Party for a Cause

In December, as is always the case at the end of the year, I got booked to shoot several events. Most were company holiday parties. One, though, was a party for a special cause. Two causes, actually.

A long-standing corporate client of mine was sponsoring a fundraiser dinner, to be hosted in a private home. The fundraiser was to support two foundations that provide services largely to women and girls–Tahirih Justice Center (providing legal services for refugees) and The Mona Foundation (providing education services abroad).

The event was great, and was both more fun to photograph and more rewarding than a traditional corporate event. The intimate home venue made the vibe relaxed, festive and social. There was home-cooked food, lots to drink, and everyone was in great spirits.

You may have noticed a famous face in that last photo. The event had TWO celebrity guests: actor Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute from “The Office”) and musician Andy Grammer. They are pictured on the left and right, respectively, in the photo below.

Rainn and Andy were not just there to lend their famous faces to the fundraising efforts. They are both intensely involved with the foundations being featured. When it came time for speeches, they each spoke eloquently about their respective causes. Tahirih Executive Director Layli Miller-Muro also gave a moving presentation. The speeches gave everyone an opportunity to understand why the event and its causes were so important to so many women and girls around the world.

After the networking, meal time and speeches, things drew to a close on a light and entertaining note. Andy Grammer gave a live and entertaining musical performance, after being introduced formally by the evening’s host.

Andy was a hit, particularly amongst a certain demographic…

As people wrapped up the evening and headed out, everyone had the opportunity to take a “red carpet” photo with the celebrity guests, in a portrait station I had set up near the home’s entrance. Andy’s young (and not-so-young) fans took full advantage.

At the very end, I took a portrait of the two celebrity guests with the host. As I reflected on the evening, it was more than just a corporate event, or even a fun and entertaining event. It was an opportunity to see people and organizations doing meaningful work to address important but underserved issues.  I decided to donate a portion of my fee for the evening to the two foundations being represented that evening. I felt good about the gift, and grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this special event.