The Hindu American Foundation Northern California gala helped raise more than $550,000 to benefit Hindu American advocacy in the areas of education, policy, and community, a Sept. 28 press release from HAF said.
Held on September 18, at the Indian Community Center in Milpitas, California Nearly 450 people attended the event, which included Hindus, members of other faiths, business leaders, and elected officials, and had featured Los Angeles-based comedian and host Rajiv Satyal.
The event was emceed by Suhag Shukla, founder, executive director and legal counsel at HAF, and Ravi Kapur, founder and CEO of DiyaTV. Featured speakers included, Barbara McGraw, director of the Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism, director of the Interfaith Leadership Program, and professor of Social Ethics, Law & Public Life at Saint Mary’s College of California; Murali Balaji, director of Education and Curriculum Reform at HAF, and Mohak Shroff, vice president of Engineering, Consumer Products of LinkedIn.
Among those honored at the event were D. Andrew Kille, chair of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council who received the 2016 HAF Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Advancement of Religious Pluralism; and Sanjay Patel, writer and director of Pixar’s short film, Sanjay’s Super Team was bestowed the 2016 HAF Pride of the Community Award. Two Indian-American Olympic medalists, Rajeev Ram, silver medalist in doubles tennis, and Akash Modi, bronze medalist in parallel bars, were also recognized for their achievement.
Vilas Nayak, a speed painter from Ukire in Mangalore District, delighted the audience with two sessions of speed painting accompanied by lively music. Surplus food from the event was donated to Copia, an organization that distributes meals to communities in need.