writers Series books. She also personally handmade the table decorations for the evening that were all snapped up by attendees in exchange for a donation.
Chris Bradshaw with Claire Hubel
Chris Bradshaw with Vaibhav Jayakumar
The second award winner, Vaibhav Jayakumar has been instrumental in creating ten libraries in the past five years. He is also never short on creative fundraising ideas. Some of his fundraising ideas have led to him selling permissions from his family’s permission tree, or even growing tomato plants from seedlings and giving them out as ‘thank yous’ to his donors. Vaibhav has also shown exceptional leadership skills by leading his peers in completing smaller book drives to make into libraries.
Closing out the evening’s remarks, Tumisang Ramarea shared his inspiring personal story. He was born and raised in Kanye, Botswana. Mafhikana Primary School, where Ramarea graduated, received a library from the African Library Project in 2008. He has been an avid reader for as far back as he can remember. From Botswana, he completed his International Baccalaureate Diploma at the United World College of Costa Rica on a scholarship. He went on to attend Stanford University on a Mastercard Foundation Scholarship. Ramarea holds both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford. He currently works as a Product Manager for a San Francisco based web3 gaming studio. When not helping build interactive and immersive technology experiences for the next internet, Ramarea is passionate about access to education opportunities for young people from underprivileged backgrounds in Botswana.
Following Ramarea’s remarks, the Oakland Drummers performed rhythmic and celebratory songs transporting attendees out of San Francisco. Following the performance, JaMarr facilitated the live auction and “raise your paddle” portion of the evening. There were six items in the live auction, including ALP’s signature Insider’s Trip in connection with its ALP Partners Summit.There were several friendly bidding wars that grabbed the attention and fever of attendees. The spirit of the night was rampant with enthusiasm and inspiration from the festivities.
Harambee, Swahili for “all pull together”, is a Kenyan tradition tied to community fundraising events that build and maintain communities. The African Library Project’s Harambee! Has been an annual fundraiser in support of its mission to change lives book by book, together with partners in Africa and North American volunteers, to create, improve, and sustain libraries in African communities. This year’s event was organized by the ALP Planning Committee and staff. Sincere thanks to those on the Planning Committee, Chris Bradshaw, Sindy Braun, and Julie Freeman, and staff members, Akilah-Aarmand Hazlip, Brandon Pezzino, and Lauren Small, for their hard work and dedication in planning the 2022 Harambee!.
If you would like to support the African Library Project, please consider making a donation. There is no donation too small, all donors are Literacy Champions. Every donation is a generous contribution that enables ALP to continue to grow and support its goals. In 2023, the African Library Project hopes to create 330 new libraries throughout the countries it is currently active in that includes Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, and Uganda.
Special Thanks to our Auction & Marketplace Donors: American Girl, Bella Winery, Endeavor Safaris, Marcus Bookstore, Olive This, Olive That & Plant Dazzler, Oakland Athletics, Pedroncelli Winery, San Francisco Ballet, Seghesio Family Vineyards, San Jose Sharks, Zulu Safaris, Sindy Braun, Chris Bradshaw, Tina Corse, Sharna Fey & Deb Stallings, Julie Freeman, Nancy Beth Garrett, Cathy & Brian Harber, Claire & Paul Hubel, Julie King, Cathy Kruetter, Kat Kronenberg, Jo Anne Larson, Paul Matalucci, Steve & Cindy Rowe, Marc Shulman, and Alice Valentine
Harambee! is African Library Project’s annual gala. This gala is a festive fundraiser, featuring a live and silent auction.
Harambee is Swahili for “all pull together”, and it is a Kenyan tradition tied to community fundraising events that build and maintain communities. Stay tuned for the Save the Date for 2023!
Jaamar John Johnson
The Oakland Hand Drums (African Drummers and Dancers) and DJ Russell of the World Famous
Photos taken during the night are viewable in an album on our Flickr account here. Photography was provided in-kind by Xinlei Li.
Admission to the gala included cocktail hour and a family-style dinner.