Bravo to AUSTIN EATON ’15, the 2014 Outstanding Youth Philanthropist for the Central Coast! Austin is being recognized today at the 23rd annual National Philanthropy Day of the Central Coast, hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals at The Inn at Spanish Bay.
Austin earned this honor through his philanthropic efforts to combatant the spread of Malaria in Africa. Through the nonprofit Imagine No Malaria, Austin is working to educate people and improve conditions in Africa. Angola, for example, is an African country, in Austin’s words, “torn by two wars leaving widespread poverty and deprivation. To add to this struggle, like in all Sub Saharan Africa, Malaria is also a constant threat to survival.” For Austin, what started as a simple 10-hour service project for school, has blossomed into a passionate campaign to help those affected by a devastating disease.
In the past three years Austin has transcended traditional approaches to fundraising, using creative and strategic techniques to raise money for medical supplies and treatments. Before a local Angélique Kidjo concert held this past summer, Austin took it upon himself to contact the venue and the artist for permission to set up an informational booth in the halls of the theatre. Considering the artist’s beliefs, her role as a Unicef good-will ambassador, and the statements she makes as an artist, Austin jumped on the chance to share his mission with her audience, continuing to raise awareness and funds for his cause.
Last June, Austin, known for his curly hair, put the fate of his golden locks up for vote in what was deemed as his “save” or “shave” campaign, wherein casting a vote required a donation which went to helping rebuild a medical clinic in Bom Jesus, Angola. After the final dollars were counted it was “save” that came out on top, allowing Austin to keep his famous head of hair.
In further efforts to educate and raise money, Austin has organized a luncheon, a soup-to-go event, and delivered two church sermons asking for donations.
Even after all of this, Austin has no plans to stop. “Some people tell me, ‘you’ve done enough.’ But I respond, ‘no, I haven’t because malaria is still killing people.’ It’s a simple fact that we can’t ignore. Malaria is preventable, yet every 60 seconds it claims a life in Africa, and sadly, most of its victims are children under five,” says Austin.
This marks the seventh year in the last eleven that a York student has received the honor of being named Outstanding Youth Philanthropist of the Central Coast!