The Sudanese Falafels were flowing, music from Samica & Rusty Richshaw was bumping and the Greenbar Distillery kept the craft cocktails pouring.
Last week Saturday, November 11th we hosted our second "Grant it Forward" Fundraiser. Aside from having a blast, we were able to raise over $3000 dollars in funding that night! The generous donations will allow us to fund two more micro-loans! Currently we have funded 3 with one more on the way. See our loan recipients here.
Immigranted volunteers - Stacy Lee and Jacqueline Smith greeted and ushered patrons into the The Greenbar Distillery. Away from the hustle and bustle of Sunset Blvd, the industrial neighborhood of DTLA served as a welcomed respite for many of the locals and other guests that traveled to attend.
The ambience was reminiscent of distilleries from the past but with a modern twist. A contemporary bar stocked with speciality cocktails made Greenbar seem trendier than most. Less than 10 feet away we could see giant oak barrels where delicious spirits are aged to perfection. You couldn't ask for a better place to host an event.
While people enjoyed speciality tequilas, whiskeys, rums and vodkas, Samica graced us with her musical prowess. Her angelic voice accompanied with the acoustic guitar set a gentle yet subtle upbeat tone for our evening. Her influences are the late and great Amy Winehouse and Sara Bareilles. Although her music is reminiscent of her idols, she has her own flavor.
Board Member, Jesus Diaz started the evening as our Maestro of Ceremonies. His life story is unique as all our stories are. At the same time, it's important to share because it's precisely why our organization exists.
Jesus was born in Mexico and started his humble beginnings when he immigrated to the United States. With a strong work ethic and hunger to overcome obstacles - which was instilled in him as a child, he made education a central focused theme around his life. He received his BA, MA and Clinical Doctorate from The University of Southern California. Currently he's an Associate Professor of Research at his Alma Mater. To call him a devout Trojan would be an understatement.
Board Member Ridaa Murad also shared his Immigranted story and why this organization is close to his heart. Please read about him and our other Board Members here.
Jesus invited our second loan recipient, Sherlan Lord to the the stage. Jesus and Sherlan share a similar passion in that they both regard mental health as a serious issue that more people should talk about because more would be helped.
Because of our interest-free loan, Sherlan is able pay off a portion of her tuition. With her own savings, she is now able to join a study abroad program in Africa where she will conduct research and volunteer as a humanitarian aid.
Sherlan is from Belize and currently finishing a Psychology degree from Pitzer College. She hopes to pursue graduate studies and eventually help her Belizean community in the mental health field. Even though a myriad of studies have been researched and published regarding this topic, in Belize the issue is still tender and frowned upon. People that are vulnerable to these problems are often shamed and chastised. Sherlan hopes to change this. See her Immigranted story here.
To close off the speaking portion of our evening, Founder Vishal Sharma took the stage to give thanks to all that made the evening possible. He also discussed why Co-Founder, Mohit Jain and him started the organization. In short, their motivation was sparked through a series of events regarding the unstable political climate. Instead of complaining about what is happening which is far too often commonplace, they decided to make change happen and answer the call to their unfulfilled questions.
Only less than a year later, Immigranted has done 3 outreach events - one of which where we partnered with Uber & funded loans for 3 students with another one on the way!
Rusty Rickshaw, a Los Angeles based Indian Rock-Fusion band closed our evening with uptempo retro beats. Indian classics were mixed with drums and the electric guitar. Picture Metallica and Ravi Shankar playing the philharmonic - and you can get an idea of this truly unique blend that paints homage to Indian classics mixed with rock and roll!
All in all the evening was a success. We wanted to thank our donors, those who bought tickets and contributed at the event. Without your support there is no Immigranted. We will continue to make positive strides in education as we fund our next student.