New York Benefit Raises More Than $145,000

Inaugural New York Benefit Raises more than $145,000 for Sumba Foundation aid projects.
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Sag Harbor, N.Y., October 13, 2011 – The Sumba Foundation, a U.S.-based public charity dedicated to providing humanitarian aid to the people on the Indonesian island of Sumba, drew a sold-out crowd of more than 150 enthusiastic supporters and VIPs for its first charitable fundraising benefit in Sag Harbor, New York on September 27.

Over the past ten years, the Sumba Foundation has raised more than $2 million dollars for medical services, malaria eradication and training, wells for clean water, child malnourishment, education as well as income generation programs for the impoverished people of Sumba, Indonesia.

The event honored Claude (and his wife, Petra) Graves, co-founder of Sumba Foundation and owner of Nihiwatu Resort in Sumba. The fundraiser was a homecoming for New Jersey-born Graves, reconnecting with old friends after living more than 23 years on the Indonesian islands of Bali and Sumba. The event raised more than $145,000 which will go directly to support life-saving programs in Sumba.

“The event was a total success and exceeded our expectations,” said Sean Downs, Sumba Foundation co-founder and president. “The key to the evening was the graciousness of our hosts: Fred, Bettina and Louisa Stelle. They opened up their gorgeous waterfront home, inviting their friends, and helping organize the event. It was amazing to see the power of a group of like-minded volunteers gathering to help people in need in a far corner of the globe. The common element that brought many supporters together was our passion for surfing and our desire to leave the world a better place. We are thankful to everyone who attended, helped organize and donated items for the auction.”

The charitable fundraising event was held in a large tent overlooking the Hamptons town of Sag Harbor. It included a silent auction of one-of-a-kind items from the Indonesian islands of Bali and Sumba, a live auction featuring artwork and luxury homes/resorts around the world, gourmet food, an open bar, dancing and music.

Emcee for the event was television sports commentator and surfer Pat Parnell, host of FUEL TV’s daily series The Daily Habit. Parnell has traveled to Sumba several times, and has seen firsthand the work of the Sumba Foundation. He entertained the audience with his witty and insightful perspective. Energizing the crowd was C.K. Swett, a highly regarded, New York-based auctioneer whose career includes directing auctions at famed auction houses Christies and Phillips de Pury & Company.

The highlight of the evening was a short film by Aaron Krummel, Emmy award-winning director, photographer, producer and editor. Shot on location in Sumba during the summer of 2011, the film chronicled the challenges faced by Claude and Petra Graves following their arrival in Sumba in 1988 to develop the Nihiwatu Resort.

Their efforts eventually led to the creation of the Sumba Foundation in 2001. Krummel’s film vividly captured on the faces of the impoverished Sumbanese people and how they have been helped by the Foundation. The film featured the emotional story of Risky, an 6-year-old boy profiled on his journey to have life-saving brain surgery in New Zealand arranged by Sumba Foundation.

Located in the Indonesian Archipelago, Sumba is an island of 500,000 people. The Sumba Foundation is dedicated to helping the Sumbanese to improve their quality of life by providing many of the basics western society takes for granted, including clean water, health services, malaria eradication and training, child malnourishment, education for their children and employment opportunities.

The tribal people of Sumba are extremely poor, and in desperate need of basic malaria diagnosis and treatment. Malaria is the leading killer of women and children on the island, which has the highest incidence of malaria outside of Africa. Baseline surveys have found 65 percent of children below the age of five years had malaria, and up to 45 percent of mothers have lost at least one child to malaria.

For more information, contact sean@sumbafoundation.org, or click here to donate.

About The Sumba Foundation

The Sumba Foundation is a U.S.-based public, nongovernmental 501(c)(3) charity. The Foundation is dedicated to helping the indigenous people of Sumba by improving the quality of their lives through better health, education, clean water, malaria control and employment opportunities, a key component in achieving the long-term goal of lessening the oppressive impacts of poverty.

Poverty means more than simply not having enough money; above all, it means not having the opportunity to make a better life for the future. The Sumba Foundation aims to be a force for positive change and to give the people much needed hope for a better future.

Projects Update

From opening our Learning Development Center to renovating a water project and helping to restore people’s vision—there is a lot to report from Sumba!