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Earthquake Relief Fundraiser by Iranian-Americans in Bay Area a Huge Success

In a first of a kind, collaborative effort that brought sixteen San Francisco Bay Area Iranian-American nonprofit organizations together, a hugely successful fundraiser was held on Saturday January 24th in support of the victims of the recent massive earthquake that devastated the ancient Iranian city of Bam.

"There was a fantastic spirit of cooperation between the groups during the two weeks of preparations leading to the event," said BAIVOTER founding member and Director Farshid Samsami, who was a member of the event organizing committee.

Held at the popular Faz Restaurant in Sunnyvale, CA, the event drew close to 300 Iranian-Americans and other participants who helped the organizers raise close to $100,000. The figure will be matched dollar for dollar by the Los Angeles-based international development agency Relief International. The organization will also be directly in charge of spending the funds on relief efforts in Bam. Since mid-January, a Relief International crew has been taking part in reconstruction efforts in the hardest-hit villages surrounding Bam. The group puts the cost of providing a basic two-room shelter for a family at $2,000.

Over thirty participants donated $1,000 each to receive a commemorative brick that was accompanied by a plaque. Others participated in a live auction of donated items.

The venue was donated by Faz, which also provided the food and drinks for the event at no charge, allowing all proceeds from the event to be spent on relief efforts. Music entertainment was donated by the Nejad World Music Center.

The participants were visibly moved when they heard Tam Dell'Oro, whose brother Tobb was the only American citizen killed in Bam. Tobb Dell'Oro was traveling in the Bam area with his longtime girlfriend Adele Caryl Freedman when the quake hit. The Redwood City couple, who had decided to get married while on tour in Bam, were pulled free from the rubble by rescuers but only Freedman survived her injuries. Ms Dell'Oro thanked Iranians for their efforts to save her brother and his fiancÚ.

As part of the fundraising effort, San Jose Vice Mayor Pat Dando today presented BAIVOTER Executive Director Niloufar Nouri with a blown up check in a ceremony in front of the San Jose City Hall attended by Mehran Kamkar, Chairman of the Small Business Development Commission, City of San Jose, among others.   Nouri received the check, made payable to Relief International, on   behalf of BAIVOTER and the organizers of the Saturday event.

The earthquake that struck Bam on 26 December killed over 40,000   people and destroyed most of the buildings in the city. According to   a recent United Nations report, the long-term rebuilding of the quake-hit city could cost up to $1 billion.

The Bay Area Iranian-American Voter Association (BAIVOTER) is a nonprofit, non-partisan, volunteer organization, working to encourage and facilitate the informed and active participation of Iranian-Americans in the democratic process, through a combination of voter registration, voter education, and advocacy. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, we educate ourselves and others on issues affecting the Iranian-American community, and on our civic rights and responsibilities as effective citizens. BAIVOTER is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation founded in October 2002. For more information, please visit, or send an email to

... Payvand News - 2/2/04 ... --

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