The Nobelity Blog is a running series of reports on the film and education work of The Nobelity Project (, including reports from our partner project Mahiga Hope High School in Kenya, and numerous other school projects from our Kenya Schools Fund. The blog also includes reports on our films, including the recent SXSW Audience Award winner, Building Hope, and on our advocacy for specific issues related to a more sustainable and just world for children everywhere.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nobelity Project Dinner launches Kenya Schools Fund

The Nobelity Project's Artists & Filmmakers Dinner at the Four Seasons was a fantastic night. We had 40 tables hosted by 40 legendary Texas artists including Ricardo Chavira, Kyle Chandler, Dana Wheeler, Jerry Jeff Walker and his buddy Jimmy Buffett.

Thanks in part to Patron Spirits and Becker Vineyards, the cocktail party was a big boost for our silent auction. We had too many donors to thank them all, but the three hottest items were Carlos Ortiz's BIG Willie Nelson portrait, a UT basketball signed by the basketballer in Chief, President Barack Obama, and a gorgeous John Allison-made Dixie Chicks custom guitar.

You can't beat the Four Seasons Austin for a big charity event, and throughout our great dinner, the crowd enjoyed performances by Marcia Ball, Harry Anderson, and by Shawn Colvin singing with The CourtYard Hounds, Martie and Emily
of the Dixie Chicks!
The evening celebrated the completion of Mahiga Hope High School and the
great news that our new film Building Hope had won the Lone Star Audience Award at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival.

Just before Martie, Emily and Shawn took the stage, we announced The Nobelity Project's new Kenya Schools Fund, building classrooms, libraries, computer labs and rainwater systems across Kenya.

The projects we've been planning are important infrastructure work at Mahiga Primary, Kabiruini Girls School, Honi Primary School, Mugaka Primary and the Daaba School. Special thanks to Kyle Chandler, star of Friday Night Lights and the summer's hottest movie Super 8, for a big contribution to a new library and computer lab for Kabiruini Girls High School. (Attention Kyle Chandler fans - a $500 donation at will add an extra Dell PC to the lab and I'll tell Kyle how wonderful you are.)

Additional thanks for key donations go to the Netri Foundation, Peace Love & Happiness Foundation, Carla & Jack McDonald and many others. During that one great night, we funded all the first phase projects, including work in a very isolated location, The Daaba School, where we are partnering with Well Aware ( to build a new water system and classrooms. Check out these photos of young kids climbing into an open 40-foot well to retrieve water, and of the outdoor classrooms where the sun, wind and dust add even more challenges to the difficulty of receiving a proper education. With your support of the Kenya Schools Fund, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of many thousands of kids across rural Kenya.

Three of these projects are already underway and we'll be announcing more school partnerships and good work so stay tuned.

If you missed the big dinner, plan to join us next year. We've already set the date. The 2012 Artists & Filmmakers Dinner will be Sunday, March 25, 2012 at the Four Seasons Austin.

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About Me

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People know me from different things I've done, and often seem to remember me from whatever I was doing when our paths first crossed. If you first saw me on television with Harry Anderson or doing stand-up comedy, you may be disappointed in my current level of funny. On the other hand, if you first saw me as that idiot narcoleptic guy in The Sopranos, I could really use a nap, so I'm still playing that part well. The last few years have been occupied by making three feature docs, Nobelity, One Peace at a Time, and Building Hope. All three were produced by our education and action nonprofit, The Nobelity Project ( I've also written ten books of fiction and nonfiction, most recently the NY Times bestseller, The Tao of Willie, co-authored with the very awesome Willie Nelson.