Celebrating 10 Years of Creative Impact!

It was a family reunion of sorts for the Compassionate Eye Foundation (CEF) last week as past and present volunteers, board members, photographers, and project partners gathered in Vancouver to celebrate a decade of creative impact.

CEF 10th Anniversary-60

Back in the city where ten years ago he held CEF’s first photo shoot, CEF’s founder, Robert Kent, gave a heartfelt reflection on the past decade and growth of the organization. This was followed by a moving song by guitarist, Jonah Ocean.

CEF 10th Anniversary-24

Steven Errico, who has shot for CEF each year, shared photographs and memories from his trip to Cambodia to see some CEF projects firsthand. Our project partners in Cambodia, Rick and Adrianne from Kids International Development Society, also gave an update on their projects and shared a framed Certificate of Thanks from the community where  the latest school build we helped fund was recently completed.

CEF 10th Anniversary-sErricoCEF 10th Anniversary-RA

Board Chair, Dan Rogers, acknowledged CEF’s global community of volunteers, partners, photographers, and other contributors who were missed at the event. CEF would not be where it is today without this incredible network of dedicated and talented individuals – including our stellar production team in the UK – Kate Stevens and Philippa Cooper, and former creative director, Fiona Watson.

As an example, this has been a busy couple of weeks for CEF. On June 14, Christopher Robbins was shooting in New York City. June 18 was a big day with four photographers in two cities – starting in London with photographers Kelvin Murray and Oli Kellett and later that day with Robert Kent and Steven Errico on an education themed shoot in Vancouver with producer Amy Jones (see photos below). On June 24, there will be a photo shoot in Toronto with Kara Dillon and Vicki Schelstraete.

CEF School Behind the Scenes-8CEF School Behind the Scenes-24

CEF School BTS-1

So far our tenth year has been a big one, and there’s more to come! Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up to date. We will also be sharing memories throughout the year and hope you will too. Post your CEF memories on social media and tag them with #CEF10x10. Thank you for helping us have a wonderful first decade of making a positive difference around the world!

Many thanks to Gavin Kennedy for these great shots from the 10 year anniversary party and behind the scenes Vancouver photo shoot. Be sure to check out our Facebook page to see more!

Photo of the Week: Aloha from the Eco-Holiday photoshoot

Mia Wesley, Social Media Coordinator 

On March 22, Compassionate Eye Foundation celebrated World Water Day at the Seaview Eco-Epicurean Waterfarm in Puna, Hawaii! At this unique location the photographer and founder of CEF, Robert Kent, was joined by photographer Attila Pohlmann and the shoot producer Zoe Eisenberg collaborating together for a family themed Eco-Holiday photoshoot. Below is a behind-the-scenes shot from the day featuring three of our fantastic volunteers and photographer Robert Kent.

Unsure of what an eco-holiday is? Look no further! Eco-holidays, also known as ecotourism, are a responsible form of travel to natural areas that help to conserve the most pristine areas of our environment. This form of travel is much more sustainable than traditional mass tourism. Ecotourism is not only a more environmentally sustainable form of travel but it also helps to educate the local and global communities about the importance of environmental preservation.

The Hawaiian Islands have some of the worlds most complex ecosystems and consequently the islands are at a very high risk as climate change continues to threaten the ecosystems. There is so much to learn and explore throughout the various ecosystems of the Hawaiian Islands and eco-holidays are one of the best ways to do it. The Seaview Eco-Epicurean Waterfarm is an absolutely breathtaking facility which provides “the lower Puna community with purified, blessed and structured water.” Please visit the Seaview Eco-Epicurean Waterfarm’s website to learn more about their environmentally sustainable and innovative approach to the most sacred source of life: water.


New Funding Partner: Seaview Eco-Epicurean Waterfarm

Dan Rogers, Board Chair


Compassionate Eye Foundation is very pleased and excited to announce a new funding partnership, with a historical twist. Earlier this year CEF entered into an agreement with the Seaview Eco-Epicurean Waterfarm in Puna, Hawaii wherein the Waterfarm would donate 25% of all sales to CEF’s global projects. Waterfarm is a community organization which provides locals in the lower Puna area with blessed and structured water through monthly co-op memberships.

But why? One of the founders of the Waterfarm is our founder, Robert Kent. Robert continues to make a difference in the world on so many levels.  Below is an excerpt from the Seaview Water Farm website:

25% of all Seaview Eco-Epicurean Waterfarm water sales will be donated directly to CEF’s work around the world. This amount will also be matched by CEF. For every $5 you donate for your water, we will donate $1.25 to CEF, which will be matched 1:1, resulting in $2.50 of impact in developing nations. The primary focus of these projects will be on clean water programs.

You can learn more about Seaview here!

Here’s to fresh, pure water around the world.  Many thanks to Robert and all involved in the Farm!

Happy Lifestyle Shoot in Vancouver

Leah Yee, Social Media Manager

Who doesn’t enjoy a fun summer day at the beach? At the beginning of August, CEF photographer Katie Huisman and her team headed down to English Bay in Vancouver for another Focus on Change photo shoot – aside from a slight lack of cooperation from the weather, the shoot and photos turned out wonderfully! We caught up with Katie to find out more…

Behind-the-scenes with Katie and models Rebecca and Jarrod. Photo by Jean Cueta
Behind-the-scenes with Katie and models Rebecca and Jarrod. Photo by Jean Cueta

CEF: Tell us about the concept of the shoot.

Katie: Each year with CEF, my goal is to create a saleable concept that represents a clean, healthy, happy lifestyle. The first step in this is to begin conversing through email with my art director, Fiona Watson, who is based in London. We start talking about location options for the shoot and we go from there. This year there were a few location options, but given the time of year and the weather we decided to shoot a beach-themed summer shoot – think “happy, healthy, youthful couple on a beach date”.

 CEF: Tell us a bit about how the day went.

Katie: Usually nothing ever goes quite as planned. This summer in Vancouver has been unusual, with not a drop of rain or a cloud in 30 days. We decided to shoot at 3:00pm and run into sunset, which would have been lovely, but it was cloudy and overcast. Our youthful beach couple were decked out in bright colours with hula hoops, beach balls, and frisbees… heading to the beach in the clouds and overcast? It looked odd. I had to make a quick executive decision to stop the shoot early and have a re-shoot the following morning. My crew was amazing and agreed to pull it all together again the following morning in bright sun and blue sky… it was perfect!

CEF: Who else was involved in the shoot? 

Makeup artisit Jackie Pierre
Makeup artisit Jackie Pierre

Katie: Board members Susan McDonald and Robert Brown consistently reach out to me with their support each year, which I am so grateful for. My amazing art director Fiona Watson is in London, England and we’ve been working together via email for a few years, my crew on the shoot day is made up of makeup artist Jackie Pierre and her assistant Sofia, photo-assistant and behind-the-scenes photographer Jean Cueta, wardrobe stylist Jodi Abrams, and the talent, Rebecca Rausch and Jarrod Johnson.

CEF: How and why did you become involved with CEF? 

Katie: I became involved with CEF several years ago when I was an assistant photographer to Robert Kent, founder of CEF. I was and am still truly inspired by Robert and his vision for positive change and ability to build community. CEF is one of the most rewarding annual projects I work on each year bringing together a generous and talented group of people.

CEF: Outside of CEF, what kind of photography do you do?

Katie: Outside of CEF I’m very involved in the local photographic community both commercially and in the contemporary arts. Commercially, I shoot lifestyle imagery for Getty images, corporate advertising and editorial content for Canadian business magazines along with freelance advertising for a various local businesses.

This year I’ve been very busy working with Capture, a not-for-profit festival celebrating local and international photography and lens-based art. The festival aims to foster emerging talent, encourage active community participation, and initiate public conversation about photography as an art form as a means of communication, and as a mode of cultural documentation and social reflection. Vancouver’s first annual city-wide photography festival launches Oct 1st, 2013. My art work is based on a conceptual portrait study that explores the creation of identity in 19th century photography by using facial masking to study attraction, genetics and ethnography in contemporary society. I’m currently working on a solo show that will be exhibited in February 2014 at Initial Gallery in Vancouver. This body of work contains both prints and video, shot in medium format film.

Stay Tuned

Keep following the CEF blog for more stories on our people and the work we do!

The People of CEF: Doug Moore

By Leah Yee, Social Media Manager

For the August edition of The People of CEF we would like to introduce Doug Moore, who has contributed his time and talents to Compassionate Eye Foundation since its inception,  helping to shape our organization into what we are today.

Doug Moore photoCurrently Doug is the creative director of dmoorecreative, a brand communications and marketing group in San Diego, California. Prior to working independently, he served as associate creative director for several local advertising agencies handling a variety of clients. In 2002, during the course of this work, Doug hired photographer Robert Kent, who would soon go on to found CEF, to work with him on a branding campaign for a regional bank. The two became friends – and as Doug began to learn more about the burgeoning CEF idea, he soon found himself collaborating on the website design and graphics. When an opportunity to take over as communications chair was presented in 2011, he was happy to accept.

Doug was originally drawn to CEF because of its unique funding model, which is based on generating monies through royalties rather than soliciting donations, and the strong sense of community among its many creative volunteers – a common sentiment shared by many of our volunteers.

During his 8 years with CEF, Doug has helped to shape our brand and communicate our mission – both internally and externally – in his role as communications chair, and more recently as a member of the advisory council.

He is amazed (but not surprised!) by CEF’s phenomenal growth over the last few years, and cites as an example the many photo shoots that now take place throughout the year. “In the the early days we just shot on the summer solstice, but now shoot on various dates and in different cities such as Vancouver, LA, and London,  throughout the year” he says. In addition, “the organizational structure has developed into one that is cohesive, interwoven and a fantastic brain trust of talented people.”

Now, concentrating on how CEF can expand as an organization as well as assessing potential projects, Doug brings a unique and valuable perspective – as he has witnessed first hand how CEF has evolved since 2005.

Thanks for all your amazing work Doug – we can’t wait to see what you bring to CEF next!

Update from the Twitti School

by Krystele Chavez, Social Media Coordinator

For several years, Compassionate Eye Foundation (CEF) has been working with Shelley O’Callaghan & the Friends for Zambia Society on the Twitti School project to extend educational opportunities in Lilayi, Zambia by providing funding to build the third and final classroom block at the Twitti School. Last year alone, as part of the project, CEF donated $12,000 to fill the rooms with furniture: desks, chairs, bookshelves and blackboards. The new three-classroom building has allowed an additional 150-200 children from the surrounding villages to attend school.

CEF founder, Robert Kent, sums up the importance of this global collaborative partnership:

“It’s truly amazing to think how taking a photograph can build a school in another country”.


We recently received an update on the Twitti School from Shelley O’ Callaghan. Her first impression of the new school was that it is beautiful, clean and well-maintained and that it was great to see how much the children loved and respected their school. The following is an excerpt from Shelley’s most recent visit to the Twitti School in Zambia in May:

   image011“There are always special moments on my visit. When I first arrived and walked into the preschool class, one little girl rushed up and hugged me and wouldn’t let go and just stayed by my side. Another day, I came across a girl sweeping the walkway. I told her what a good job she was doing keeping the school so clean and asked her whether her teacher had asked her to sweep the walkway. She said no, she was doing it on her own. She just wanted to keep the school clean. I was very impressed!  This is a stark contrast to the villages where the children live, and lets us see what an important influence the school is having on their lives. As always, the sound of happy voices fills the air. I am welcomed back with open arms, and they are excited to meet a new friend from Canada, Barbara Klopfenstein.  Barb spent her days talking with each of the scholarship students and going over their progress with their teachers.  The children loved spending time with her in the library.

 Most exciting was the introduction of the new headmaster, Mr. Hapaku. He has just recently retired after 17 years as a headmaster at schools in Lusaka. By complete coincidence, he had been a student of mine some 42 years ago at Namwala Secondary School. We are very pleased to have such an experienced educator as our new headmaster and expect great things of him. This was only his second week on the job at Twitti so I am sure he will have lots of ideas as he gets acclimatized.

A former volimage014unteer at the school from Canada, Matt Weaver, sent glasses with lights for all the grade 7s which will allow them to do their work at home where the students generally have no access to electricity. Thanks so much Matt and Seymours Glasses.

The most pressing need for the school right now is a second school bus. Barb and I went on two early morning pickups on the bus at 6am and the bus was completely over-crowded, with 60 children in spaces for 25.  Nearly 200 children live an hour or more walk from the school and the bus transportation is essential for them. I heard pleas from teachers, parents, the PTA and Austin, the driver of our bus, “Please would it be possible to raise money in Canada for a second bus?”  I said we would do our best, so that is our top priority.
I had gone to Zambia with a focus on putting in place a meal program for the school. This is still something we are working towards.  However, in talking over the details with all of the teachers, administration, PTA and the Board of Trustees, I found that there were still many details to be considered.  The school has sent home a questionnaire to get a better understanding of what the parents want and what they realistically can afford.  The Board of Trustees was adamant that a meal program would have to be available for all children. The Board and the PTA are going to spend more time working through the logistics and possible funding programs. We in Canada are going to wait until this further research and consultation is completed before proceeding with the construction of a kitchen.

Many thanks to all of you for your continuing support of the Twitti School.


Shelley O’Callaghan & the Friends for Zambia Society are still looking for donations to assist the school with a second bus. If you wish to donate, please donate online at www.friendsforzambia.org  or send a cheque to Friends for Zambia Society at the address below:

3775 Edgemont Boulevard
North Vancouver BC V7R 2P6

To support our educational, health or sustainability projects please view our stock photos on Getty and spread the word about the work we are doing. To read more about our past involvement with the Twitti School click here.


PechaKucha Night Recap with Robert Kent

By In Hye Lee, Social Media Coordinator

Screen shot 2013-06-22 at 7.42.06 PMOn June 13, Compassionate Eye Foundation (CEF) was one of several world-changing organizations and individuals highlighted at PechaKucha Night Vancouver Vol. 28 – an evening focused on the ideas and people of Vancouver that have gone on to positively impact the world. Speaking at the event was CEF founder, Robert Kent.

To watch Robert’s PechaKucha video presentation, click here.

We had the chance to catch up with Robert after the event to see what he thought of the experience.

CEF: How do you feel the night went?

Robert: I’d say that it went super well—a 10 out of 10! I’ve never done anything like this before, so I was nervous, but the feedback we are getting is positive. People really understood CEF. I feel more prepared now for future talks and I would love to do a TED Talk. Right now I’m just putting the idea out there, and later we can work behind-the-scenes to make it happen.

CEF: What did you think about the PechaKucha format? Did it help convey the idea behind CEF to the audience?

Robert: Yes, definitely! It’s so quick and to the point. There isn’t room for too much information. I would compare it to an elevator pitch – the message needs to be very on point. The conciseness facilitated an environment that allowed us to interact with the other speakers, and find new volunteers in the audience as well as through word-of-mouth.

CEF: How did you feel about the theme, “Vancouver Around the World”?

Robert: I loved the theme and the opportunity of having 1,250 like-minded people in the room interested in global wellness! It truly was an ideal opportunity to share our CEF mission, vision, and purpose, which is obviously focused on global wellness. I loved it!

CEF: How did you make sure CEF stood out amongst the many organizations that were being presented?

Robert: I felt that our visual presentation stood out. Our goal was for a big, bold and simple presentation. One of the slides was of a video that rapidly showed CEF stock images, which resulted in a fast presentation, full of impact. I’d compare it to an Indiana Jones movie – the action started immediately, which was important in capturing the audience’s attention.

CEF: What was your favourite part of the event?

Robert: For me, having the crowd get excited about the Peggy Willett quote – “Your generosity will go far in supporting our mission” –  moved me. I loved hearing the clapping, cheering and excitement about our funding model and our explanation of how it allows our Board to focus on our mission rather than on grant-writing. The entire event was an amazing thing to be a part of, but those were aspects that really stood out for me.

CEF: Would you be interested in participating in this type of event again?

Robert: A huge yes! I love our story and I am so pleased to share it. In addition to dreaming of a TED Talk, I also love the idea of following in John Wood’s footsteps (John is the founder of Room to Read). Penguin Books is publishing his second book (with a ghostwriter) and John is now travelling the world doing keynote speaking events and book signings that raise thousands of dollars. I can see a CEF hardcover coffee table book full of our project photos and commercial images. I think we need a volunteer book designer! It is important to have mentors, but also to not have your path defined too narrowly. I would love to have coffee with Sharon Davis from Room to Read to devise a plan to get CEF more into the media spotlight and ultimately attract more donors. Sharon is full of ideas and is incredibly inspiring.

CEF: Thank you so much for sharing your experience with all of us!

Robert: You are so welcome. I am really stoked about some of these ideas for CEF. The speaker videos will be posted next week and I look forward to some feedback on how I can improve. I am open to some more coaching and training. I am so proud of us and our accomplishments and the communities we are building on both sides of the foundation.

Learn more about PechaKucha Nights in Vancouver, and don’t forget to keep in touch with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Join us! PechaKucha Night Vol. 28: Vancouver Around the World


By In Hye Lee, Social Media Coordinator

What is PechaKucha, you might ask?

It is a fast-paced presentation style that consists of showing 20 slides for 20 seconds each, enabling multi-speaker events to be concise yet informative, while enhancing both the visual and oral aspects of presentations.

PechaKucha first originated in Tokyo as a way for architects to share their designs and ideas, and has continued to focus on highlighting the creativity of its presenters.

On June 13, Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre is hosting PechaKucha Night Vancouver Vol. 28, with the theme of Vancouver Around the World.  The evening will focus on individuals from Vancouver who have gone on to change the world.

Among these fascinating individuals is Compassionate Eye Foundation’s own Robert Kent, who founded CEF in 2005. This is the perfect opportunity for Vancouverites to learn about CEF and its mission from the founder himself.

This event in particular, is an impactful way to spread the message of CEF. PechaKucha places a strong emphasis on visual art and the importance of ideas in conveying a message. These are values shared by CEF: highlighting the talent of photographers and other creative individuals, while giving back.

This particular PechaKucha Night’s theme, Vancouver Around the World, also fits with CEF — after originating in Vancouver, CEF has gone on to impact people all over the globe, from South America to Africa to Asia. Vancouver still remains a central location for much of CEF’s activity, including photo shoots, fundraising events, and, of course, this PechaKucha Night.

So come out and meet Robert in-person, and learn about Vancouverites who have gone on to change the world–we look forward to seeing you there!

Date: June 13, 2013
Time: Doors at 6:30pm, event starts at 7:30pm
Location: Vogue Theatre, 918 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC

Can’t make the event? Don’t worry! We will be posting a recap of Robert’s presentation and PechaKucha experience later this month.

CEF Goes to Africa – Great Photo of CEF Board Member Robert Brown in Africa

By Rey Buenaventura, CEF Social Media Manager

We wanted to share a great email from CEF Board Member, Robert Brown to his long-time friend and CEF founder, Robert Kent.  Robert Brown is one of our CEF board members traveling through Africa looking to experience, first hand, the impact of our foundation’s work.  From everyone back home, we also want to take this opportunity to send Robert, Sue, Michael, Dan and Susan our heartfelt thanks for sharing such wonderful thoughts and images over the past two weeks.  You are all missed!


“We have just finished six days of traveling here in Ethiopia visiting projects with Partners in the Horn of Africa (PIHA). Truly an unbelievable experience. One which I will never forget. PIHA has one focus (which I know is close to your heart) they are super clear that the  only feasible way  to turn the tide and make a difference is to educate the girls.  Everthing they  do is directly of indirectly connected to this goal.

Thank you (Robert Kent) for creating CEF as I am seeing the massive contribution it is making towards a better world. So it has given me this life altering experience.”


Robert Brown


Meet Susan Dick, CEF’s Education Chairperson

by Leah Yee, Social Media Coordinator

We would like to take the time to recognize one of our wonderful team members at Compassionate Eye Foundation, Susan Dick. As CEF’s Education Chairperson, Susan is responsible for finding education projects to get involved with. She is the main communications link between the foundation and the partners we work with around the world. When asked about what she does in the course of her work, Susan commented that the most important thing is to choose good educational projects that make a difference in the lives of others. She truly believes that knowledge is power and education is the key to empowering people.

Susan always knew she wanted to work with troubled youth and decided to explore her options by working with five non-profit organizations in five years to see where she best fit. This decision eventually led her to Guatemala where she became inspired to raise funds to build a school, which in turn, led her to meet Robert Kent and the Compassionate Eye Foundation. After partnering with CEF to successfully raise $20,000 dollars for her school project, she returned to Guatemala in 2007 to find a location for the school to be built. Upon her return, Susan decided to join the CEF board as Educational Chairperson. Needless to say we feel both honored and privileged to have her on our team ever since.

Susan believes that every single person deserves a chance to get an education and that many people were not getting this opportunity. She simply could not watch what was going on in the world without getting involved. She commented that CEF focuses on sustainable projects while being respectful of the local culture, and she loves having the opportunity to empower people to reach their potential through the foundation’s projects.

Susan is looking forward to the projects lined up for this year, including the ongoing Peer Literacy program in partnership with CAUSE Kids and the Kids International Development Society (K.I.D.S) Cambodian floating clinic (already up and running!), as well as expanding our work to help even more people. She urges everyone to consider getting involved with the Compassionate Eye Foundation and would like to thank the amazing and respectful group of talented people who love to make a difference! So, why not Join Us?