American India Foundation raises $1.8 Million to help underprivileged in India

During 2 separate events held in California on March 17th and 24th, The American India Foundation raised over $1.8 Million to Help Underprivileged in India. At the 5th annual gala held on March 17th, the Orange County, California chapter of the American India Foundation celebrated 16 years of service to India’s underprivileged population and raised more than $500,000 to support the organization’s contributions to education, public health, livelihood, leadership and gender focus in India, according to a press release. The event was attended by more than 300 local community professionals and was held at the Pasea Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach, California.

The evening was filled with traditional Indian cuisine, a live performance by the performance ensemble Molodi and the auction of international travel packages, art painted live by Gregory Adamson and a wine and culinary experience at Gagnon Cellars of Temecula. Master of ceremonies was comedian Anish Shah and the live auction was hosted by Matt Rogers.

The gala honored the achievements of Kevin and Nita Parikh of the Avasant Foundation and highlighted contributions of the Orange County chapter to foundation programs. The gala was chaired by MSI International and Tarsadia Foundation. AIF’s Southern California chapter was launched in the summer of 2013 to accelerate the foundation’s mission of catalyzing social and economic change in India.

The Foundation on March 24 hosted its annual ‘Bay Area Gala 2.0’ at the Union Square Hilton in San Francisco, raising funds in helping to achieve its mission addressing development challenges in India, including poverty, educational gaps and maternal health. The $1.3 million raised at the gala will help the foundation with continuing to deliver life-changing programs to those in need.

The gala drew leaders and luminaries from the Indian American and wider Bay Area communities who came out to support the foundation which, in its 18 years of service, has uplifted the lives of over 3.7 million people in India.

Among the AIF initiatives the funds will support are: Digital Equalizer, the Learning and Migration Program, the Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative, Market Aligned Skills Training, Ability-Based Livelihoods Empowerment and Rickshaw Sangh.

“We are working with over 13,000 schools in India and have impacted 200,000 families through our education and skill development programs, but there is lot to do,” AIF chief executive officer Nishant Pandey told India-West. “Our vision is to significantly scale up all our programs and leverage resources of the government and the private sector towards this goal.”

The CEO added that he is “proud of everything” AIF is doing, particularly by the passion and commitment of all its supports. “(The) Bay Area has been a big pillar in terms of the time and resources of people,” Pandey said, adding the foundation is looking for more engagement and resources from the area, which has already had a tremendous impact. “The magnitude of challenges in India is huge and we would like to scale up all our programs.”

During the event, AIF Board co-chair Lata Krishnan addressed the more than 500 donors and supporters on hand with the gala’s keynote address, relaying the inspiration she exudes having been with the organization for nearly two decades. “Having been here for over 17 years I am still inspired and energized by how little it takes to impact not just one life, but millions. I believe that in today’s uncertain times, civil society and nonprofits, like AIF, help bridge the gap between government and society,” Krishnan said. “It is our role to enhance the abilities of the government and the private sector to transform poverty into potential.”

Vijay Goradia, Indian American founder and chairman Vinmar International, received the AIF Leadership Award for his tireless support of nonprofit organizations dedicated to education and entrepreneurship. “When you are young and healthy, what you give is gold. When you are old, what you give is silver. What you leave behind when you are dead is lead. My wife and I decided to give when we are of sound mind and healthy,” said Goradia, who pledged $100,000 to AIF. “I believe the more resources you put in, the greater the impact. The sooner you put those resources to work, the quicker you will get the results,” Goradia added.

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