After two years of a pandemic-induced hiatus, the Pencils of Promise gala will return for an in-person ceremony on Oct. 20 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. The event will benefit the non-profit’s efforts to build schools and increase educational opportunities in the developing world.
This year’s host committee includes PoP founder Adam Braun and PoP CEO Kailee Scales, along with Brad Haugen of Westbrook Media and stakeholders Gabe Bourgeois, Gary Vaynerchuk, Ricky and Lisa Novak, Rob Hamwee, and Ralph and Nancy Casazzone. New global ambassador Meadow Walker is set to receive this year’s activist award to honor her advocacy work for the organization.
Jonathan Olinger, founder of Human.us, will be the event’s creative director. Olinger directed PoP’s film “I Promise You,” which features Walker, and is a story focused on the common goal of achieving quality education for children everywhere.
Walker is the founder and president of the Paul Walker Foundation, an organization she started on what would’ve been her father’s 42nd birthday in honor of his humanitarian efforts. Since 2019, Walker has been a key advocate of PoP’s WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) program.
In 2020, with the help of PoP, the Paul Walker Foundation helped construct the Jasikan College of Education Demonstration Primary School in Ghana. She is also an advocate for UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, and has previously spoken out about mental health and women’s rights.
According to their website, PoP has built 589 schools across Ghana, Guatemala and Laos, and is currently providing more than 230,000 students with access to education. Past gala notables, honorees, and performers include Justin Bieber, Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss, Usher, John Legend, Lil Jon, Olivia Culpo, Wiz Khalifa, Trevor Noah, Malala Yousafzai, Tori Kelly, Jay Shetty, and many more.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated Scooter Braun was a part of the host committee for this event. The piece has been amended.