Graça Machel Tops SHARED INTEREST'S 2015 Honors; Others Are Jo Menell , Anne H. Hess and Craig Kaplan

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Graça Machel with Nelson Mandela

Shared Interest, a leading New York-based nonprofit social investment fund, will honor former first lady of South Africa and Mozambique, Graça Machel, renowned international advocate of African women and children’s rights; Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Jo Menell and Street Talk, his groundbreaking South African television series; and New York City human rights activists, Anne H. Hess and Craig Kaplan, at its 21st Anniversary Awards Gala on Thursday, May 14 at 6:00PM, at New York City’s ESPACE.

Distinguished U.S. and African leaders and top diplomats will gather for this celebratory annual event that recognizes leaders for their commitment and ongoing work towards economic democracy and development in Southern Africa. The black-tie affair will begin with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and dessert.

“This year we have the special opportunity to honor leaders who have helped bring today’s South Africa into being,” said Donna Katzin, executive director of Shared Interest. “They share our interest in development and investment partnerships with the economically excluded South Africans and their neighbors who are reshaping their communities and nations, and making their dreams a reality.”

Graça Machel will be honored for Empowering Africa’s Women, and a lifetime of work that began as Mozambique’s Minister of Education and Culture to stewardship of Nelson Mandela legacy and through her own foundation, The Graca Machel Trust which works to eliminate gender inequality, uphold the rights of children, and empower women and their communities in Southern Africa and beyond.

Gala co-chair, Peggy Dulany explains, “This is Graça Machel’s first public appearance in New York since the death of her husband, Nelson Mandela. She is ready to talk about her commitment for the rest of her life to improve the lives of women and girls, particularly in Africa. With her inspirational lead, we can all make a difference.”

Street Talk TV and it’s co-founder, Jo Menell, will be honored for Raising the Voices of South Africa’s Next Generation through their achievements in increasing social awareness and building a conscious and inclusive society through media.

One of New York City’s most progressive and politically-active couples Anne H. Hess and Craig Kaplan will be honored for Advancing Global and U.S. Human Rights for their decades of devotion to an array of social change initiatives, ranging from the movements to end apartheid and uphold the rights of women and low-income communities from New York to Nicaragua -- to national and international campaigns for labor and political rights.

Award-winning journalist and talk show host Felicia Mabuza-Suttle will serve as Evening Host of the gala with a special musical performance by renowned South African bass player, Bakhiti Kumalo and friends. This year’s major sponsors are The Bergman Family, Susan and Nicholas Pritzker, City University of New York (CUNY), South African Airlines, Synergos, United Methodist Women and Walden Asset Management.

This year’s event chairs are Peggy Dulany Co-Founder and Chair of the Synergos Institute and Vincent and Anne Mai, Chairman and CEO of the Cranemere Group Limited. Honorary Chairs are the Honorable and Mrs. David Dinkins, Danny Glover, H.E. Ambassador and Mrs. Kingsley Mamabolo, H.E. Ambassador Zwelethu and Mrs. Mnisi , H.E. Ambassador Antonio and Mrs. Gumende and Sheila Sisuslu.

The Gala host committee includes: Alan Altschuler; Thomas C. Barry; Jean Carey Bond; Brian Keegan; Rachel Knight; Sarah and Victor Kovner; Julie Kushner; Don Lowery; Prexy Nesbitt; Harriet Olson; Pamela Palanque-North; Susan and Nicholas Pritzker; Sandra and Deven Rand; Michael Ratner; Robert Zevin, Mary Menell Zients and Sthu Zunga.

For ticket information, please visit or call COMPASS EVENTS at 212-843-5750 or [email protected].

Individual gala tickets begin at $500, table packages begin at $5,000.

Shared Interest’s mission is to mobilize the resources for Southern Africa's economically disenfranchised communities to sustain themselves and build equitable nations. Shared Interest’s loan guarantees and technical support have benefited more than two million black South Africans – the majority of them women. Shared Interest has never lost a cent of its investors’ interest or principal.

In 2014, Shared Interest launched its first guarantees in Mozambique and Swaziland. This year work expands to other countries in Southern Africa where it is most needed.


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