Shola Yusuf Selects Non-profit to Build Water Wells in Africa; African Born Shola to Give Back

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As an immigrant from Africa coming to America, becoming successful, and now giving back to Africa, Shola Yusuf asks other successful immigrants to give back. The owner of Shola Designs, an Italian made high-end fashion footwear newcomer, asks others to help The Water Project.

Pharmacies are my business but shoes are my passion. When I launch my Italian footwear collection in New York, I'll ask friends, family, and associates to contribute along with me.

Ms. Shola Yusuf announced today that she has selected New Hampshire-based The Water Project 501.C.3 as the best way to raise funds for village water well projects in Africa.

Shola Yusuf, born in Lagos, Nigeria, is a registered pharmacist owning 5 pharmacies in Florida. She said, “Immigrating to America, and living in both New York City and Florida, has been fabulous to me and now I want to give back. Pharmacies are my business but shoes are my passion. When I launch my Fall / Winter 2012 Italian footwear collection in New York next week, I want friends, family, and business associates to learn and contribute if they can. My shoes are expensive and will be worn by more affluent women who may care as much as I do in helping the best water projects.”

Shola Designs at first wanted to donate a percentage of sales but learned that due to differing state tax laws that is not possible. Shola said, “Originally, we wanted to ask our high end retailers to match our percentage of sales and they could, in turn, ask their consumers to learn more. This has been a learning experience and the folks at The Water Project were very helpful in guiding us in the legal and tax implications of giving. So, I decided to start my own personal page, as a corporate one is not possible.” The Water Project (thewaterproject.org) has posted her personal fundraising page here.

Across many African countries, women and children walk miles every day to fetch a few gallons of water so that they can cook, drink and wash. Building wells is a proven solution for so many problems. Shola hired a fundraising consultant to assemble a shortlist of water-related NGOs who operate in Africa. Shola reported, “The Water Project was carefully selected. We researched into their administration and fundraising costs and they were both very, very low at 5% each. Next, we read their Annual Reports and their IRS.990 forms. I consider this as my necessary due diligence.”

As an immigrant from Africa coming to America, becoming successful, and now giving back to Africa, Shola Yusuf hopes to reach out to other successful immigrants to give back.

Shola Yusuf and renowned designer and artist Mark Schwartz toured Italy to start the fashion design and manufacturing process to create the Collections. For more information contact Ms. Yusuf at (727) 424-8968 or email to shola(at)sholadesigns(dot)com. Or visit Room 1117 at the New York Fashion Footwear Expo (ffany.org) Feb 1, 2, and 3 at the New York Hilton.

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