AIF Raises $1.35 Million at New York Gala

News India Times – May 17, 2012
The American India Foundation raised over $1.35 million at its annual Spring Awards Gala at the Sheraton New York on May 10. Chanda Kochhar, the managing director and CEO of ICICI Bank from India, and John B. Veihmeyer, chairman and CEO of KPMG LLP from the United States, were honored at the gala for their service to the community, a press release from the foundation said.

The event was chaired by Frits Van Paasschen, CEO of Starwood Hotels; journalist Sribala Subramanian and Arvind Raghunathan, CEO of Roc Capital Management LP. Guests were treated to video speeches by key AIF leaders such as President Bill Clinton, who serves as the honorary chair. The AIF William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India was showcased at the gala.

“I am honored that AIF chose to rename its Service Corps Fellowship the William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India,” the release quoted Clinton as saying.

“This program has always been especially meaningful to me, as it blends my passion for India with my belief in citizen service. The alumni of the program are shining examples of how we all have the ability to make a difference.”
Former AIF Fellows spoke about how the program changed their lives, describing the transformations they went through and recounting the lessons they learned. The fellowship aims to create a community of socially engaged global citizens.
Attendees mingled at the reception while being entertained by magician Mathew Furman.

Seema Mody, a CNBC reporter and anchor, compered the ceremonies that kicked off with a fashion show by contemporary fashion designer Soigne K. Guests got an opportunity to shop her collection with 30 percent of proceeds going to AIF, the release said.

Later in the evening, Sandhya Jain Patel, specialist on Indian and Southeast Asian Art at Christie’s, led a live auction during which guests bid on items such as VIP tickets for a Kolkata Knight Riders game and a cricket bat autographed by Shah Rukh Khan, co-owner of the team; round-trip first class tickets from New York to London donated by luxury travel boutique Spotnana; and VIP seats to the premiere of Deepa Mehta’s upcoming film “Midnight’s Children” plus dinner with the cast.

Since its founding in 2001, AIF has raised and deployed over $70 million to support its programs in the areas of education, livelihood and public health, the press release said. While President Clinton serves as honorary chair, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen chairs the advisory council.

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