Givology raises money for school in Uganda

· November 20, 2009, 4:19 am   ·  Updated November 20, 2009, 12:00 am

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“You don’t have to be Bill Gates to make a difference,” said Wharton junior Danielle Matsumoto, translating coordinator of Givology.org.

With that motto in mind, Givology — the student-run organization that aims to provide education for children abroad — partnered with Pileggi Boutique last night for a fundraiser that donated 15 percent of its profits to the expansion of the Circle of Peace School in Kampala, Uganda.

The Circle of Peace School in Uganda will be evicted from its current property in December and its elementary-level students will be forced to share space with students in the upper school. The money raised last night will go to expanding the school and building new shelters for the displaced children, many of whom are orphans or unable to afford an education.

Although the organization’s web site states that approximately $10,000 must be raised for this rebuilding project, Wharton sophomore Winnie Feng, Givology fundraising coordinator, said the goal for last night was about $1,000.

Andrea Chila, owner of Pileggi Boutique, said she first heard about Givology in an article published in The Philadelphia Inquirer in April. The article, which lauded Givology’s efforts in providing educational assistance abroad, prompted her to begin talks with the group about coordinating a joint fundraiser.

Chila, who has partnered with charities such as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the Ronald McDonald House and Career Wardrobe, said she would “donate to pretty much any charity … We’re a small store, a community store. Any way we can give back to Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia community –– we’re small enough to do.”

From 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday afternoon, Givology members stationed themselves in the small, posh store on S. 7th and Walnut Streets. Surrounded by hors d’oeuvres and white wine, they promoted their cause to visiting customers.

Although the organizers of last night’s event advertised the fundraiser on popular blogs such as uwishunu.com and dailycandy.com, turnout remained low, with few customers coming into the store.

“It’s been pretty quiet,” Matsumoto said, but “this is an opportunity. Someone heard about us in the Philly Inquirer, and we’re not going to say ‘no.’”

Feng added that “Pileggi is a really upscale boutique, and it’s off-campus, so we’re pretty realistic in [expecting low] attendance by Penn students.”

In the coming year, Feng said, Givology hopes to cater more toward the student population with more on-campus, small-scale events.

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