Craig‘s foundation UKares has been launched on Saturday evening. You can read his speech below and check the photo gallery :
“Thank you all so much for braving the rain and being here to supporting this brand new charity. The UKares Foundation. I am honored and humbled that so many of you want to make a difference and give back.
I’d like to start by thanking our generous volunteers, Maria, Richard, Thomas, Tayler, Nathan, Julia, Valeria and Lorraine.
Committee Members Shirley Green, Darren Darnborough, Emrhys Cooper and our VOG Sandro Monetti.
Our wonderful talent this evening, Maya Fiennes, Gus Farwell and Maria Elena Infantino.
All of our Sponsors, Volkswagen of Santa Monica, A LA Car Guy Dealer. One Hope Wine, Heneiken, Patron and Ultimat Vodka, Smart Water Honest Tea, Tealadyz, Peak PR. And all the individuals and business who donated so gracefully to our silent auction and giftbags.
The board of directors that gravitated towards each other to create this much needed charity. My work wife… Eileen Lee, Gano Lemoine, Sandra McClean, Marina Paganucci, Christine Peake and our chairman of the board Marc Connelly. Thank you all so much for taking this journey with me so we all may make a difference.
And finally congratulations to our honorees Katy Haber and Bernard Skibben who have given back to their community in so many countless ways. From all of us thank you so very much for your continuing contribution.
So… what is UKares exactly.
Ukares is a non-profit to assist and advice individuals or families from the UK and Commonwealth countries living abroad who find themselves in desperate times of need, transition or crisis. Simply put we are a helping hand wrapped in a red white blue glove. Some place you can turn to when it seems like all hope is lost. You may just need advice on renewing a visa or how to get insurance, or perhaps assistance after an accident, or to plan a funeral. One thing is for sure we’ll be there to steer you right, get you back on your feet and help you on your way.
Lets face it… Moving to a foreign country can be very daunting, and for some very lonely. I know I was homesick for the first three months of moving here, and back then there didn’t seem to be much of a British community. Many move here to carve out careers in the entertainment industry, some in technology, building trade, service industry and to look after other people’s children.
I for one, consider myself very fortunate and have lived a very charmed life, watching Baywatch, Dallas and Dynasty as a young kid I knew that I wanted to live in America, If i’m honest, for the glitz and the glamour of it all. And here I am today in one of the most glamorous homes in the world with all you glitzy people.
Most people that move to a land far away probably had a similar dream. But dreams don’t come without challenges and life can throw us all curve balls, situations that can set us back.
So what are some of the things we would like to do with your donations? Your hard earned cash, there are so many deserving charities out there why should you give it us. What’s that I hear, why doesn’t your family help you? why not get a job? What’s wrong with you? We all have to do it…
Well it’s quite difficult if you are the young British lady who is recovering from a ruptured Brain aneurysm who was working free lance for a valet parking company. She will have to go through months of therapy to learn how to speak again, to gain strength in her muscles to be able to walk again. And who knows how long before she can get back to parking cars again. Her 18 year old Son just sold her car to help pay their rent and bills, her friends rallied round last week to raise money for her, they did well and raised 20 thousand dollars for her. But in all seriousness that’s probably only going to last six months. She needs our help.
One particular story I heard that inspired and motivated me into gathering this great group of people was the story of Max, a 12 year old boy who was killed in a hit and run car accident at the side of a freeway, his Mother and sister were also critically injured. His family didn’t have the money to bury their Son. He wasn’t allowed to have a proper send off in a dignified manor.
Once again the family’s friends and neighbors raised funds for little Max and gave him the funeral he deserved.
When we created Brits in LA it was just, a social gathering for a bunch of ex-pats wanting to have a good time. But 5 years and close to 5000 members later it has grown to be much more, a real virtual community with amazing people all ready to help.
Now every week we a hearing from members in need, stories of domestic abuse, loved ones passing, stories of people falling off balconies and their insurance won’t cover the cost of a wheelchair. Some one having to flying home with serious illnesses that even with insurance here they can’t afford the premiums or co-pays to have the operations here.
And I kept thinking there must be something we can do to help and things that can be done.
I mean NO ONE EXPECTS THE UNEXPECTED….AND EMERGENCIES CAN HAPPEN ON ANY GIVEN DAY TO ANY OF US.
So, one of the few things we would like to do is to have an advice centre where people can drop in and we have expert staff on call who can answer questions, getting people the right HELP they need, whether it be medical, employment or even finding out what your options are when renewing a visa CAN BE VERY STRESSFUL
Another thing we’d like to do is set up an affordable health insurance plan for our members offering affordable premiums and minimum co-pays, and align ourselves with airline companies who can donate or offer discounted emergency flights between America and the UK for those who can’t afford to visit a dying parent, or we maybe able to suggest the right assisted living place for a recent widower who is elderly. Home-help to an individual who can no longer tend to him or herself.
So please consider bidding on the auction items at the back of the room or fill out one of the donation forms. I thank you all for being here and being apart of UKares at the very beginning.
And now I’d like to introduce you to someone who knows a lot about caring and sharing I had the pleasure of meeting this young gentleman, yes he’s younger than me, a few months ago in his office in El Segundo and he wowed me with his business savvy and charming personality and gift of wine. He has now become a real inspiration to me, He was named ‘business week’s’ top 25 under 25, has helped many charities raise millions of dollars in just the last four years through his own Non-profit -ONE HOPE wine and has just launched One Hope Coffee too, supporting this month’s Movember. He’s appeared in such magazines as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Wine Enthusiast, glamour and my favorite Ok magazine. Please welcome JAKE KLOBERDANZ.”