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Unlocking Doors to Potential Donors

The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

A few months ago I had coffee with a very good friend of mine, Mark Tuinman, in London. Mark lives in the Bahamas. We spoke for some time and he suggested that Rena and I should come one day to visit him and his wife, Katie, in the Bahamas. He told me about the very small Jewish community there with less than 20 families, and I was telling him about ESRA and the amazing work we do in our projects. One thing led to another and I asked him if he would be interested in organizing a small fundraising event when I come. His response was positive.

Some weeks later, we were planning a trip to New York, and I rang Mark and asked him if he was serious about setting up the fundraiser as it would require a lot of organization and him calling on his Jewish contacts. He confirmed that he was happy to do it, and a date in November 2015 was set. He even agreed to co-sponsor the evening. He then organized that the event would be held in the Bahamian National Art Gallery which had a very interesting exhibition on at that time by the Bahamian artist, Brent Malone.

All was set, and Rena and I were on our way, armed with a PowerPoint presentation prepared by Terry Morris and a short movie showing the Students Build a Community projects prepared by Sally Halon. The event started at 18:00 in a beautiful colonial building with 16 people attending. We began with cocktails which enabled Rena and I to circulate and speak to many of the guests. Then the curator of the Gallery took us on a personal tour of the exhibition which everyone found of great interest. The artist had lived in the Bahamas all his life, and in eight rooms they covered his works from his early years in art school and following his development into becoming a very competent and successful artist.

Bali Woman and Flamingoes by local artist Brent Malone

Then we went into a room where I gave my presentation and showed the movie. This was followed by a Q&A session, and I could feel that the guests were genuinely interested in what we are doing. As expected, the questions became political and Rena took over. After this we moved into another room where we found two beautifully prepared round tables. During a delightful dinner Rena and I sat at separate tables carefully directing the discussions towards what ESRA is doing to help the disadvantaged communities in our four Students Build a Community projects. As the evening ended, one of the couples present confirmed to me that their charity foundations would fully fund the fifth Students Build a Community project that we hope will start in conjunction with the Netanya municipality in September 2016.

A table set for dinner

Why am I writing this article? There is only one reason - and that is to illustrate that Mark was the 'key' – the person who enabled me to gain access to an otherwise inaccessible source of potential ESRA supporters and donors.

I am positive that many of us have contacts via friends or family in London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Johannesburg or wherever, who would be prepared to help us organize a similar event. Please help us to make contact with these people so we can spread the ESRA name worldwide and gain new interest and support for the wonderful work we are doing together.

Please let ESRA 'borrow your keys!'



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Sunday, 19 May 2024

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