Goleta Gala Raises $21,000 for Kenya Projects

Goleta Gala Raises $21,000 for Kenya Projects

A May 7 benefit gala at the Elks Lodge in Goleta raised more than $21,000 to help build a girls’ school dormitory in a rural village in Kenya.

Members of the Goleta-based Friends of Woni, Kenya, nonprofit group said the evening event drew almost 200 guests and featured music by six-time Grammy winner Larry Dunn, former keyboard player for Earth, Wind and Fire, surprised the crowd with a unplanned performance.

“International entertainment by Chris Njuge, and Larry and Luisa Dunn and the Lois Mahalia Band kept the night full of energy and many people stayed late to dance,” said the president of the nonprfit group, Miguel Avila.

Gala attendess included: April Sutton, Kenya ambassador of Goodwill for Kenya; Luisa Dunn, singer and wife of Larry Dunn; and Maurice Nakitare, consul general of Kenya, along with his wife and daughters.

Friends of Woni has been raising funds for rural village projects in Kenya for the past decade. Central Coast author Diana Anderson delivered the keynote speech and described some of the group’s efforts.

“Thank you to all those who donated on Saturday night,” said Friends of Woni founder and Goleta resident Evie Treen. “For those who were not able to attend the event, we would love to accept your donation. Memberships are $25 and through a newsletter we will keep you abreast of the progress we are making to help provide clean drinking water and education in Kenya.

The nonprofit has no overhead and all donations go to Kenya education and water projects.

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CAPTION: Luisa and Larry Dunn, left with Alice Sutton and Maurice Nakitare at the Friends of Woni gala May 7 in Goleta.

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