Greenwich Look

Spring 2016

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g reenwich mother of four Elizabeth Boolbol grew up in Kenilworth, Ill., graduated from Dartmouth and got her MBA from Kellogg before beginning a career in public relations and marketing in Chicago, Ill. But her career took a few turns, from building and selling spec houses in Greenwich, CT, after her children were born, to a rich and varied philanthropic history that has lead to her role as spiritual chair at Women of Vision, a national program through which women aim to make a global impact and fi ght for victims of injustice. Boolbol herself is now a sponsor for seven children around the world and a passionate advocate for women and girls who are victims of sex traffi cking. How did you land in Greenwich? My husband, Robert, is a physician, and when we met was a practicing anesthesiologist. But he decided to further specialize in the area of interventional pain management. After completing his fellowship at University of Chicago Medicine, he joined a private pain management practice based in Connecticut, and we both fell in love with Greenwich. Tell us about your philanthropic work, including Women of Vision. When my children were young, I volunteered for the American Red Cross and at their schools. I served on the Parent Association Board, ultimately as PA president. From 2010 to 2013, I served on the board of Global Fundamentals, a funding advisory committee to the Laird Norton Foundation in Seattle, Wash., which helped fi nd water and and sanitation solutions in developing countries. In 2006, I was invited by a friend to a Women of Vision event to learn about World Vision's Child Sponsorship program and was so moved that I began sponsoring a child in Rwanda. The more I learned about World Vision, the deeper my desire became to get involved. I have served on the board for six years (three as co-chair and now as spiritual chair) and my family has sponsored seven children around the world. Tell us about your recent travels and your upcoming trip to India. Following my fi rst year serving as secretary, I traveled to Rwanda with Women of Vision and was able to witness fi rsthand the profound impact of World Vision's global programs. I had the privilege of meeting four of my sponsored children and was even able to visit one of them in her home. It was life-changing for me to see the letters I had written and photos of my family, and the profound impact that our sponsorship had on the whole family. There was such joy despite the fact that their home was a mud hut and they had nothing in the way of material things. They treated me like family, cooking for me and serving me soda, which for them was an enormous economic sacrifi ce. I will never forget it. In addition to Rwanda, my philanthropic work with both World Vision and Global Fundamentals has allowed me to travel to the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, which has given me an important perspective and under- standing of the issues facing the developing world. I have also taken my children to Appalachia with World Vision, highlighting for me the vast challenges here at home. At the end of January, I will travel with Women of Vision to India where we will meet our sponsored children there and visit World Vision programs including a mentor pro- gram and child protection program, among others. It must be incredibly moving to help these people. How have your travels changed your perspective? With each trip, your heart is broken, but at the same time emboldened to make an impact. Those of us blessed to live in a place as incredible as Greenwich have a great responsibility to look after those who lack the basic re- sources to live life to the fullest. One of the most diffi cult realities for me is how vulnerable women and girls are today. In 2016, they are preyed upon, and often sold into bondage as their only way out of abject poverty. There are more slaves today than at any time in human history, and human traffi cking is the fastest growing illegal business in the world. Think about that! That is not acceptable. Through my work with Women of Vision, I have learned that it's an issue here at home as well. Women and girls are being sold for sex along the Interstate 95 corridor. One of my dreams is to open a residential home for women seeking to leave a life of prostitution and create a refuge for those who have been victims of sex traffi cking. I am working with an incredible group of women who share my passion and we are hosting an event May 16 at my home to shed a light on this important issue. Becca Stevens will be speaking about the program she started in Nashville, Tenn., called Thistle Farms, which encompasses a bath Elizabeth Boolbol The passionate advocate for women around the globe is making strides to end poverty and injustice. Those of us blessed to live in a place as incredible as Greenwich have a great responsibility to look after those who lack the basic resources to live life to the fullest. FACES OF PHILANTHROPY [ ] 048

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