MacDella Cooper Foundation Announces Liberian Academy at NYC Fashion Week

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Architect Winka Dubbeldam with MacDella Cooper

February 20th, 2009 was the end of another fabulous Fall Fashion Week in New York City and The MacDella Cooper Foundation (MCF) hosted an event to raise funds, awareness and reveal the plans for the MCF Academy in Liberia.  The MCF Academy will be tuition free school for the abandoned, orphaned children of Liberia supported by the MacDella Cooper Foundation, a 501c3 international charitable organization.

To close out a week filled with beauty, art and design, MacDella Cooper spearheaded a host committee of media and fashion notables and planned an evening featuring Korto Momolu, Project Runway's 5th season finalist, to showcase her latest fall collection at Nikki Beach club and restaurant in midtown Manhattan.  The host committee included Janet Hanson of 85 Broads; Sunya Pankey of Ralph Lauren; Julia Szabo of The New York Post; Barbara Brennan of Lifetime Networks; Ceslie Armstrong of CESLIE: The Women's Network; Evette Rios of The Rachael Ray Show; Sophie Morice of Satellite Paris; Actress Baily Hanks; Ashley Priest of Victoria's Secret; Vanessa Leggard of; Chole Gingrich of BCBG; and Socialite Heidi Garder. The Honorary Chairwomen were Lrystyna Houser, Samantha Fennell, Donna Poyiadjauis, Phyllis Hollis, and Rosemary Zraly. The Keynote Speaker was CEO of Jones Apparel Group women's better sportswear division, Susan Metzger.

MacDella Cooper, Princess Amina SirleafSusan Metzger

(L) MacDella Cooper, Princess Amina Sirleaf (R) Susan Metzger

After a long week of racing around Manhattan attending fashion shows, the crowd was excited to dance, dine, and learn more about the MCF Academy.  "Building the Academy has been a long term dream of mine.  It feels incredible to reveal the vision to others.  I am glad it is finally coming to life.  I cannot wait to have the children on the campus," stated MacDella Cooper as she welcomed the sold-out crowd.

From "buying" bricks to books to equipment and buildings, the crowd was generous. Ceslie Armstrong and Bo Dietl lead the charity auction while pledges were made to sponsor certain buildings and components in the MCF Academy.  When MacDella spoke she noted all the attributing people who are making the foundation happen.  "We are extremely excited and honored to be part of the world community assisting in Liberia's recovery," continued Cooper, "I am eternally grateful to everyone who has given their support. Our work cannot be done without our donors, supporters, volunteers, and staff." 

MacDella CooperWinka Dubbeldam, MacDella CooperCeslie Armstrong, Richard

(L) MacDella Cooper (C) Winka Dubbeldam, MacDella Cooper (R) Ceslie Armstrong, Richard "Bo" Dietl, MacDella Cooper

The graphic display of the MCF academy presented by the designer herself, world-renown architect Winka Dubbeldam from Archi-Tectonics, was visually captivating.  To look at the vision for the completion in 2010 was moving as the sight of possibility, change, and education will be brought forth into the children's lives.

Cooper explained how she teamed up with Winka Dubbeldam:  "I met Winka about two years ago and told her about my dream of building a school for the orphans and abandoned children my organization supports. I wasn't ready to build yet so she told me to come back to her when we were ready.  Two years later, I met with Winka again and told her that we were ready and she told us to count her in!  She is a great person with a huge heart and tremendous passion for children." These two women's vision and leadership will make for creating many life impacting changes.

According to Cooper and Dubbeldam, the goal of the Academy is to house and educate 200 children.  There will be  resident halls for both boys and girls as well as academic buildings, dinning halls, staff houses, a library, computer lab and play ground. The MCF team is also keeping in mind that the Academy will be a home to the children that attend and therefore are making sure it is comfortable and safe. Their goal is to build a safe home designed to be a child's favorite place.

Phyllis HollisJulia Szabo, Ceslie ArmstrongAppassionata, Wilbur MoiseevaSonya Pankey, Samantha Fennell

(L) Phyllis Hollis (LC) Julia Szabo, Ceslie Armstrong (RC) Appassionata, Wilbur, Moiseeva (R) Sonya Pankey, Samantha Fennell

Heidi Gardner, MacDella Cooper, Barbara BrennanT. Hall, G.NicoleJoJoBailey Hanks

(L) Heidi Gardner, MacDella Cooper, Barbara Brennan (LC) T. Hall, G. Nicole (RC) JoJo (R) Bailey Hanks


MacDella spoke of inspired her for the MCF Academy: "The children inspired me.  I think about the children everyday.  They deserve better."  The MacDella Cooper Foundation is changing the children's circumstance in Liberia through the gift of a home, education, caring, and love.  

Soon after the MCF Academy event MacDella, Winka, and the team went to Liberia to work on the plans. "My last trip to Liberia was very busy.  Winka and I had a lot to accomplish in a short period of time," said Cooper.  "We had to find a building site for the campus, look for local crafts that we could incorporate in the building, and find a local company to build the Academy-we did all of that in 5 days. It was a busy and productive trip and  I will say that my favorite memory was the faces of the children when we unveiled the news about the Academy.  They were so excited.  They were so thrilled,"  beamed an excited Cooper.

To learn more about MCF and how you can participate, go to: MACDELLACOOPER.ORG



Korto Momolu's Fall 2009 CollectionKorto Momolu's Fall 2009 CollectionKorto Momolu's Fall 2009 CollectionKorto Momolu's Fall 2009 Collection

Select images from Korto Momolu's Fall 2009 Collection

Korto Momolu, MacDella Cooper

(L) Korto Momolu, (R) MacDella Cooper

photos courtesy of MCF, and Sinclair Tucker of CESLIE: The Women's Network™


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