Manuela Testolini did not start out as a philanthropist but advocating for the underprivileged was always on her agenda. The wife of Eric Benet and mother of two tells Inspired By This about her career journey that led to her founding In A Perfect World and meeting her husband.

“I was on track to be an attorney and soon decided it wasn’t for me,” Manuela explains. “I took time off, volunteered in a homeless shelter, and immediately knew that this was the type of work I wanted to do. I wanted to work hands on with high-need communities. I found myself doing consulting for different foundations, connecting them with partner facilities that needed their support. That experience led me to create In a Perfect World so that I could design and implement the exact programs where I saw the greatest need.”


Eric Benet noticed Manuela’s passion at a charity event, which caused him to take an interest. “I guess you could say it was fate for our family to be so immersed in philanthropy,” Manuela says. “Eric has really been one of the greatest supporters of In a Perfect World, whether it’s been hosting an event with me here in LA or traveling to Haiti to help build a school.”

Manuela’s daughters, Lucia and Luna, also contribute to their parents’ philanthropy efforts. “Lucia actually serves as a Junior Youth Ambassador with In a Perfect World and contributes to a variety of activations with us alongside the Youth Ambassador Program,” Testolini shares.

“Even though they are still so young, I really do encourage my daughters to be critical thinkers and to consider the world around them,” the celebrity mom continues. “Lucia took it upon herself to donate her [fifth] birthday, asking friends and family to contribute to a fundraising campaign so that kids just like her, who happen to live in shelters, could have birthday parties too. She managed to raise over $4000!”

Learn more about Manuela Testolini’s foundation here!



Sarie is a writer and editor for BCK's Los Angeles division. She also shares stories on Medium that are meant to encourage thought and discussion. You can catch her outside enjoying nature and classical literature. Pop culture is pretty fun, too!

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