Events

The Dalai Lama and Grace Family Vineyards Foundation honor forty-eight in 2014 Unsung Heroes Of Compassion event in San Francisco, February 23, 2014

The Dalai Lama greets James “Alex” Alexander at the 2014 Unsung Heroes of Compassion ceremony held at the Ritz-Carlton on Sunday. Alexander is being recognized for his work founding a program in prison to tutor inmates. Today, Alexander is helping people from all walks of life as a drug and alcohol counselor in Napa and Sonoma counties. Briana Marie Photography / photo ©2014 Napa Valley Register

From the article:

Fifty-one honorees gathered together on Sunday to be acknowledged by the 14th Dalai Lama in recognition of their contributions to humanitarian efforts. These 24 women and 27 men, ranging in age from 16 to 85, are working in 18 countries worldwide. Among them were seven residents of the Napa Valley: Craig Bond, James “Alex” Alexander, Paula Dhanda, Susan Dix Lyons, Robert Hampton, Sandra Hansen and Luc Janssens.

“It was truly humbling and inspiring,” said honoree Bond, from St. Helena, who was recognized for his work with children through the nonprofit St. Helena Choral Foundation. Bond said, “I was overwhelmed, especially meeting so many others who were being honored. They are doing incredible work.” Bond paused for a moment, reflecting. “It was a once in a lifetime event,” he said. “And it motivates me to do more.”

Read the whole story at the Napa Valley Register.


A reception for author Conor Grennan on April 6, 2013.

Dick Grace invited Conor Grennan, author of the book, Little Princes, came to speak at the winery on April 6.

It was a wonderful gathering of seventy-five or so people, many of whom have been involved in Grace Family Foundation projects and other charitable ventures in the far east, as well as a fair contingent of friends and associates of the winery.

The evening began with a lovely dinner on the grounds in the warm summer late afternoon. It was a reunion of sorts for many there and, like any good garden party, lots of introductions and new friends made. At the appointed hour, we were all ushered in to the winery where Conor gave a short talk accompanied by a slideshow.

It was a great presentation—Conor is not only a man of action, but a very witty and entertaining speaker. The story he told was nothing short of astonishing and it is all contained in the book, which we highly recommend. You can purchase the book at Amazon or, better yet, your local independent bookstore. Ask for it by name: Little Princes by Conor Grennan.

Here is a short description of the book from Conor’s website:

LittlePrinces_small

Purchase Little Princes on Amazon.

About to turn 30, Conor Grennan planned a year-long trip around the world. He started his trip with a three-month stint volunteering in the Little Princes Orphanage in war-torn Nepal. What was supposed to be just a three-month experience changed Conor’s life, and the lives of countless others.

While playing on the roof of the orphanage, Conor was approached by a woman who would turn out to be the mother of two of the wards. Over hours of conversations with her, Conor learned the truth about the kids he’d come to love. Many of the little princes were not orphans but rather had been taken from their homes and families by child traffickers. In addition to losing two of her boys, this woman, while under the control of a human trafficker, was doing her best to keep seven other terrified kids alive in her mud hut. Conor’s life changed in those moments, as he decided to commit himself to these kids.

After securing spots in an orphanage for all seven and arranging for an excellent local staff to run the Little Princes orphanage, Conor escaped Nepal, one day before revolution erupted in Kathmandu, with the King’s police shooting protestors in the streets.

After arriving home, Conor received a devastating email reporting that the seven kids had disappeared, snatched once again by the same trafficker. Soon he was back in Kathmandu, riding through the chaotic streets on the back of a local’s motorcycle, searching for his kids, seven needles in a corrupt haystack. And that is where Conor’s story begins.

Conor pledged to not only start a new orphanage for these seven but to start an entire new program dedicated to reuniting kids with their lost families in remote villages in the Nepalese hills, a four-day walk at best through war-torn precincts with no roads.

Conor’s organization, Next Generation Nepal, has reconnected almost 300 families with children they feared were lost to them forever.

You can learn more about his the foundation here, as well as read some wonderful musings and stories, at Conor’s own website.

Here are some very impromptu videos we made of the event.

Part 1—Dick’s introduction

Part 2—Conor’s opening remarks

Part 3—Conor on how his adventure began

Part 4—In which Conor tells the children he ate a hamburger