Corporate Philanthropy Transforms Life of Student at Annual AIF Bay Area Gala


San Francisco, CA, September 10, 2012 – On Saturday, September 8, the American India Foundation (AIF) hosted its Annual Bay Area Gala, The Mosaic of India, bringing together more than 550 guests, including some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most influential technology entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 CEOs, luminaries, and community leaders to raise more than $1.5 million in support of AIF’s education programs that have provided more than one million disadvantaged youth with access to quality educational opportunities.

Bharat Desai and Neerja Sethi, Co-Founders of Syntel, Inc. were presented with the AIF Corporate Leadership Award, and Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, Chairman & CEO of Symphony Technology Group and Wadhwani Foundation, was presented with the AIF Philanthropic Leadership Award at The Fairmont San Francisco. President’s Volunteer Service Award and Jefferson Award for Public Service winner Nipun Mehta provided insightful and inspiring remarks in a keynote speech that set the stage for an evening that highlighted the powerful intersection of social and corporate philanthropy.

Three time Emmy Award-winning NBC Bay Area News Anchor Raj Mathai joined Ed Gold of Reynolds & Buckley for a stunning live auction and fundraising drive dedicated to AIF education programs. The drive was preceded by a captivating personal testimony by Sunita Koli, a 16 year old student in AIF’s Learning and Migration Program (LAMP) from the rural Kutch district in the western state of Gujarat, who was able to access educational opportunities for the first time through AIF and continue to pursue her dream of becoming an accountant. Before then, Sunita joined her parents in migration to toil for up to sixteen hours per day in oppressive heat in the salt pans for up to eight months a year starting at infancy. This year, Sunita became the first girl in her community to graduate 10th grade. “Because of your help, lives of girls like me have changed,” Sunita remarked. “You have one Sunita in front of you today, but in ten years you will have thousands of Sunitas whose lives can change with your help.” The global accounting firm KPMG, a longtime supporter of AIF, committed to provide Sunita with a mentor during her final years of secondary education and the opportunity to join KPMG in India after completing college to help fulfill her dream.

AIF’s Learning and Migration Program (LAMP) provides migrant children and neglected rural communities across India with quality education through age-appropriate learning and innovative teaching methods to keep children in school and away from a life of exploitative manual child labor. LAMP educates and nurtures by providing resources that enable children to attend local schools, as well as safe and structured care in seasonal residential hostels during migration season. Since 2003, LAMP has reached 280,000 children, created 935 seasonal hostels, and made a lasting difference in 700 villages across six states in India. AIF’s Digital Equalizer advances the use of technology to engage, enrich and empower India’s under-served children by providing computers, software, Internet access and training to children and teachers in underprivileged schools across India. To date, the program has been implemented in 2,077 schools in 14 states across India, training over 24,000 teachers and improving the quality of learning for over 800,000 children.

Since its founding in 2001, AIF has raised and deployed over $75 million to support its programs in the areas of education, livelihoods and public health that have impacted more than 1.5 million of India’s poorest and marginalized individuals. President Bill Clinton serves as Honorary Chair and Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen chairs the Advisory Council.

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