The GEANCO Foundation held its annual Hollywood fundraiser on Thursday, October 10, at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles with a star-studded attendance.
With peppy Nigerian Highlife music playing in the background and a premium bar awaiting guests, the GEANCO Foundation’s annual gala was a sumptuous affair, situated in a private area of the luxe SLS Hotel in Los Angeles. The purpose? To rally support for vulnerable women and children in Nigeria. Although Nigeria has one of the fastest growing and most stable economies in Africa, it still suffers from the challenges of a developing nation, with infrastructure unfit for use, as well as limited resources for education. Philanthropist and Oscar-winner Charlize Theron (Monster, Atomic Blonde, Mad Max: Fury Road) joined Golden Globe-nominee David Oyelowo (Gringo, Selma, Queen of Katwe) to throw their support behind this important organization that is doing real work in the country, positively affecting the lives of thousands through their construction and education projects, especially focused on children and maternal needs.
Guests showed out and supported a silent auction than included wine, exotic holidays, and posh dinner’s in some of LA’s hottest restaurants. On the red carpet, appearances by actor David Oyelowo (accompanied by his wife, friends, and children), actress and rising philanthropist Joy McElveen (dressed in Ghanian designer Jagne), GEANCO founder Afam Onyema, along with Onyema family members, as well as media and industry heavyweights.
Charlize and David sat for a keynote conversation about philanthropy and Africa. GEANCO supports and empowers girls in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. The family-run program is a labor of love, and requires constant attention. The progress GEANCO has made in the last few years is astounding, and the possibilities are growing.
Charlize and David offered candid impressions of being African celebrities on the global stage, and accessing a unique relationship with African, Charlize hailing from South Africa and David coming from Nigeria. “Celebrity is power.” The two celebrated actors shared stories of hope and reality- including recognizing the importance of history in informing the future.
“My dear friend Charlize is an inspirational force of nature,” said David Oyelowo. “I am honored to headline this event with her as we highlight the challenges and opportunities of our philanthropic work in Africa.” Guests also enjoyed a dance performance before the keynote began.
Oscar-nominated actor and 2015 Global Promise honoree Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange, 12 Years A Slave, The Martian) was the Honorary Gala Chair. Sponsors include Creative Artists Agency, Netflix and Leaf Group. The Platinum Audio Sponsor is nedl.
Event proceeds support GEANCO’s David Oyelowo Leadership Scholarship for Girls, which provides tuition, medical care and professional psychological support to young female victims of terrorism and gender inequality. Donations will also underwrite GEANCO’s medical missions, which provide free joint replacements and minimally invasive surgeries to poor Nigerians.
Guests enjoyed an opportunity to see the real-world actions of the organization, including the construction and renovation of maternity wards in Nigeria, the planning and completion of 35 knee surgeries in Nigeria performed by qualified doctors, as well as a variety of celebrity collaborations, including raising money with Star Wars-themed contests and video messages from stars such as Benedict Cumberbatch. Demonstrating the power of communication and celebrity for the good of the people, GEANCO is clearly committed to the woman and girls of Nigeria, by all means necessary. Guests were also treated to a video message from some of the girls who have benefited from the program.
An LA-based nonprofit, GEANCO saves and transforms lives in Africa. It organizes surgical missions and advances maternal and infant health in Nigeria. GEANCO also donates essential resources to schools, and its David Oyelowo Leadership Scholarship for Girls provides comprehensive academic and social support to young female victims of terrorism and gender inequality in Nigeria.