Actress and activist Maria Bello will be hosting a fundraiser this Saturday, June 9, in support of the charity she co-founded, We Advance. We Advance is a non-profit organization based in the poorest slum in the Western Hemisphere – Cite Soleil, Haiti – and is geared toward advancing women socially, economically, and politically. The event, taking place at a private estate in Malibu is slated to share Haiti through Maria's eyes. The intimate event will feature special guest, Danny Moder, who will be sharing his photos, as well as special musical performances.
We Advance is a women's rights based grassroots organization that focuses on capacity building for women. They do so in Haiti by targeting health care, education, empowerment, and advocacy. They work in some of the poorest slums in the entire western hemisphere, such as Wharf Jeremy and Cite Soleil, where security issues deter the work of most international NGOs.
We Advance treats 50,000 patients a year in their Nap Vanse Family Clinic, which is the hub of their operations. It is one of only two clinics in Cite Soleil and the only clinic that focuses on women and children. We Advance also delivers their Empowerment Program, which provides significant community outreach and education to the surrounding slum, graduating over 2,400 community members a year through their health and adult education classes. They also partner and collaborate with over 40 other micro NGOs in Cite Soleil to expand their reach and help build capacity of Haitians.
Having starred in over 30 movies (including "Coyote Ugly," "A History of Violence," and "The Cooler"), Bello has had several nominations and wins for her acting, including the Golden Globe Awards and the NY Film Critic's Awards. She was most recently seen playing Det. Jane Timoney on the critically acclaimed NBC drama "Prime Suspect" and is currently filming "Grown Ups 2" along side Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock and Kevin James. In the fall she will be a recurring character on the Fox series "Touch" with Kiefer Southerland.
She began her career as an activist at Villanova University, where she majored in Peace and Justice Education and worked at the Women's Law Project in Philadelphia. In 2009 she was voted one of Variety magazine's most powerful women in Hollywood for her activism with women in Darfur.
Since 2008, she has worked in Haiti with Artists for Peace and Justice and Femmes en Democratie, a network of 300 Haitian women politicians, businesswomen and artisans.She raised funds and produced a women's media campaign for the elections in November. She spearheaded the opening of the women's clinic in the Petionville Camp immediately following the earthquake. In September 2011, Bello joined President Martelly's Advisory Council on Investing in Haiti, advocating for investments for women in the country. She is a member of CGI and works on gender policy within the Haiti Network. She was named a Vital Voices Global Ambassador and participated in the first ever Vital Voices / Bank of America International Women's Conference in Haiti. She also recently spoke at the U.S. Secretary of State's Global Impact Economy Forum to discuss how an Impact Economy is creating opportunities for long-term growth and development driven by core business investments in places such as Haiti.
For more information on We Advance, visit weadvance.org.