Lokvani – November 7, 2012
AIF’s New England Chapter celebrated yet again another successful annual ‘Bow Ties and Bangles’ gala at the spectacular Shapiro Courtyard on November 3rd at the MFA raising a record breaking $1.03 million for its programs in India. The Celebration of Philanthropy drew 410 AIF supporters for an evening of giving, fine dining and entertainment, in strong support for AIF’s mission of catalyzing social and economic change in India. Gala Chairs and AIF Trustees, Venkat and Pratima Srinivasan and Board of Directors, Raj and Nalini Sharma, along with fellow trustees, Brian and Sunita Pereira, spearheaded this enormously successful fundraising effort which raised a record-breaking $1.03 million in one night, making it the most successful AIF gala in its history in the New England region.
This year’s New England Gala honored Mark E. Nunnelly, Managing Director, Bain Capital for his role in Leadership and Philanthropy. Dr Anant Agarwal, President Edx received Special Recognition award for leadership in science and education.
In his introduction of Mark Nunnelly, Honoree of the evening, Venkat Srinivasan, AIF Trustee spoke of his long association with him and how this gala was special as it honored a dear friend and mentor. Recalling the early years in the late 90’s of meeting him in a small makeshift office in Brighton, he said he has witnessed Nunnelly’s humility, compassion and his deep commitment to giving which reflected in his involvement with other non-profits like City Year, New Profit, Jumpstart etc. In all these, the common thread was leverage, scale and a sustainable exit.
In his opening remarks, Nunnelly addressed everyone saying that, “We are all here tonight to pay tribute to the passion and generosity of people in this room and enabling AIF to make a difference”. Recalling his first visit to India as a backpacker in the 80’s to Calcutta, Delhi and Bangalore, he said that what he witnessed then was a kaleidoscope of color, flavor, and a deep sense of family and a remarkable aura of hospitality. Since then he has been to India twenty times and marveled at the changes that have taken place. “Along with success comes an obligation to give back”, he told the guests present.” Right now 40% of India’s population is in the middle class with a prediction that in the future 500 million will reach that status. “When more that 800 million earn less than $2 a day and 93% of its people are in the informal sector and 53%drop out before 8th grade”, he said, it shows that organizations like AIF and others have a significant role to play in the future.
Raj Sharma, AIF Board of Directors and Trustee conducted a very successful pledge drive giving donors a presentation on where the money raised from last year’s gala was used and applauded them for their generosity and their deep commitment to India. Drs. Sunita and Brian Pereira, conducted the art auction featuring artists Sunil Bambal, Jyoti Thakore, Husein Taherbhai and Girish Adannavar, a serigraph of Picasso and a 4 course dinner of Chef Thomas John. Nalini Sharma, AIF Trustee gave a vote of thanks. Present among the guests were Pradeep Kashyap, Vice Chair of AIF and Anjali Sharma, AIF Board member and Trustee.
The Black Tie ‘ Bow Ties and Bangles’ Gala, held at the MFA, attracted top donors and supporters committed to India, who enjoyed an exceptional evening featuring entertainment by Kashish Band who regaled the audience with spectacular music with their brilliant ensemble of artists and the Triveni Ensemble featuring a Tillana in the classical dance style. Sorboni Banerjee, Fox 25 news was the Mistress of Ceremonies, and the event attracted press from various local media outlets such as India New England, Lokvani and the Boston Globe. The gala pledge drive saw historic gains and the proceeds from the pledge drive will to go AIF’s Learning and Migration Program,( LAMP) created to provide education to children of migrant workers in India. A small portion of the proceeds will go to Hurricane Sandy.