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AIF's New England chapter makes a fundraising record

By Suman Guha Mozumder
December 21, 2011 20:59 IST

The American India Foundation's New England chapter raised a record-breaking $1.1 million (Rs 5.72 cr) in one night during the chapter's 5th annual gala in Boston on December 3.

The celebration of the organisation's 10th anniversary drew 450 American India Foundation supporters. The foundation, which has helped more than 1.5 million people through its programs and partnerships with Indian non-governmental organizations, raised $694,420 from pledges alone.

"The AIF gala was a wonderful demonstration of generosity and support for the most marginalised segments of India's society," said Raj Sharma, AIF trustee and India Abroad columnist. "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 organising educational and informational events over the course of the year."

AIF trustees Venkat and Pratima Srinivasan made the highest contribution of the evening with a pledge of $200,000. The proceeds will go to AIF's Learning and Migration Program, created to provide education to children of migrant workers in India.

Victor Menezes, the AIF chair, who was instrumental in the founding of the organisation in 2001, said, "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."

Before the gala, approximately 60 key people from AIF met over two days for a leadership retreat to discuss the foundation's accomplishments in the last decade and plan strategies for the coming decade.

Saluni P Fadia, the gala chair, said, "Each team member is selflessly dedicated to the cause and works with utmost devotion to raise awareness for the millions of underprivileged and marginalised in India."

The gala honored Ravi Akhoury, former chairman and chief executive officer, MacKay Shields, adviser to New York Life, and founder of the Akhoury Foundation, for his role in guiding AIF's strategic philanthropy in India. Sanjiv Chopra and Vikas Sukhatme received special recognition for deep commitment to AIF's mission.

Suman Guha Mozumder in Boston