Whew, what a couple of days! Yesterday I was in the room with Jerry Seinfeld for his promotional tour for his new animated movie 4-years in the making: Bee Movie. Directors and executives from DreamWorks were also on hand to take us through the clips. I give this movie 5 out of a possible 5 stingers. Each and every clip was fall-out-of-your-chair hilarious!
So mommies and daddies, grab the kiddies, and Divas grab your girlfriends for the November 2nd opening. You are gonna LOVE Bee Movie! Jerry (we’re on a first name basis now of course) plays the main character, and talents like Matthew Broderick, Renee Zellweger and even Oprah round out the cast.
Other mega news is that last night was also the opening party for San Francisco’s very own… BARNEYS!!! The store is open today for biz. With a first-class Bloomingdale’s and now a Barneys (I haven’t been in yet so can’t say what class it is), a west coast Diva need hardly make the trek back east!
Why oh why didn’t I attend the Barneys opening party? Because I was at a Spark (do you love our new and improved website?) event, of course! Last night, we had yet another mindblowing installment of our Speaker Series. I thought it couldn’t get any better than Sakeena Yacoobi‘s May visit, but this time none other than Kiva.org founder Jessica Flannery and Village Enterprise Fund‘s Board Chair, Debbie Hall!
Because one of our two themes this year is microfinance, Jessica and Debbie were THE PERFECT Sparkling Divas to invite.
Now microfinance is a broad term that has to do with giving grants, loans, training, and other help to severely impoverished people (did you know that half the world lives on less than $2 a day??) for whom just even $25 means the difference between starvation and security. If you and three friends each donate this amount, a hundred dollars might mean that a woman in Uganda might be able to buy a sewing machine.
Kiva.org takes this VEF microfinance model and adds a dash of dashing technology allowing lenders to interact with individual borrowers. That’s right, borrowers. And as a lender, you will most likely get all your money back plus learn about an inpsiring story from somewhere around the world! Amazing!
Because Kiva has revolutionized giving by allowing you to connect with real people and their real stories and choosing which person to support. This goes far beyond just writing a check to a nonprofit. After browsing through thousands of specific business plans–the dreams of people the world over–you might decide to help a butcher in Bulgaria, a seamstress in Uganda and a taxi driver in Guatemala! Thus, almost like a foundation, you have your own portfolio! Kiva allows you to keep up with your borrowers’ progress as well.
You know who loves this idea? Oprah and former President Bill Clinton! The two were guests on Oprah’s show recently, and Clinton even included Kiva in his new book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World.
And how small a world are good works? Jessica’s opening remarks were a heartfelt tribute to her mentors, Debbie and founder Brian Lehnen! Jessica got her microfinance start working with VEF in East Africa for several months after pestering Brian for multiple lunch dates to learn more about his vision. And now she runs her own nonprofit. Divas inspiring other Divas…it’s what we’re all about! It’s something we can all do: ask someone we admire to share fifteen minutes of their time to learn more. Fabulous!
It’s nights like these that make me proud to be on Spark’s board (I can’t wait for our October 12, 2007 Black and Pink Ball that will raise money for girls’ education programs in San Francisco and Vietman! Girls’ education is our other theme this year.), awed to be a part of the constantly evolving philanthropic world, and thankful to be able to share my A-HA moments with my Divas! :)
And with the San Francisco Symphony’s Opening Gala tonight with a gorgeous party and performance by one of the world’s most gifted opera Divas, Renee Fleming, I will have had a most wonderful 24-hours right here in my hometown!