Rays of Light Philanthropic CEO, Elaine Ray, is a former foster care child and desired to be in a position to give back some day. In October 2008, while reading a magazine during a trip to the hair salon, ideas began to form about giving back specifically to foster care children. The idea to ask her community to donate gifts was born, but she could not stop there. So with the support of her family, they decided to add music, poetry, prayer and dinner to the evening, creating an environment filled with love and attracting people to come share their mission. Because they wanted to “Be a Blessing” by sharing the love of Jesus through giving, they decided to call it the CHRISTmas “Be a Blessing” Gala. They wanted to make the connection between CHRISTmas and an act versus perpetuating the mental posture to receive. On December 13th 2008, they hosted their first CHRISTmas “Be a Blessing” Gala in the backyard of their home in Chatsworth, CA. Over 150 people attended and 200+ gifts were collected.
Every year since, the CHRISTmas “Be a Blessing” Gala continues to grow and more gifts are collected each year. The community is responding and people are giving! Starting in 2014, RLP started the Backpack Drive & Family Fun Fest to provide underprivileged children with backpacks and school supplies. They have also included other fundraising events like Rays UP and Flow, a night of poetry and music to inspire the community and raise necessary funds to continue providing for the needs of underprivileged children. 2013 also marked the year when Rays of Light Philanthropic became a certified 501c(3) non-profit.