About Mary Fanaro
CEO & Founder
Founded in July of 2007 by social entrepreneur, Mary Fanaro, OmniPeace is a humanitarian fashion brand that supports breaking the cycle of poverty through peace and education. Every time you purchase an OmniPeace product, you are supporting a movement that begins with you. By using branded apparel and other fashionable consumer products as a vehicle to share its powerful message, OmniPeace has been able to gain supporters ranging from Hollywood celebrities to leaders in the global movement to bring change to Africa. To date, with its supporters and partners, the company has raised close to half a million dollars for charities, built six schools in Africa with its seventh on the way in 2012, helped raise funds and awareness for the City of Joy (a safe community and rehabilitation center for women and children rape victims of violence in Congo), and sent two convoys into Somalia with the NY Giants to feed over 5,000 families with The Global Enrichment Foundation.

A visit to impoverished parts of Africa moved Fanaro to find a way to not only take action that would make a long term difference, but also to align herself with an organization that shared her same goals and vision. While reading an article in the Los Angeles Times, she came across economist and global anti-poverty crusader Dr. Jeffrey Sachs whose formula for making African villages self-sustainable was ground breaking. She contacted his organization, Millennium Promise, a non-profit seeking to end extreme poverty by 2025. Mary met with Sachs and with his support and blessing, OmniPeace was born.

The stars seemed to be perfectly aligned for the success of OmniPeace when a routine visit to the doctor took an unexpected turn for the worst. Exactly two weeks before the launch, Fanaro was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Needless to say, she was devastated. She had been so passionate and worked so diligently over the previous two years to get OmniPeace off the ground that she couldn’t believe the timing of this news. But as the saying goes, when life serves you lemons, make lemonade; and that’s exactly what she did. Fanaro asked her doctor for permission to start her treatment a few days later than scheduled and launched the OmniPeace brand June 12, 2007. The very next day she started chemotherapy. For the next year, Fanaro fought cancer and poverty in Africa all at the same time. She knew that launching the company, instead of postponing it, would allow her to stay productive, strong, and healthy during a time that could have otherwise been very dark. In fact, it was the cancer that ended up changing her life and OmniPeace was the gift that ended up saving it. It is no coincidence that a few months before her diagnosis, Fanaro came up with the OmniPeace slogan “Can Fashion Saves Lives?” Little did she know “that” very same slogan would become her own self-fulfilling prophecy.

OmniPeace has gone to be a successful apparel company that still prospers today due to its dedicated support from partners and consumers all over the world. OmniPeace is proud of the company’s accomplishments and grateful to the people who have made it happen.

The image to the right was the Pulitzer Prize winning photo taken by Kevin Carter in 1994 during the Sudan famine. The picture depicts a famine stricken child crawling towards a United Nations food camp, located a kilometer away. Behind, a vulture is awaiting the child’s death so that it can eat its remains.

This picture shocked the whole world. No one knows what happened to the child, including the photographer Kevin Carter who left the place as soon as the photograph was taken. Three months after it was taken, Carter committed suicide due to depression from this event.

Inspiration Behind OmniPeace

The image to the right was the Pulitzer Prize winning photo taken by Kevin Carter in 1994 during the Sudan famine. The picture depicts a famine stricken child crawling towards a United Nations food camp, located a kilometer away. Behind, a vulture is awaiting the child’s death so that it can eat its remains.

This picture shocked the whole world. No one knows what happened to the child, including the photographer Kevin Carter who left the place as soon as the photograph was taken. Three months after it was taken, Carter committed suicide due to depression from this event.

The following entry was written in Carter’s diary regarding the incident:

Dear God,

I promise I will never waste my food no matter how bad it can taste and how full I may be. I pray that He will protect this little boy, guide and deliver him away from his misery. I pray that we will be more sensitive towards the world around us and not be blinded by our own selfish nature and interests.

I hope this picture will always serve as a reminder to us how fortunate we are and that we must never, ever take things for granted.

On this good day, let’s make a prayer for the suffering anywhere and any place around the globe and send this friendly reminder to others. Think and look at this when you complain about your food and food we waste daily.

These desperate conditions of poverty and disease inspired many people and still does so to this day. OmniPeace Founder, Mary Fanaro, is one of the people who took the image to heart. In part, it added to her motivation to create an avenue in which people could contribute to a cause and make positive change all at the same time.