A drag queen named Tiffany Whispers strokes her bubblegum-pink wig and smiles at me as I hand my coat off to be checked. "Don't you just love Africa?" she says, and winks before taking another sip of her drink, her frosty lipstick leaving a mark on the straw.
This past Sunday, supporters of CameroonONE— a charity primarily focused on youth education in the African nation of Cameroon, with a privatized and sponsored foster-care system in the works — gathered at Club Café for a fundraiser fashion show hosted by personal stylists B. Fetching and featuring Ms. Whispers herself, then trooped down the street for drinks at Forum.
Up until this year, founders Todd Finklestone, Shaun Bamforth, Jon Montcrieff, David Shnitzer, and Nicolas Angwafo— lifelong best friends by way of Framingham and Cameroon — had raised donations and given them to partner organizations to use, but it was time, as they told me, to establish their own network.
In 2009, the group visited Angwafo in his hometown of Mankon. By the time they boarded the return flight to Boston, their experiences with the village's orphan population had convinced them that they wanted to contribute in some way.
According to Bamforth and Finklestone, CameroonONE established contact with families and built up their staff on a return trip to Africa this past January. The next step? Another potential trip this summer, meeting with the new schools before the fall term, and continuing to raise money.
"I'm just so grateful that we've made it past the first year," Finklestone says as looks out over the cluster of people at Forum. "I feel like that's always the big question with a nonprofit, is whether or not it'll fall flat. We're in such a good place right now."
: This Just In