This year’s New England Gala honored Ravi Akhoury, former Chairman and CEO of MacKay Shields, Advisor to New York Life, and Founder of the Akhoury Foundation, for his role in guiding AIF’s strategic philanthropy in India. Dr. Sanjiv Chopra and Dr. Vikas Sukhatme received Special Recognition for their exemplary leadership, accomplishment and deep commitment to the AIF mission.
“The AIF Gala was a wonderful demonstration of generosity and support for the most marginalized segments of India’s society. We were delighted to broaden our support base in the community and also attract the attention of the corporate sector. Our goal is to use the momentum of the gala to spread the message of AIF in New England by organizing several educational and informational events over the course of the year.” – Raj Sharma, AIF Trustee
The black tie Bow Ties and Bangles Gala, held at Boston’s Renaissance Waterfront Hotel, attracted approximately 450 guests, who enjoyed an exceptional evening featuring entertainment by Neena Gulati and the Triveni Ensemble and fine dining. Deepti Nijhawan was the Mistress of Ceremonies, and the event attracted press from various local media outlets such as India New England, Lokvani, Boston Common Magazine, and the Boston Globe.
The gala pledge drive saw historic gains; AIF raised $694,420 that evening from pledges alone. A special thanks goes to AIF Trustees Venkat and Pratima Srinivasan for making the highest contribution of the evening with a pledge of $200,000. The proceeds from the pledge drive will to go AIF’s Learning and Migration Program, created to provide education to children of migrant workers in India.
“AIF New England leadership and team is one of the best I have had the privilege to work with. Each team member is selflessly dedicated to the cause and works with utmost devotion to raise awareness for the millions of underprivileged and marginalized in India. It was so special to be able to be part of a very powerful movement by AIF to bring a clear voice for those who otherwise would never be heard, here or in India.” – Saluni P. Fadia, AIF New England Gala Chair 2012
Prior to the gala, approximately 60 key people from the AIF community met on Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd at the Renaissance Waterfront Hotel for a leadership retreat to discuss the accomplishments of AIF in the last decade and plan strategies for the coming decade. In addition to program updates, the first day’s discussion included ideas on how to advance gender as a priority for AIF, the need for developing an innovation pipeline, and how AIF programs can achieve sector wide impact. On Saturday, the conversation centered around how to develop a strong AIF Brand, tapping into the resources and ideas of the next generation, ramping up digital engagement strategies, and fundraising within India.
“I am immensely proud to be a part of this year’s AIF Leadership Retreat and New England Gala, which resulted in thought provoking discussions for the future of AIF. The passion and drive that AIF supporters in the US have for spreading awareness and garnering support for their mission is truly amazing to see, and the New England Gala was a celebration of giving that was a joy to be a part of.” – Victor Menezes, AIF Chair
The two-day event concluded with the gala on Saturday evening. Representatives from almost all AIF chapters - Tristate (New York, NJ and Connecticut)
The American India Foundation (AIF) is the largest diaspora philanthropy organization focused on India that is based out of the United States. Since its inception in 2001, AIF has benefited more than 1.5 million people through its innovative programs and partnerships with Indian non-governmental organizations. President Bill Clinton serves as its Honorary Chair; Nobel Economist Dr. Amartya Sen chairs AIF’s U.S. Advisory Council.
For more information, please contact:
Meghana Srinivasan, (+1) 646-530-8994
# # #
About American India Foundation:
Founded in 2001, the America India Foundation (AIF) is one of the leading United States-based foundations focused on catalyzing social and economic change in India, and is a trusted bridge for Americans to channel their philanthropy towards there. Working with 150 Indian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), AIF has invested more than $70 million in education, livelihoods, and public health programs that have reached over 1.5 million marginalized Indians. President William Clinton serves as Honorary Chair and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen Chairs the Advisory Council.