Laura Formentini

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Laura Formentini is an author, nonprofit photographer, and philanthropist. While working as an advocate to encourage people to travel, see more of the world, and catalyze positive global change, she became a child welfare activist and a supporter for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Her philanthropic work spans the globe, touching lives in Puerto Rico, Kenya, Malawi, Italy, and numerous countries in Asia.

Over the years, Laura has sponsored more than forty children through Plan International, an organization that advocates for children’s rights and equality for girls. She is currently partnering with them to write a book revealing untold stories about the positive impacts of child sponsorship.

Laura is also writing “Coming Home,” a touching memoir about her work at an African orphanage, and finding creative ways to travel safely as she continues to spread the message that practicing “Love in Action” not only brings healing to our personal lives, but holds the key to healing the world. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Archaeology and Art History from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and has worked as an archaeologist in numerous European countries.

Twenty-One Olive Trees: A Mother’s Walk Through the Grief of Suicide to Hope and Healing marks Laura’s debut as a novelist. She lives in San Francisco with her family.

For more about Laura, please visit

Awards, Press & Interests

Twentyone Olive Trees: Kirkus Star, 2021


Coming Home

COMING HOME is about my first and powerful teacher of transformation. Mama John’s faith in God accomplished miracles that glowed brightly at her Merciful Redeemer Children’s Home in the midst of utter darkness. I remember witnessing what felt like prayer after touring the school in Kenya on my first visit. She turned to the nearly 120 children gathered before us and said, “Remember what I’m telling you. God accomplishes His plan in His own way! We might not know when or how. He has his own timing. We are expecting miracles! We are expecting miracles from today!” And she received the miracles she expected just like she said––not in her way or her timing. I did too. She died five months later. This is the story of how many ordinary people like me tried to fill her very big shoes. I’m not a religious person, but I do have faith in something I call Love in Action which is the act of doing good things for those in need. Love in Action allows me to have the energy to do what I do and to take the kind of risks that I’d never imagined. It’s given me the ability to say yes to Mama John’s call for help when I’d otherwise say no. I found her hopefulness contagious and knew that the work Mama John had started needed to keep going. God would provide, as Mama John would say. But how? It’s an ending the reader can help to write with suggestions about how to give their own Love in Action maximum impact at the end of the book.


SANCTUARY profiles animal rescue projects from around the world, including Costa Rica, Morocco and Puerto Rico. Although I had originally begun my own animal sanctuary project following the “How to start and run an animal sanctuary” workshop I took at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah in 2014, life unexpectedly led me to explore how others have managed to operate their rescues instead. This is also a photographic journey since capturing moments in this way is particularly valuable to my personal artistic inquiry.


SPONSORED is written in partnership with Plan International (, and is about my experience sponsoring many children around the world for the past 15 years through the organization based in Warwick, Rhode Island. It tells heartfelt stories that speak to the positive impact of sponsorship and highlights expected and unexpected ways the experience has enriched the lives of everyone involved, including my own. Sponsorship is much more than a beautiful way to make a difference. It also teaches us that our differences aren’t that great. The more I work with different people in different countries all over the world, I realize just how similar we really are. We all need the same stuff––nourishing food to eat, a safe place to live, education, health, and the ability to pursue our unique strengths and talents. And it was this simple discovery that caused me to expand my sponsorship to more and more countries. Sponsorship is an amazing way to uplift non only the children, but ourselves. During these dark times, true connection saves lives and gives us a real sense of purpose.

Twentyone Olive Trees

Twentone Olive Trees is a collection of memoiristic fables, poetry, and letters that the author wrote to her son after his death by suicide. After each letter, 21 fables unfold further illuminating this intimate look at coping and acceptance that will intrigue, inspire and give hope to readers looking for answers about life and loss.