Since volunteering in Guatemala this summer, Diane Phillips has been very creative and energetic in raising money toward the sponsorship gift fund, with the goal that all students could have a special gift this holiday season. She started a fundraiser called Operation Santa to raise $5,000 for holiday gifts for children in San Rafael. Her dream was to then host a party to hand out the gifts in Guatemala.
Diane started her online fundraiser last October, and in less than a month, she had already met her goal. She hosted events with friends in Boca Raton, Florida, and in Los Angeles and Pleasanton, California, including a comedy event, musical performances, raffle, and silent auction. By the time Diane left for Guatemala, more than 120 donors from all over the world and hundreds of people stateside at the events raised more than $10,000 for the children and families of San Rafael, more than double her original goal.
People gave much more than monetary gifts, too, says Diane. For example, she brought more than 500 hand-made Christmas cards from children in California ages 2 to 12 years old. The kids really got into the project, says Diane. “The cutest part was that on their own they brought stickers from home to put in the cards as extra gifts for the children,” she says.
Diane is the founder of Give Photography, a company that gives a portion of all proceeds to charity. Her connection to Guatemala began with her mother, who is a native Guatemalan; Diane has traveled to Guatemala every other Christmas since she was a little girl. Diane credits her parents for her instinct to give back as well. “Growing up, it was important to my parents that I was grateful for all blessings in life,” says Diane, “but more importantly to share those blessings with others.” This past summer was the first time Diane had volunteered in Guatemala, and it was then she got the inspiration for giving back to the country in a bigger way.
Many thanks to Diane and all of her friends and family for helping raise money and support for children in San Rafael. You can view more photos of the event here.