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Local entrepreneurs to hold fundraiser in Rancho Santa Fe

Black-tie gala will benefit Tariq Khamisa Foundation

By Karen Billing

Staff Writer

The PEERS (Philanthropy, Entrepreneurism, Environment, Relationships and Social Endeavors) Network, a group of local entrepreneurs committed to giving back to the community, will hold its second annual black-tie gala in Rancho Santa Fe on Saturday, Nov. 13.

The gala, which will be held at Casa Contenta, a private Covenant home from 6-10:30 p.m., will feature cocktails and catering by Giuseppe of La Jolla, music and live and silent auctions, with great items up for bid such as vacation homes in Spain, Canada and Mammoth.

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Tickets are $125 for the event, which will benefit The Tariq Khamisa Foundation (TKF), an organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of youth violence.

The group is named in memory of Khamisa, who at age 20 was killed by 14-year-old Tony Hicks as a gang initiation. Tariq’s father Azim reached out to Hicks’ grandfather Ples Felix and together they have worked to spread their message of non-violence to kindergarten through 12th grade students.

PEERS was founded in March 2009 by a group of 12 local entrepreneurs, all ranging in age from 30 to 40 years old. Members include Adam Baker, Reed Caldwell, Trevor Callan, Josh Jenkins-Robbins, Bill Malloy, Greg Olafson, Malcolm Davies, Mitch Thrower, Chad Ruyle, Martin Waters, Hany Girgis and Derek Cowling.

The men have all found great success in business and wanted to find a way to make a difference by supporting charities.

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“The idea was we wanted to give back and contribute to the community here and at the same time encourage growth and develop a peer network to lean on each other and provide guidance in responsible business,” said founding member Malcolm Davies.

In a short time, Davies said they have been able to accomplish a lot. The members contribute donations monthly into a fund and have supported groups such as Father Joe’s Village, Junior Achievement BizTown and Equinox Center, the beneficiaries of last year’s gala that advocates smart growth policies for San Diego.

PEERS’ goal is to contribute $3.8 million over five years in private capital and like-kind services.

The group meets the first Friday of every month at members’ houses, they talk business and network. The initial meeting is usually followed up by a fun dinner with spouses and significant others.

Davies said the men didn’t know each other very well when they started but they have all become great friends.

“It’s just been really amazing experience,” Davies said.

Davies said they welcome new members and plan to create separate PEERS pods throughout the city.

Learn more about PEERS Network at peernetwork.org. Tickets for the Nov. 13 event are available online at

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www.peersgala.eventbrite.com

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