JAMPACT (Jamaica Impact Inc.) non-profit organization based in New York with young Jamaican professionals, students and friends of Jamaica. With a vision to stimulate socio-economic growth and development in Jamaica and the Jamaica Diaspora. The organization hosts a number of fundraising initiatives to give back to Jamaiaca including the upcoming annual CHIC (Charitable. Hopeful. Impactful. Classy.) Gala on Saturday, June 16. The C.H.I.C. Benefit Gala will feature fashions from designer, Teresa Sydonna, the presentation of the prestigious JAMPACT Founders Award to Jamaican author, journalist and former member of JAMPACT, Kellie Magnus accompanied with food and wine. The C.H.I.C. event will also acknowledge Jamaica’s 50th Independence Anniversary Celebration and Jamaica Diaspora Day. With all the excitement surrounding the worthy cause of helping to rebuild Maxfield Park Basic School, Co-Fundraising chair person Tisha Innis spoke exclusively with me to discuss background on JAMPACT, upcoming gala and its mission.
Style & Vibes: How did you get involved with JAMPACT?
Tisha Innis: Through the fundraising chair Akelia Lawrence- Maitland. I met her at a CIN Lecture series back in fall of 2010. We struck up a conversation. She asked me what i did for a living and I told her I was a menswear designer and she mentioned that I could help her with something. She handed me a flyer about the organization. I always wanted to get involved in charity work. Working in the industry I never had enough time, with the long hours, it never allotted me the time to do it. The icing on the cake was that it was a Jamaican charity and anything to give back to Jamaica was definitely something that I wanted to do.
S&V: The CHIC Benefit Gala, the first one was last year, correct?
Tisha Innis: JAMPACT had two prior fundraisers, at the time it was called Roots Rockin’ Royal Charity Fashion show. It was a fashion show to raise money for the adopted Basic Schools. When I joined JAMPACT we discussed the fashion show, I suggested bringing up the ticket price. Being in the fashion industry I’ve been invited to many cocktail parties and fundraisers and the ticket prices were substantially higher. That’s how you raise money, also you have to substantiate your patrons on what they will experience for a higher ticket price. That’s how the look and feel of it changed. Akelia came up with the acronym CHIC (Charitable. Hopeful. Impactful. Classy) and it evolved from there.
S&V: Apart from changing the price how did you guys visualize upgrading the event itself to raise the money?
Tisha Innis: We’ve changed the venue. It’s a better prime location in the city, rather than everyone going to Brooklyn. It’s a better wide open space with high ceilings used by orchestra rehearsals and recording classical music and movie soundtracks. There’s going to be more seating, tables, some up lighting and all around better decor this year. We’ll have video highlights, live musical performances and a traditional folk dance by children 3-6 years old (same ages as the children from the adopted schools). One of the comments we received from patrons last year was it was a great party, but they wanted to feel more of a sense of what the party was about, get a feel for the children. Last year it was more about the theme and the fashion designers this year there will be two fashion designers featuring their collection and it’s not going to be long and drawn out. We’re going to give our patrons ample time to network, ask questions about the organization and dance! We aiming towards branding JAMPACT and having our patrons get to know more about the organization, what we’re about and what our cause is. Those a re a few things we are doing to turn it up a notch this year.
S&V: Tell me about the school. How did the organization choose that school?
Tisha Innis: JAMPACT adopted Maxfield Park Basic School a few years ago, prior to my membership. Through Andrew Holness ( Opposite Leader for JLP (Jamaica Labour Party). Maxfield Park Basic School is a school that houses children 3-6 years old who are wards of the state (orphans) many of whom have special needs. There is a school and a home, but we are associated with the school. The school itself is built from wood and has never been updated. Termites have ravaged the building to the point that they have infested books, desks, so the children where placed in this make shift building temporarily. We want to tear it down and re build it for these children. That’s our way of wanting to their quality of life being better.
S&V: So this isn’t the only fundraising event for this school, correct?
Tisha Innis: No but it’s the biggest. This year we launched a capital campaign titled “Educate a child, build a school strengthen a nation.” It basically reflective of Maxfield Park Basic School and JAMPACT’s initiative to raise funds to rebuild the school. So the gala is the biggest fundraiser, but we are also reaching out to We’ve reached out to domestic and international Jamaican and Jamaican-friendly businesses to give in-kind donations, monetary donation, individual donations and small businesses to donate what they can. We are listed as Jamaica Impact International Limited (JAMPACT Jamaica) now has the opportunity to build better relationships with companies and other non-profit organizations based in Jamaica.
S&V: What to hope patrons get out of attending?
Tisha Innis: Just to know that you’re giving back, helping to better someone’s life, especially a child’s life. Your donation is something that helps them to grow up to be successful. When people attend, i want them to get a sense that they part of a project that’s going to better someone’s life, they’ve sacrificed little, so a child can grow up to gain so much.
Unable to attend? You can still donate to help the children of Maxfield Park Basic School