San Diego-based nonprofit honors local humanitarians

San Diego-based nonprofit PCI (Project Concern International) raised more than $500,000 at its 26th annual Hands Across Borders gala held Nov. 15 in support of its efforts to meet the needs of children in 16 countries around the world. Co-chaired by Molly Eldredge and Mell Gallahue, the event brought together over 600 people at the San Diego Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier to celebrate PCI’s work.

The evening honored three local philanthropists who have each made a difference in the lives of millions of children. Community leader and La Jolla resident Anne Otterson became one of only three people in PCI’s  53-year history to receive the organization’s Founder’s Award. Rancho Santa Fe residents Harry Leibowitz and Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz, co-founders of the World of Children Award, received PCI’s 2014 Humanitarian Award for serving vulnerable children worldwide.

The Leibowitzes were presented their award by actress Stephanie March, best known for her role on Law &  Order: Special Victims Unit.

“PCI is committed to transforming the lives of children and families living in desperate poverty around the  world, and we are proud to honor the hard work of people like Anne Otterson and Harry and Kay Leibowitz, whose humanitarian efforts have touched millions,” said PCI President & CEO George Guimaraes.

“And thanks to the kindness and generosity of San Diegans like Papa Doug Manchester, whose $50,000 donation was the largest of the evening, we are in a better to position to provide moms and dads around the world with the tools and resources they need to make a better life for their children,” added Guimaraes.

A highlight from the evening was remarks from PCI’s Senior Manager in India, Yawar Qaiyum, whose programs working with vulnerable children and youth on the streets of New Delhi has reached over 35,000 children and youth. He was introduced by Eldredge and Gallahue who visited the program last year with their daughters.

Guests at the gala were able to bid on artisanal crafts from around the world, including textiles from India,  woven baskets from Botswana, and jewelry from Guatemala, and at the end of the evening, 75 generous San Diegans made public pledges from $100 to $50,000.

PCI is a global health, development, and humanitarian organization working in 16 countries. It was founded in San Diego 53 years ago after a local doctor was inspired by saving two children’s lives while volunteering in Tijuana. The organization is dedicated to saving lives and building healthy communities around the globe,  benefiting over 10 million people annually in Asia, Africa and the Americas. For more information, visit