Open Hearts Charity Event for Children Living in Poverty

Our annual fundraiser to raise money for children living in poverty was a success, thanks to our dedicated community of volunteers, sponsors, and donors!





Top San Diego Charity Hosts Annual Fundraiser

Unity 4 Orphans hosts an annual fundraiser, and this year’s gala was particularly memorable. Our theme was “Open Hearts” and our supporters did just that, raising a grand total of $127,000 for the love of the vulnerable children whose lives will be touched by our programs in Mexico and Nicaragua.

volunteers at the Unity 4 Orphans Open Hearts fundraiser gala

Nearly 200 attendees gathered at The Thursday Club in Point Loma, San Diego, on a Sunday afternoon and were greeted by a beautiful venue, provided by event hosts Shannon & Ayham Skaf and sponsored by American Eye Associates. The 25 volunteers, who arrived many hours ahead of the event to prepare the venue, created an ambiance that focused on the precious children we serve. Seven local business sponsors gave towards underwriting the event and another 27 donated goods and services to make the evening special for all who attended!

“This is the first year that we’ve done this outside of our home, because it gets bigger and better and more awesome every year!”

– Host and Sponsor, Dr. Ayham Skaf, M.D.

A Community Opens Their Hearts to Impoverished Children

attendees at the Unity 4 Orphans Open Hearts fundraiser gala

For the fifth year, Unity 4 Orphans’ annual spring fundraiser drew together many people around San Diego and beyond for a shared cause. The theme, Open Hearts, was clear to see–and feel–as the room was filled with pictures of the children’s sweet faces. Often, we think of vulnerable children and orphans as a distant problem over which we have little control, but Unity 4 Orphans aims to change that, one child at a time.

“We hope your heart is opened up to how you can change the lives of orphaned children.”

– Founder Joe Brandi

One Person’s Vision Can Change the Lives of Orphans

Joe Brandi giving a speech at the Unity 4 Orphans Open Hearts fundraiser gala

U4O’s founder, Joe Brandi, gave an impassioned speech about what led him to create this now thriving nonprofit that moved everyone to consider how they, too, can make a difference. From his personal experiences of having his heart opened to how impoverished children live around the world, combined with a health scare and struggle of his own, Joe knew God was calling him to DO something.

“I felt God asking, have you maxed out for me? Have you stepped into those dark places to give all you could to make this world a better place?”

– Founder Joe Brandi

The positive energy in the room was contagious, and the hope of providing brighter futures to children who need it most led to many meaningful conversations that will stay with us for a long time to come and lead to further ways to serve the kids.

We are incredibly grateful to our Event Sponsors!

Dr. Ayham & Shannon Skaf, American Eye Associates
Nicol Medina, Coldwell Banker West
Casey LeBlanc, New Venture Escrow
Travis Ledford, Redline European
Dr. Alex Roher, SDBotox
Nick Ospina, Coldwell Banker West
Dr. Paris Seraj, Elite Smiles

Libations provided by Bar Hosts
Will & Jeni Perri, Jacobsen Perri Cellars
Jill Schultz, Boisett Collection
Joel Tubao, Novo Brazil Brewing
Dave Von Savage

Special thanks to our Service providers:
Music: Matt Dresser, DJ Hotkeys
Videography: Paul Giret, Film for Food
Photography: Shelton Bishop, Son of a Bishop
Photography: Noah Wardrip, Photography
Entertainment: Skyler King, Sky King Magic

Celebrating our Silent Auction Donors:
Burcu Erdemir
Carlos Garcia
Corina & Thomas Grunow, Grunow Construction
Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary
Ethan Blu, Artist
Guy Milner
Israel Adato, Ojo Azul Resort
Joshua Barr, Nada Healing
Leo’s Fitness Lab and Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers & Jewelry Buyers
Dr. Nasrin Mani, M.D., La Jolla Cosmetic Laser Clinic
Mark & Cammie Bauman, Ocean Beach
Matthew Suitor, Injury Dynamics
Michael Bilicki, Greathouse Furniture & Patio
Michelle Lillywhite Photography, Inc.
Minh Nguyen, Minh’s Living Tree
Steve DeCecco & Tricia Butler
Tanner Gardner, TDG Photography
The Dresser Family
William Orland, Bill’s Aircraft Service, Inc.

Click here for Event Photo Gallery

Receive news from U4O!