Painting for Philanthropy

Tom Foley Life Preservers Project Painting for PhilanthropyIn our latest blog interview, Cara Lemire spoke with Tom Foley, who is painting for philanthropy. Tom is one of the newest members of the Life Preservers Project Artist Collective. He also volunteers as a Mission Ambassador to the Paving The Way Foundation to raise awareness about human trafficking and prevent it through educational programs for families, teachers, and the hospitality industry. His role as a mission ambassador is to raise awareness about sex trafficking, and how to prevent it from happening in our communities, through our educational programs that empower youth, their parents and teachers to protect children from sexual exploitation.

Life Preservers Project: How did youth and community arts education influence your work?
Tom Foley: I never received any arts education but I have been an admirer and supporter of youth and community programs because children and young adults express themselves through so many mediums. Some find the arts as a way not only to express themselves but also as a way to communicate what they may be experiencing and need help addressing. When attempting to build bonds with children so they can tell you if they are being mistreated, you have to make many options available. Not all children will just speak about it, some may write about it, some may draw about it, or paint about it, but we as a community of people who care need to be able to hear all of it.

LPP: Why have you picked this particular medium to work within? Is there a specific reason you create the way you create?
TF: I paint because it’s the only medium that feels natural to me. It also teaches me patience which I need and I hear is a virtue, so I’m eager to learn it.

LPP: Why do you support nonprofits/charity? Why support the Life Preservers Project?
TF: During the first few years of my 10 years in London, I had the honor of working with judges and legal protections on issues like child abduction, child relocation, and forced marriage which gave me a sense of obligation to help vulnerable children and women. Human trafficking, or modern slavery, has emerged as the perfect storm combination from the increase in vulnerable

Tom Foley Life Preservers Project Painting for Philanthropy

children and women resulting from the significantly increasing economic disparities around the world combined with the now global pervasiveness of social media in the lives of the young especially. Vulnerable and desperate youth around the world can easy fall victim traffickers using sophisticated social media and social pressure schemes that youth need to be educated about.

LPP: What kind of social impact does your art have?
TF: At the moment my art just a hobby. To be honest, I didn’t think it would or could have any social impact, so it’s an honor to be considered to help support LPP through my art and I hope it does.

LPP: Describe your inspiration- artists, humanitarians, writers, musicians, etc.
Tom Foley Life Preservers ProjectTF: My grandfather was an artist and advertising executive on Madison Avenue back in the 60’s and early 70’s. Although he passed away before I met him, I am told that I inherited some of his ability to paint. It’s slightly eerie actually to see the common styles we have, but he’s my inspiration. I’m also just generally inspired by artists who have talent and conviction to pursue a life creating what they have passion for. It’s what the world has always and will always need.

Learn more about Paving the Way Foundation. You can read past interviews by visiting our blog.


Continuing to Help with Hurricane Relief Efforts

This blog was originally posted on LinkedIn by Maribel Rivera on September 22, 2017. You can view the original here.

The members of Life Preservers Project are asking a favor today.

We have had major hurricanes that have hit the Caribbean and the Southeast. We personally have family, friends, and colleagues in Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico and other islands in the Caribbean, as do many of you, who have been affected by these continuous storms.

Here is our ask. 

Please go to to learn more and make a donation or make a direct donation to our PayPal. Donations received will be distributed to Florida and the Caribbean. Life Preservers Project will match donations received up to $3000.

We’ll be sending money in waves with 100% of donations received provided to assist with relief efforts. Life Preservers Project will not keep anything for administrative costs. Through our recent fundraising efforts, we were able to provide a donation to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

Help is needed. Even a $5 donation can make a difference especially for the people in the Caribbean.

If you don’t make a donation to Life Preservers Project, please find a reputable organization and make a monetary donation or bring canned foods, clothing, toiletries, blankets, water, and shoes to local donation drop off sites. A list of drop off sites will be shared at our website over the next couple of days.

Something to note is that when hurricanes of this strength hit and damage cities, there is a potential rise in trafficking due to family members being displaced and being forced into trafficking. This is why it is so important to provide help and keep families together.

Why Life Preservers Project?

Life Preservers Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. This means that donations that Life Preservers Project receives are used for charitable purposes; that your gifts to the organization are tax-deductible; that the group makes financial information public; and that strict rules govern how much it can spend to lobby the government. If the organization isn’t a 501(c)(3), move on, because your donation might not be tax-deductible.

We are an all volunteer organization educating the public on human trafficking and helping survivors by raising money through our artist collective. We also give back to our community by working with other charities and raising money to support other charitable programs.

Board Members:

  • Shana Pederson, President and Founder
  • Maribel Rivera, Vice President
  • Michael Quartararo, Vice President of Sponsorship
  • Cara Lemire, Secretary
  • Eric Ramos, Founder
  • Bryn Bowen, Board Member
  • Michael Manfredi, Board Member

To learn more about Life Preservers Project, visit


LMA NY Member Spotlight: Shana Pederson

 This article was originally published on the blog of Legal Marketing Association.  For more member spotlights, professional development tips, best practices and thought leadership, visit LMA New York Local News.

By Deborah Gaines

Shana Pederson Life Preservers ProjectShana Pederson, the Recruiting Manager for the eData Group at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, seamlessly combines her work in the legal industry with a longstanding commitment to the arts. In fact, she got her first recruiting job as a way of supplementing her income while working with her father as a luthier, building stringed instruments in his New York studio.

Outside of work, Shana’s passion is community service through the arts. She is the founder and president of Life Preservers Project (, an international collaboration of artists dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. In this capacity, she’d like to warmly invite LMA members and their guests to the organization’s Eighth Annual Summer Fundraiser, a 70s-themed fundraiser and art auction taking place on Tuesday, June 13 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Proper West.  Net proceeds from the event will go to Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS), the only organization in New York devoted to fighting human trafficking and the exploitation of young women, and Project Rhythm, a New York-based non-profit with a unique approach to music education.

Shana is an active member of LMA, currently serving as co-membership chair for the Metro New York Local Group. We recently sat down with her to learn more about her background and her pro bono work.

From luthier to legal recruiter! Where did your journey begin?

I grew up in New Mexico and came east to help my father with his business. Along the way, I got my B.A. in Fine Art from Hunter College and fell in love with New York City. I wound up in recruiting by accident when I went to an agency to register for a temp job to supplement my income. They hired me to work for them and got me interested in the recruiting process.

How did you get into the legal industry?

That first job led to a position at Pittleman & Associates, a leading attorney search firm. Most recently, I served as managing director for Celeritas, a legal and professional services recruiting firm.

Tell us more about your pro bono work.

Like so many things, Life Preservers Project started in a loft in Brooklyn. Back in 2009, I attended an art benefit for Restore New York, the first long-term safe home for foreign victims of sex trafficking in the Northeast. I felt strongly about the cause, but at the same time I realized that a small loft event in Bushwick was not the best way to increase public awareness or raise a lot of money. Knowing that the legal community and law firms in particular, often take on pro bono projects related to domestic trafficking, I decided to combine my industry network with the local art community to effect real, sustainable change.

Later that year, I founded Life Preservers Project as a 501(c)3 with the purpose of creating an art collective that could raise funds and awareness through events and art auctions. We started in a pop-up shop at the RS Pop Up/Hotel in 2010, and then hosted a summer event with live music and an auction. Since then, we have raised more than $100,000 through our annual fundraisers, much of it thanks to the legal and eDiscovery communities.

Has your focus shifted over the years?

We’ve honed in on New York City-based victims of domestic trafficking. The local community is woefully underserved, and more often than not, victims are overlooked or not seen as victims. There is a lot of change needed on the local front and as an organization we feel that it is best to focus our efforts there.


Deborah Gaines is president of Deborah Gaines Associates, a communications consultancy specializing in the development and management of strategic content for legal clients. She is also a frequent blogger for Huffington Post.


Interview with NYC Lifestyle Brand Art we All

Art we All approaches art by embodying everything that New York City has to offer—rawness, strength, audacity coolness and straight confidence—and creating art from it. Art we All will be donating a custom painted 12″ vinyl record for our 8th Annual Life Preservers Project Charity Event and Art Auction. Art we All sat with us to share Art we All Life Preservers Project interviewabout inspiration, getting involved in community and social impact.

Life Preservers Project: How did youth or community arts education influence your work ? Do you feel youth/community arts programs are important today?
Art we All: Yes, I feel youth/community arts programs are very important. The youth deserve a creative space to freely express themselves through painting, fashion, music, poetry, dance, etc.

LPP: Why do you work with the materials you work with/in the particular medium?
AwA: I have no preference for materials or medium in my work.

LPP: Why Life Preservers Project? Why do you support non-profits/charities?
AwA: Life Preservers Project is a non-profit organization that gives artists a platform to express ourselves creatively. I enjoy artistically contributing to charitable causes like this one.

LPP: What kind of social impact do you feel your art may have?
AwA: Bringing people together through creation and collaboration is the social impact my art has on this world.

LPP: Could you describe your inspiration from artists, humanitarians, writers, musicians, etc.?
AwA: What inspires me is me. I am my inspiration and motivation for expressing myself and the things I do.

Catch up with Art we All on Instagram or on their website. Want to bid on their artwork during our event? Make sure to grab a ticket.


Interview with Stephanie Losi

Stephanie Losi Interview Life Preservers ProjectStephanie Losi was an artist prior to college and grad school. She worked for a Federal Regulatory Agency for years and found that very often her job was, as she puts it, “to tell people ‘No'”. Stephanie recently made the decision to start consulting, which gave her the opportunity to start creating again. She also found an amazing creative support system in the Con Artist Collective here in NYC, and she now gets to tell people “Yes”. Stephanie has been pleased to find her art is really resonating with other people and said she “loved that connection”

Life Preservers Project: How did youth or community arts education influence your work?
Stephanie Losi: I took art classes and had an excellent professor in High School who introduced me to The Art of Imperfection. Youth and Community Art helps people express things they cannot express in other ways. Art can help people find things they are good at.

LPP: Why do you work with the materials you work within this particular medium?
SL: I chose written word because I was a journalism major in college. I had some stuff going on personally and envisioned using art to express that. I drew a brain and then started putting words on it. It had been so cathartic. I had been working on the piece at the Con Artist Collective work space and had been “hiding” the piece while I worked on it. Ultimately it was very well received.Stephanie Losi interview Life Preservers Project

LPP: Is there a reason why you support Life Preservers Projects or other nonprofits/charities in general?
SL: I liked that it was a charity/cause that is centered around women. Also, the idea of painting on a record would break me out of my comfort zone.

LPP: What kind of social impact do you feel your art may have?
SL: It really goes back to what I mentioned earlier about helping people express what’s going on in new ways. I also enjoy collaborating with others and hope to do more of that especially if it is focused on change in communities.

LPP: There are so many artists, humanitarians, writers, musicians, etc. in the world. Who or how have any of them inspired you?
SL: One immediate example comes to mind, Bob Dylan. His words are an influence.

Stephanie’s art will be on display with other existing and new members of the Life Preservers Project Art Collective during the 8th Annual Life Preservers Project Charity Event and Art Auction