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Over 150 Chicagoans Gather at Schubas for Tunes for Tanzania

By Emily Blanco

Last night, on Tuesday, Nov. 30, Young Ambassadors for Opportunity (YAO) held its first-ever Tunes for Tanzania. This was a benefit concert featuring local bands who came together to help raise money and awareness for Opportunity International’s microfinance work in Tanzania.

Schubas Tavern, in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, was packed with over 150 guests to support this great cause! With appetizers from the buffet in one hand and a drink in the other, attendees were able to mingle with like-minded young professionals, and purchase raffle tickets for nine different items.

The night started out with a performance by Rachel McClusky, who got the crowd excited with her original pop music. Next on the stage was the Ivory Coats. They played an array of their original ‘electrok’ music, and lead singer Rich Thies shared about his personal passion for microfinance initiatives in the developing world. Before the headlining band took the stage, YAO’s brand new video played on the screen at the front of the room, showing guests how Opportunity empowers clients working their way out of poverty.

Then, the raffle winners’ tickets were drawn, for prizes like Cubs tickets, salon gift certificates, handmade jewelry, dinner and a concert at Schubas, a personal training session, a wardrobe consultant, and a much-anticipated pair of tickets to a U2 concert. The raffle alone raised $560 for Tanzania! Once all of the prizes had been raffled, the live auction for a week in Breckenridge, Colo. started. Bidding quickly escalated until it reached the winning amount of $850. Plus, every guest got to take home a copy of Mark Lutz’s book UnPoverty: Rich Lessons from the Working Poor.

Your Villain My Hero started playing, and immediately got the crowd involved. They started off with many covers of popular songs, so guests could sing and dance along to well-known tunes. The five band members brought a lot of energy to the stage and kept the crowd moving as they played their first single “I Don’t Need a Boyfriend.”

All in all, the event raised a total of $15,695 for Opportunity’s microfinance work in Tanzania. The event was made possible by our generous sponsors JMA and YAO founding board member Nathan Popkins, as well as friends of YAO that included: Northern Illinois Elevator Inspection, Inc.; Dennis and Mary Lou Zbreski; and Sarah and Ben Ribbens. Additionally, 25 volunteers provided invaluable help, not only on Tuesday night, but also in planning, preparation, and securing the raffle items in the weeks leading up to the event.

I took a few quick photos with my camera, and they are all on Facebook (and I’ve posted a few here). But YAO would like to thank our professional photographer, Jenn Winter of J. Winter Photography, and videographers, Sarah Krusen and Dan Chen of Chennergy. ‘Like’ us on Facebook to see all the new photos and videos as they’re added.

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