Grace Farms holds second annual benefit featuring India.Arie
NEW CANAAN — Grace Farms held their second annual benefit this past Saturday which featured Grammy award-winning India.Arie and raised $500,000 for charity.
Sharon Prince, chair and president of Grace Farms Foundation, along with benefit Co-Chairs Jay Fielden and Peter Hunsinger, welcomed more than 350 arts, culture and business leaders, philanthropists and dignitaries to the Foundation’s second-anniversary event.
The event at Grace Farms in New Canaan raised $500,000 and secured corporate partnerships in support of “Unchain,” a first-of-its-kind global campaign to help eradicate modern-day slavery, which aims to launch in 2019.
Upon arrival, guests were invited to explore Grace Farms’ award-winning SANAA-designed River building and enjoy a floating dinner with specialty courses and cocktails. Throughout the grounds, visitors encountered an experiential walkway featuring human-shaped mirrors representing the 40 million unseen victims of slavery and had the opportunity to participate in Shazam augmented reality experiences that unlocked stories from both victims and traffickers, shedding light on the realities of modern-day slavery.
The evening’s formal program included a special video message from Sen. Richard Blumenthal; remarks by Rich Riley, CEO of Shazam; Sharon Prince, chair and president of Grace Farms Foundation; and Antonio Zappulla, COO of Thomson Reuters Foundation. Trafficking survivors Tina Frundt, founder and executive director of Courtney’s House, named to the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking and Aklima Bibi, English barrister, both received standing ovations after sharing their stories.
“Together, we have a rare opportunity to change the mindsets and actions of individuals, corporations, and governments,” said Prince. “The time is now. Join us and accelerate the movement to unchain the world and disrupt modern slavery.”
“Everyday I have to convince people that my trafficking experience happened here in the United States,” said Frundt.
Carl Preller and Laura Johnston from Geometry Global unveiled initial concepts and plans for next year’s unprecedented awareness campaign that aims to bring together corporations, NGOs, influencers, governmental agencies, and digital and media partners, to create systemic change. The presentation included a first look at the campaign’s hummingbird logo and the slogan “Freedom needs fighters.”
“We are at the tipping point,” said Preller. “We need to move people from awareness to action, and together we can finally put an end to modern-day slavery.”
The evening ended with a moving concert by India.Arie.
“My intention is to spread love, healing, peace, and joy,” said Arie. “The door should be open for everyone.”
The program was emceed by Ambassador Luis C.deBaca and Grace Farms Foundation’s Krishna Patel, two of the country’s preeminent experts on modern slavery.