The green glitterati recently celebrated the launch of Empowered By Light, a nonprofit foundation that is delivering renewable energy light to Africa. Held at Roe in San Francisco’s SOMA, the sold-out launch party was co-hosted by SHFT co-founders actor Adrian Grenier and Peter Glatzer and raised funds for the organization’s first project Solar: Zambia.
More than 250 guests sipped VeeV eco-friendly cocktails and sustainable eco.love Wines while ogling the Pharox solar-powered LED light kits with built-in phone chargers that traveled to Zambia in Africa this month. VIP guests received stylish Lifefactory glass water bottles as a special gift, while a forest green Tesla electric sports car marked the party’s entrance.
SHFT.com, the Webby-award winning web property founded by Adrian Grenier and Peter Glatzer to make eco-conscious living cool, is partnering with Empowered By Light to enable citizens to buy one Pharox solar light and gift one for free to Africa. Many inspired guests elected to make donations on the spot with Square, the hit technology from Twitter-founder Jack Dorsey that helps people pay via their mobile phones and iPads.
The Empowered By Light Foundation was founded by Rabobank EVP Marco Krapels, Moira Hanes, and Gianluca Signorelli, Rabobank’s VP for Renewable Energy Finance. They were inspired by a New York Times article by Elisabeth Rosenthal describing how children in Africa improved their grades when given access to solar-powered light. When Warner Philips and Alex Nigg from Lemnis Lighting shared their Pharox Solar kit (an innovative product that combines an LED light, solar panel and phone charger), the foundation launched its first project to send 5,000 solar-powered LED light/cell phone charge kits to families.
If you haven't seen one yet, the Pharox by Lemnis Lighting is really the coolest LED light on the market. It has the soft light and shape of an old incandescent, yet it is a thoroughly modern LED bulb.
Marco Krapels, fresh off the plane from Zambia, gave a passionate speech at the launch party about how the solar-powered LED lights are already making a difference for communities in Africa. Instead of spending over 20% of their income on toxic kerosene lighting which causes lung cancer, families are now able to gather around the clean light from the Pharox kits and study and read into the night.
“Over 1.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to electricity,” said co-founder Marco Krapels. “And in rural Zambia, only 2% of people have grid power. With a relatively small investment, we can give back to Africa and dramatically improve the lives of Zambian children and farmers, allowing families to leapfrog decades of technology and participate in the benefits of the modern world.”
SHFT co-founder Peter Glatzer said, “Adrian and I are thrilled to be a part of this initiative. Empowered By Light is an inspired, environmentally-sound way to empower so many families who live without electricity. Every so often a project like this comes along that we feel compelled to be a part of."
A special shout out to the event's sponsors who included Rabobank, Lemnis Lighting, Sungevity, the Clif Bar Family Foundation, CleanPath Ventures, SHFT, SPG Solar, Roe, W San Francisco, Opower, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, A Band of Wives, and Global Green USA.
If you are interested in becoming involved, SHFT is offering a wonderful opportunity. If you buy one Pharox solar light kit, you can gift one free to Africa. See the Pharox on SHFT here.
I was thrilled to serve on the event steering committee for Light Up The Night. A huge thank you to everyone who participated and attended this spirited and inspirational party! www.empoweredbylight.org
Press Wrap Up
Here is a collection of stories on Empowered By Light and the event:
San Francisco Chronicle: Empowered By Light's Solar Zambia
San Francisco Examiner: Stars power efforts
944 Magazine: Light Up The Night in San Francisco
The Bold Italic: Lighting Up The Night