celebritygroup1Saturday, August 6, 2011 was the date of the Orang Utan Republik Foundation's latest fundraiser. It was held at the home of entertainer Debi Derryberry and photographer Harvey Jordan. A fundraising committee brought together celebrities and performers to entertain and inspire as well as volunteers to help with the various aspects of this type of outdoor event. A video clip of the event is available here.

The theme this year was "Branching Out" as OURF continues to branch out into conservation as well as its traditional education focus. Also, OURF continues to reach out across the planet to enroll and inspire more people to become involved in spreading the message about the species and its plight. 

We had a number of celebrities in attendance. Actors Ed Begley Jr. and Gabriel Basso (Super 8) were at the event and participated on stage.  Musician John Densmore (of The Doors) entertained and inspired the crowd with his drumming to a traditional African tribal song. Fritz Coleman, NBC weatherman and standup comic, was our outstanding emcee and auctioneer. Voice actor Tom Kenny,(SpongeBob SquarePants) joined colleague and host Debi Derryberry (Jimmy Neutron) to provide a group of interesting and talented people. 

During the course of the evening, attendees were able to see how OURF's programs are moving forward. A check for $8,000 from the Animal Health Foundation (AHF) was presented to OURF to support the Orangutan Caring Scholarship veterinary program. In addition, OURF president Gary Shapiro used Skype video to present the distinguished Pongo Award to Leif Cocks in Perth, Australia, to honor the Australian Orangutan Project (AOP). On a big screen, Leif accepted the award and expressed his appreciation for the honor. AOP has supported OURF's scholarship program in addition to other OURF initiatives over the years. Later, via Skype video from Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia, the members of the Orangutan Caring Club of North Sumatra addressed the attendees to thank and express their appreciation for the fundraising efforts.

Attendees to the fundraiser enjoyed vegetarian and vegan delights and exquisite orangutan-safe chocolates (nuubiaChocolat) and palm oil-free cookies (Shawn Thompson's receipe)  while tasty beverages were provided through PeakPR and their associates (One Hope, Coca-cola, Honest Tea, and Smart Water).  

Entertainment was provided by "The Porch Girls" a wonderful folk music band; JP Taylor sang "Being an Orangutan" through a pre-recorded video broadcast; Debi Derryberry sang "Oodle the Orangutan" on guitar, John Densmore had the audience singing an African chant while he played on drums, and some exquisite Balinese dancing was performed by two talented Balinese ladies.

Our guests were able to participate in the silent and live auction as well as the raffle drawing to help raise funds and acquire well discounted gift items. While funds are still being received, OURF has already been able to raise over $20,000 as a result of the fundraiser and the AHF contribution.

In conclusion, everyone appeared to enjoy the 2011 Fundraiser. OURF thanks our hosts, Debi and Harvey; our fundraising team and event volunteers; and all the donors of products, services and entertainment which contributed to the success of this year's event.