by Nadine Weil
All photos are by Drew Altizer]
The eco-glitterati came together on Thursday evening June 21 to bask in the glow of Empowered By Light’s second annual Light Up The Night party, a sold out affair in San Francisco. Fresh off his movie premiere of “The Avengers,” Oscar-nominated actor
Mark Ruffalo flexed his celebrity muscle and co-hosted the party held at Roe to bring
renewable energy to rural Zambia.
A beloved advocate for the environment, Ruffalo told the cheering crowd that it is time
to move beyond fossil fuels and harness the power of sunlight. “I support Empowered
by Light because they are bringing light and renewable energy to those who don’t yet
have it. They are teaching whole nations that we don’t need fossil fuels to be modern,”
exclaimed Ruffalo. The actor is a green superhero (The Hulk) not just on the big screen
but also in real life, where he has a solar array on his New York home and spends many
weekends battling the practice of natural gas drilling or “fracking.”
Guests at the party enjoyed organic bites from Roe and sipped on eco-friendly cocktails
from VeeV Acai Spirit, sustainable varietals from eco.love Wines, and organic yerba
mate beer from MateVeza. VIP partygoers received gifts of stylish Lifefactory glass
bottles and RunRunRun bags made, coincidentally, from recycled water bottles.
Empowered By Light was founded last year by Marco Krapels, Moira Hanes and Gianluca Signorelli to improve lives through clean, renewable technology. With their Solar: Zambia project, they are delivering thousands of solar-powered LED lights and cell phone charger kits to rural African families and schools.
A recent trip to Zambia in May showed that the LED lights are not only eliminating the hazards and pollution of open-flame kerosene lamps but also helping the children improve their performance in school. The Ministry of Education in Zambia informed Empowered by Light that school children using the organization’s lights improved their test scores by as much as 236 percent.
“During our last deployment, we saw first-hand the incredible impact our lights are having,” said Krapels. “It’s richly rewarding to think that tonight, 8,000 children in rural Zambia are reading because of our efforts, where previously they would have been in total darkness.”
Krapels also announced the organization’s plans, in partnership with Suntech America,
to install a sun-powered, micro grid system for Sioma High School in Zambia.
As a highlight of the event, Andrew Birch, the dashing CEO of solar company
Sungevity, presented Empowered By Light with a $40,000 donation to support the new grid. “There is a universal need for electricity but a fundamental lack of access,” said Birch. “Empowered by Light is making a difference in rural Zambia, and we are proud to
be making a difference with them.”
The festivities were sponsored by environmental heavyweights Rabobank, Clif Bar, Suntech, Lemnis Lighting, Heart of Green, and SHFT. Overall, it was a blockbuster, star-studded evening where guests left feeling on cloud nine about their ability to make
the world a lighter and greener place. For more scoop on the organization, please visit