Church Leaders Present Light the World Campaign Checks to U.S. Charities in New York, Arizona

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News associate editor

  • 13 February 2019

Mayor Jenn Daniels (right) assists Arizona Area Seventy Elder Dale Willis (left) uncover commemorative artwork for the Church’s Light the World campaign and the donations received by local charities on February 7, 2019.  Photo by Terri Moore.

“I am grateful to be able to say as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that we honor the Savior Jesus Christ through service. And at this Christmastime, it was so remarkable to be able to see what happened with this giving through the Light the World campaign as people recognized the sweet opportunity to give.” —Joy D. Jones

Primary General President Sister Joy D. Jones was in Manhattan February 12 to deliver checks of funds raised through the Light the World campaign to the offices of CAREWaterAid America, and UNICEF USA. Watch more of her visit in this video.

“Thank you for the partnership,” said Caryl Stern, president and CEO of UNICEF USA. “Thank you for the spirit with which these machines were placed and for being with us today to present a check that’s truly going to make a difference in the lives of children all over the globe.”

“I am grateful to be able to say as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that we honor the Savior Jesus Christ through service,” said Sister Jones. “And at this Christmastime, it was so remarkable to be able to see what happened with this giving through the Light the World campaign as people recognized the sweet opportunity to give.”

“I feel like our values are very aligned, that the focus is really on the mission of what we’re trying to achieve together,” said Sarina Prabasi, CEO of WaterAid America.

Monica Merlis Matthews, director of community partnerships at CARE, finds the giving machines an innovative approach to fundraising. “To see really how it has resonated with people and brought people in and introduced people to philanthropy and in new ways, it’s so exciting, and so we’re honored and privileged to be a part of it.”

“Just a huge, huge thank you,” expressed Lina Bonova, executive director of CARE’s northeast region. “I think it’s really important for each and every person [who] made the trip and selected the chicken and the goat. It’s so important, so humble just to see this huge support, and it makes a huge difference in the field every day.”

“It’s made a difference to children,” said Leslie Goldman, vice president of global cause partnerships at UNICEF USA, who reported that the donation will be used to vaccinate 320,000 children against polio, as well as buy jump ropes and more than 3,500 soccer balls.

“Just think of how many soccer teams are out there having fun and experiencing the joy of childhood thanks to the giving machines,” said Goldman.

Gratitude from the Grand Canyon State

Oversized commemorative checks signifying the donation amounts were also given to leaders of four Arizona-based charities—$60,980 to A New Leaf, which offers domestic violence, homeless, behavioral health, and youth programs; $54,410 to Helen’s Hope Chest, which provides foster youth with quality clothing, hygiene items, school supplies, books, and gifts; and identical donations of $67,196.50 each to the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance and the United Food Bank.

Tom Kertis, president and CEO of St. Mary’s Food Bank, said when he first heard of the giving machines, he thought it was a great concept but remained skeptical of the impact.

“Now I’m completely blown away,” he said of the generosity from the Church-led effort. “I never thought we’d see these kinds of results. It’s going to go a long way to feed people—for every dollar we get, we’ll be able to provide seven meals. So nearly a half-million meals will come out of this giving machine here in Gilbert to help those in our community who are food-insecure.”

The Church also unveiled a piece of commemorative artwork to the mayor and town council—a colorful, brushed-aluminum plaque highlighting the 2018 giving campaign and the city’s participation in it.

Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels noted when Deseret Industries opened a store several months ago in Gilbert, Bishop Dean M. Davies of the Presiding Bishop during his dedicatory prayer pronounced a blessing on the town of Gilbert. “The giving machines were a manifestation of the blessings he left on us,” said the mayor as she thanked Gilbert residents and those of neighboring cities for their generous participation.

Scott Taylor contributed to story.

A giving machine was set up in Gilbert, Arizona, during the Church’s December Light the World campaign. From left to right, the recipients include Dave Richins, president and CEO of the United Food Bank; Mike Hughes, president and CEO of A New Leaf; Katie Pompay, executive director of Helen’s Hope Chest; and Tom Kertis, president and CEO of St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. Photo by Terri Moore.