Grace Farms Benefit Raises $1M, Half to Fight Slave Labor in World Construction Industry

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Grace Farms Foundation recently welcomed more than 300 human rights activists, scholars, acclaimed artists, art and culture influencers, and architecture and business leaders, to the Foundation’s fourth anniversary celebration.

— an announcement from Grace Farms Foundation

The Oct. 19 event at Grace Farms in New Canaan included a performance by Parisa Khobdeh Dance Company and guest artists of Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, an elegant zero-waste dinner, and entertainment by ELEW and saxophonist Marcus G. Miller.

Tony’s Chocolonely was also recognized for its Open Chain business model for traceable, slave-free cocoa and its commitment to making 100% slave-free chocolate.

Grace Farms benefit 2019

Photo from Grace Farms Foundation

The benefit was held at Grace Farms in northern New Canaan

The Foundation raised half a million dollars to champion ethical and environmentally-responsible supply chains, a focus of Grace Farms Foundation through the development of the Grace Farms Foundation Architecture + Construction Working Group, which brings experts and industry leaders across the ecosystem of the built environment to illuminate modern slavery in the architecture and global construction industry.

Funds raised will also help forge new pathways to advance nature, arts, justice, community and faith, and to sustain the award-winning Grace Farms.

Parisa Khobdeh Dance and Paul Taylor American modern Grace Farms

Photo by Kyle Norton

The event included a performance by Parisa Khobdeh Dance Company and guest artists of Paul Taylor American Modern Dance.

“With the expertise of our extraordinary interdisciplinary team, we commit to convening and collaborating, with Grace Farms as our nexus, to accelerate outcomes for change,” said Sharon Prince, Grace Farms Foundation’s founder and president.

Sharon Prince Grace Farms Foundation founder president

Photo by Jenna Bascom

Sharon Prince, Grace Farms Foundation’s founder and president

“We are moved to help others become aware of pressing humanitarian issues—including the forced labor that is found in our building materials—so that each of us can learn, consider our choices and take action. In four short years, we’ve seen that this way of working has inspired industries and individuals towards a more sustainable future.”

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See this video, Our Sustainable Future, narrated by longtime New Canaan resident Tony Goldwyn:

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At the Event

Abby Bangser of Object & Thing and Amanda Martocchio of Amanda Martocchio Architecture were co-chairs of the benefit.

Event sponsors included Moffly Media, Walden Local Meat Co., Tony’s Chocolonely, Half Full Brewery, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Two Roads Brewing Company, and Litchfield Distillery.

Attendees included:

Local Leaders:  John Gomes, COO of the City of Bridgeport; Kevin Moynihan, New Canaan First Selectman; John Engel, Chairman of the New Canaan Town Council; Maya Frey, New Canaan Library, Board of Trustees; Mary and Frank Fetchet, Voices of September 11thDede Bartlett, Co-Chair, New Canaan Domestic Violence Partnership

Grace Farms Foundation Board of Directors

Contributed photo

Grace Farms Foundation’s board of directors

Artists & Cultural LeadersAlyson Shotz, artist; Jay Fielden, former editor, EsquireMonique Péan, Artist and Designer; Lexi Bowes-Lyon, Director of Philanthropy, Space for Giants and cousin of Prince Harry and Prince William; Aziz Friedrich, Board of Trustees, The Menil Collection; Elliot Ackerman, novelist; Lea Carpenter, novelist; Tata Harper, Founder of Tata Harper; Silvia BaldiniChopped winner chef; Saycon Sengbloh, Tony-nominated actress; Platon Antinou, photographer; Imani Uzuri, vocalist and composer; James FreyA Million Little Pieces author; Lichen Ling, founder of Homeism; Conor GrennanNew York Times Best-selling author, Little PrincesMartin Eisenberg, Chair of Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies; Christy MacLear, founding Executive Director of the Philp Johnson Glass House, CEO of PaceX; Andrew J. Pitts, Board of Directors, the Aldrich Museum; Frances Palmer, Frances Palmer Pottery

Architectural LeadersHayes Slade, President, AIA NY and Founding Partner at SLADE Architecture; Frederick Noyes, architect; Nat Oppenheimer, Senior Principal at Silman Associates; Joe Mizzi, Sciame

Public Sector LeadersLuis C. deBaca, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons; Alina Marquez Reynolds, former Assistant United States Attorney, Connecticut; Dan Austin, 88bikes Foundation

Business Leaders & Other Notable Attendees Debbie Propst, President, One Kings Lane and Chief Brand Officer of Bed, Bath & Beyond; David Frame, CEO of J.P. Morgan US Wealth Management; Meg Hely Walsh, Social Responsibility Partner, Holland & Knight; Peter King Hunsinger, CMO Kane11; Stephen Reynolds, Chief Ethics Officer, Cigna; Liz Goldstone and Steven Goldstone, former Chair and CEO of RJR Nabisco; Paul McCurdy, Partner and Chair Emeritus of Kelley Drye & Waren; Richard Wiese, President, The Explorer’s Club

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