An event to raise funds to finance the production of Father Eric Forbes’ I Am Chamorro documentary almost doubled its original target of $5,000, according to organizer Marian Aldan-Pierce.
“Our goal was to raise $5,000 tonight. Through pledges, ticket sales, and raffle ticket sales, we made over $9,300,” said Aldan-Pierce Wednesday night at the fundraiser held at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.
In addition to the generous donations of the TSL Foundation, Triple J Motors, and DFS Saipan, the Joeten-Daidai Foundation, Mt. Carmel School, and Bob and Margaret Jones also pledged $1,000 each.
Almost a hundred people attended the event, which charged a $50 entrance fee. Aside from earnings made at the door, “I Am Chamorro” T-shirts were also on sale and a raffle draw for some $7,000 worth of luxury items donated by DFS Saipan contributed to the fundraising kitty.
Forbes was among those in attendance as well as Manhita Chamorro president Joanne Tabor Modic, one of the Chamorros in California who initiated the documentary project.
Aldan-Pierce specifically thanked businessmen Jerry Tan and Bob Jones for their generous donations.
The project hopes to raise enough funds to produce an I Am Chamorro DVD to benefit current and future generations of Chamorros.
“I would like to thank Jerry Tan of Tan Holdings and TSL Foundation because when he found what this was all about, without hesitation he immediately offered to pay it all—the venue and the food. So everything tonight was net [earnings]. The same thing with the T-shirts. When we were looking for a venue to sell the T-shirts, Bob Jones of Triple J immediately said ‘no problem’ and we’re now selling it at Triple J Truckload Sale in Susupe.”
The “I Am Chamorro” T-shirts were on sale at $20 during the fundraising event but are regularly priced at $24.99. It comes in eight different designs and is available in female and male sizes.
“This is a project about us, the Chamorros, regardless of where we’re from. Like Father Eric said tonight, we need this DVD because there’s really nothing out there that tells about us, about where we come from and our families are spread all over the world, and some are forgetting the language, the culture, and where they come from, and this is a way of getting everybody back together,” said Aldan-Pierce.
Forbes thanked everyone who attended Wednesday’s fundraiser and extended his gratitude to Tan and Jones for their support. “We have a full room of supporters who have donated generously and got us started here on Saipan. We will continue to have more fundraisers and get the word out to more people on Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and Guam.”
Forbes said if they complete the funding by the middle part of this year, they can have the DVD done by the end of 2014 or early part of 2015 in time for the Pacific Festival of the Arts, which will be hosted by Guam in 2016.
“These DVDs will be sold for a very nominal price because we’re trying to raise the funds first and then manufacture them. They will be very affordable. We will donate many of these DVDs to our public libraries and our public schools.”