William Kamkwamba Headlines Books For Africa's Reading For All Fundraising Luncheon

Books For Africa’s annual fundraising luncheon was held Friday, April 28th, 2023 at the Town and Country Club in St. Paul, Minnesota. This year’s event, Reading For All, was highlighted by a keynote speech from William Kamkwamba, author and subject of bestseller The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Click here or see below for a slideshow capturing all the excitement!

The room was packed, with over 270 BFA supporters and VIPs attending. Guests of honor included representatives from Presenting Sponsor Thomson Reuters, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, former Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, as well as state and local government officials, judiciary members, and members of the local business community.

The luncheon was a remarkable success, raising over $110,000 in donations and pledges. Proceeds from the event will sponsor the shipment of tens of thousands of books to Africa, including 22,000 books to Malawi in honor of William Kamkwamba.

Made with Clipchamp

William stressed the importance of giving Africa’s next generation access to education, sharing: “My story started with a book… When I couldn’t go to school I decided to go to the public library, to read books, and to keep up with my schoolwork...that is where I found a book that had a picture of the windmill on the cover… Now we are trying to get these books in the hands of so many young people who can be able to learn… I know there are so many talented young people all over the world, but if you don’t give them the opportunity or tools that they need to progress with their ideas and goals, their dreams and their desires die before they can see the light of day.”

We were also proud to announce this year’s BFA award winners at an exclusive Kilimanjaro Society breakfast preceding the luncheon. William presented the Kilimanjaro Society Award to Sharon Sayles Belton, VP Government Affairs and Community Relations at Thomson Reuters, and champion of Books For Africa’s longstanding partnership with Thomson Reuters. This year’s Container Captain award went to Clark and Vonnie LaChapelle, who have worked with BFA to ship over 30 containers of over 1.5 million books to Zimbabwe since 2014.

BFA 2023 Spring Luncheon

Mshale Newspaper provided coverage of the event, which kicks off BFA’s year-long 35th anniversary celebration!

Our thanks to the sponsors, donors, and supporters who came together to make this such a memorable and successful event – your support allows us to continue putting books in the hands of African students who need them!