WELLINGTON, FLORIDA – The eighteenth annual JustWorld International event benefiting tens of thousands of children in need around the world moved online this year to allow for safe social distancing. With the dramatically reduced costs of a virtual event, this year’s gala set a new record for the organization and allowed for all funds raised during the online event to go directly to the education, nutrition and health programs that JustWorld provides for children living in marginalized communities.
“We were nervous about the virtual format but with the generous support of our gala co-chairs Maria Newman and Evelyn Treacy, we had confidence that this could be our best year yet,” said Mei Mei Newsome, Executive Director. “Their dedication coupled with the generosity of the equestrian community surpassed our goals and raised more than we had imagined. 100% of the funds raised during the Global Gala support life-changing projects. This has given a sense of security to our program leaders around the world who, without JustWorld, would be unable to continue supporting the lives of children and families who desperately need it.”
The JustWorld Global Gala opened with virtual “happy hours” hosted in various time zones throughout a 24-hour period. Hundreds of equestrians from the Americas, across Europe, and Asia joined together for an hour to socialize, celebrate, and toast to positivity in the year ahead. JustWorld Board Member and executive chef by profession, Daniel O’Connor, served as mixologist and led guests through the makings of the evening’s signature cocktail sponsored by Wölffer Estate Vineyard before guests such as renowned ringmaster Pedro Cebulka and Technical Official Ambassador Gerry Kuh, along with other prominent equestrians offered poignant toasts to the organization and Gala attendees.
Immediately following the happy hours, a 30-minute live broadcast premiered online featuring personal stories of some of the lives impacted by JustWorld partner projects. The broadcast also touched on some of the ways JustWorld has had to pivot since the pandemic, celebrated JustWorld Ambassador initiatives, and offered donors ways in which they could continue to help make a positive change in the world through JustWorld. The livestream concluded with a call from FEI President, Ingmar De Vos, who on behalf of the FEI made a generous donation and encouraged equestrians around the globe to do the same.
Announced just hours before the event, an anonymous donor pledged to match the first $75,000 received which energized supporters to make the night an even bigger success for the nonprofit.
“Year after year, we are so grateful for the commitment of Caryl Philips and Frank Zeiss continuing to join as our presenting sponsor. With their support, combined with the ongoing partnerships of fellow changemakers, Voltaire Design and Horseware Ireland, it’s an honor to witness the great change we’re making around the world and it magnifies the impact our equestrian sport can have when we work together,” said Jessica Newman, Founder. “And to our donors, our friends and to our JustWorld family, we are thrilled, surprised, humbled, and ever so thankful. Your support truly speaks to the generosity of our community.”
“It was an honor to be a part of this evening,” said Steven Wilde, international equestrian events announcer, who returned as the JustWorld Gala emcee. “This is my eighth year hosting the fundraiser and each year brings with it some kind of surprise; this year was no different. The support JustWorld received at the Global Gala will dramatically impact the good work they do in 2021 and beyond.”
Established in 2003, JustWorld was founded to provide equestrians a way to help fracture the cycle of poverty through funding carefully-vetted education and nutrition programs around the world. Thousands of Ambassadors from more than 40 countries have since committed to “ride for a cause” and assisted in numerous ways to support the organization. Equestrian-based companies and events worldwide support the JustWorld mission, and the governing body of the global equestrian sport, the FEI, has endorsed JustWorld by declaring the organization as an official charity partner.
Those who did not attend the virtual JustWorld Global Gala can replay it online: http://bit.ly/2021justworldglobalgala