Support Us


Pilot Light's Board of Directors comprises a passionate group of experienced professionals who believe in sustainable development through economic independence. 

Board of Directors

Franco Simplicio
Food & Health

Born in Bari, Italy and raised in the restaurant business. Moved to California as a teenager. Educated at UCLA undergraduate and went on to get a doctorate degree from USC. My destiny was the restaurant business and I have opened many successful restaurants in the LA area, including Padri, Allegria, Tanino, Ca Del Sole, Il Pastaio, Frascati, Moonshadows and the latest The Sunset.  My passion is Seafood with a Mediterranean influence. I love making people feel welcome in my restaurants and will always have a great bar environment where people can be casual and gather with their friends or make new friends while they enjoy exceptional food and service.

Charissa Farley
Building & Paving

Charissa Farley is the president of Farley Interlocking Paving, a paving installation contracting company and a paving stone distribution company. She is active in the Building Industry Association, the BIA Women’s Council, and the Desert Contractor’s Association. Charissa has also been a segment host for the Southern California television programs “Desert Home Builders” and “New Home Television” and the host of “Home Makeover in the Desert” on Time Warner Channel 4. Born in Los Angeles, she attended Santa Monica College and University of Southern California. A 20-year resident of the Coachella Valley, she resides in Rancho Mirage with her son.

Chris Cortazzo
Real Estate

With nearly $4 billion in closings, Chris has been widely hailed for his outstanding production and his market making opinions, which are sought after by business and financial publications and broadcast media. In addition to his reign as Malibu's premier real estate agent, he is a member of Coldwell Banker's elite Top 1% nationwide and has been the number one sales agent in the company 5 years in a row. How does Chris continue to defy market expectations? A Malibu native, he has unsurpassed knowledge of the local market, enabling him to instinctively match clients with their ideal properties. Chris also excels at the negotiating table, navigating even the most challenging situations with grace and ease.

Matt Orr
Media & Storytelling

After gaining appreciation for working teachers and small-town America, Matt became a card carrying adult interested in politics and how it affects clean food and water, rights for all people, climate, and health. He's a lover of people, sustainable farming, community, and human rights. He spends his work life in the media, writing for sites like Upworthy and Distractify hoping to help change the world for the better. 

How can you light a spark?

We help the people of Africa through our curated funding, direct support, and decades of regional expertise. Your support will ensure delivery of transformative micro-loans to aspiring entrepreneurs in Africa's most economically disadvantaged areas. Your support changes people's lives directly - from one Ugandan honeybee farmer who improved his family's life forever, to the Rwandan Mother-Child Development Center that continues to empower young women through entrepreneurship training and education. Pilot Light is the trusted channel for transforming lives throughout Africa. Get involved, say hello, and donate in any way that is meaningful to you. 100% of your donation will be directed towards winning the fight to improve lives. Send us a secure email to the right, or click below to visit our Annual Fundraiser.

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