The term “waymaker” describes our clients who are entrepreneurs, parents, and leaders living in extreme poverty while working every day to create a better future for their families and their communities for generations to come. In December 2021, Opportunity’s first immersive art experience Portrait of a Waymaker made its debut as a virtual art gallery featuring 10 illuminating portraits accompanied by narration from our clients and our field experts. If you haven’t explored this amazing virtual exhibit, check it out here!
After an exciting on-screen debut, the Opportunity team and a few dedicated donors put our heads together and asked:“What if we brought this virtual art gallery to life?” Together, we transformed a project that was once viewed on screen into tangible printed portraits and packaged it into a traveling art exhibition. My personal background before joining Opportunity’s events team was in Museum Education, so the prospect of building an in-person experience to help supporters better understand our clients’ lives was something I was particularly passionate about!
Portrait of a Waymaker Chicagoland
The first stop in the lineup was in the suburbs of Chicago. This Portrait of a Waymaker event was hosted at the Oak Park Country Club where nearly 200 attendees had the opportunity to come face to face with powerful images of our clients and listen to the short narrations that described their stories. Printed portraits were set up around the room and served as not only an avenue for personal reflection but a springboard for conversation with the larger group as the evening progressed.
During dinner, guests had group conversation with their tables that asked them to step into the shoes of our clients and make some impossible decisions around what they’d do to support their families with only $2 a day. The night concluded with a keynote speech by Michael Chitwood, Opportunity International’s Chief Philanthropy Officer, who moved hearts while sharing his own story of overcoming pain and how important it is to lend a hand to those in need.
After a very moving evening and insightful conversations, our supporters raised $68,000 to support Opportunity clients around the globe. What a phenomenal way to be a part of something larger!
Portrait of a Waymaker’s Next Stops
We are looking forward to hosting this exhibit in two other locations before the year is out!
- October 20th Portrait of a Waymaker, A Celebration of Opportunity in Huntsville Alabama
- November 9th Portrait of a Waymaker, with CEO Atul Tandon in Palo Alto, California
If you are interested in attending either of these events, please reach out to your local Opportunity International Representative or contact the Events Team at ev[email protected].