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The GenR Force for Change Summer Party

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Guests talk to IRC staff members about our International Programs alongside a "Where We Work Map" provided by Trip Advisor. Photo: Getty Images

The GenR: NY Force for Change Summer Party was an inspiring, impactful, and festive event to celebrate the work of the IRC. We raised over $155,000 to support the IRC’s work around the world.

We had a myriad of activities throughout the venue. Guests explored our Gallery Wall which told the story of a IRC refugee resettled in Texas by the IRC who was supported by our employment partnership with Trip Advisor. They learned more about the IRC’s programs from a ‘Where We Work’ map activity.  IRC staff members were on hand to answer questions about the programs in these countries. There was also an advocacy station, where partygoers were able to write to their Senators and Congress people about the importance of improving American immigration and refugee policies. 

Refugee Speaker Windila Balbone reflects on her experiences of fleeing Burkina Faso and finding a strong network of support through the IRC. Photo: Getty Images

During the program, IRC President and CEO David Miliband spoke about the current state of refugee and immigration policy in the U.S. and praised GenR members as models of humanitarian activists. Following David’s speech, former IRC client Windila Balbone brought tears to many as she recounted how she fled Burkina Faso in the face of violence. Windila participated in the IRC’s Leaders in Training (LIT) Program and credits this program with helping her to harness her talents towards achieving her potential. Last year, she published a book of poems entitled Universe of Broken Matters: Poems from the Heart. We then heard from GenR: NY member Rithesh Menon who recounted stories from the trip to the field that he went on with GenR to Sierra Leone. Rithesh’s anecdotes spoke to the eye-opening experience of visiting IRC programs around the world.

GenR: NY members pose for a group photo. Photo: Getty Images

Following the speeches, our auction was a smashing success. Christie’s auctioneer, Jennifer Wright, took the stage and led the auction which allowed guests to symbolically purchase job training for women, infant care kits, welcome meals, maternal care kits, and support for refugees and asylum-seekers as they apply for U.S. citizenship. During this auction, we raised more than $20,000 for IRC programs in NY and NJ!

After the auction, the awesome D.C.-based band Sahel took the stage, prompting many of the guests to make their way to the dance floor. Thank you to all who attended, also a huge thank you to our sponsors: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Airbnb, TripAdvisor, HBO, Jackie & Andre Klaber, MM.Lafleur, Boss32, Citadel NY, and Threads 4 Thought.  Also to our in-kind sponsors: All of Us, Bacardi, Ben & Jerry’s, and Modelo.  We look forward to seeing everyone at our next GenR event.