by Shobana Muratee
Updated Oct. 4, 2019
STAFFORD – The 31st annual fundraiser of the Indo American Charity Foundation, themed as “Share Your Heart – Texas Way,” was held on September 13 at the Stafford Center, with general appeal to the philanthropic spirit of the Indo-American community.
Leading up to the annual 2019 gala, the IACF hosted a series of its signature events in support of its founding principals: Education, Family, General Welfare and Healthcare. Early this year, IACF held the ‘I Walk, I Care,’ a 5k Walkathon in collaboration with IDA in aid of Indian Doctors Charity Clinic. This was followed by the Scholarship Awards program that gave 30 outstanding FBISD and AISD high school students scholarships as financial support, and finally the Grants Distribution event, where $50,000 was given in grants to charitable organizations in Houston.
“We have been working in unison and determination to achieve a single goal: “Enhance the Quality of Life” in the community we are today and where our future generations will make their marks,” said Venkat Iyer, IACF President, welcoming the gathering of nearly 600 guests.
“Continuing on the legacy of the past presidents, I have been focusing on making deeper inroads and reaching out to our brethren, and trying to drive the point home that IACF is the only Indo-American organization that ploughs back 100% of its proceeds to enrich the community we live in,” Iyer said.
This year, as part of the educational initiative, three families had committed to make donations of $10,000 for five years toward scholarships, mainly toward STEM programs, Iyer announced. IACF Director, Dr. Sushovan Guha pledged $1000 for five years towards scholarships.
On the occasion, a moment’s silence was observed in the memory of two former IACF Presidents: Sonal Bhuchar, FBISD Board President and Kamna Sharma. As a tribute to their contribution, a scholarship was instituted in the memory of Sonal Bhuchar was announced.
Also this year, IACF lost its dedicated director, Sreeni Nakirekanti.
Fort Bend County Judge KP George in his Keynote address said, “Today we gather to celebrate the great strides IACF has made in the past 31 years to better the lives of residents in communities all across the Houston region. Your efforts to feed the homeless, care for the abused, and educate low-income students in the ever-growing field of STEM have helped pave the way for entire generations of success.”
Judge George, a regular guest at the IACF gala and a longtime supporter of the organization said, “In our community’s most dire time of need, the IACF garnered $200,000 to put toward relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Harvey. This gala not only serves to acknowledge those great feats, but also to acknowledge the people behind them. Without the tireless work of our volunteers, staff, and members, and the invaluable contributions from our donors, such great efforts would have been unimaginable to accomplish,” he added.
The event’s highlights were the awards and honors that IACF bestowed on those who have been actively involved with charitable organizations in Houston. ‘
This year IACF honored seven couples as “Angels of Charity” and the recipients were: Leela and Nat Krishnamurthy, Kanwal Kaur and Col Raj Bhalla, Dr. Swati and Sameer Joglekar, Roopali and Amit Mittal, Dr. Shweta and Dr. Shilpan Shah, Ranjana and Tupil Narasiman, and Neera and Vipin Kumar.
IACF honorees for “Friends of Charity” award included: Srini Chittaluru, IT Consultant, Ramesh Maddi, President, Maddi Soft Inc, Carl Pham, Vice President, Whitney Bank, Mahesh Desai, Mahesh Desai, CPA & Financial Advisor, Peri Vaduganathan, MD, MRCP, FACC, Sam Kannappan, CEO and President of ABI Enterprises, and Ravi Varre, Founder and CEO, Camelot IS Inc. This segment was organized by Dr. Purvi Parikh and Rajesh Dikonda.
During the pledge drive – sporting a cowboy hat in tune with Texas theme – Houston’s singer-songwriter and actor Zelda Dashiell tugged the heart-strings of the audience with her original songs “Cease the Fire” and “World Peace.” Service is her passion, she said, and was grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community. IACF directors and several young volunteers were also assisting in the pledge drive, handing out cowboy hats to the happy donors.
Mistress of Ceremonies Lakshmi Peter was efficient juggling her task. Between presentations, she managed to give a classical dance performance accompanied by her sister Veni. Students of Anjali Center for Performing Arts also gave a stunning performance choreographed by its Director, Dr. Rathna Kumar. Earlier, National Anthems were rendered by Sanvitha Sridhar (American) and Lakshmi Peter (Indian) most sincerely.
Conceptualized by Saadia Ahmed, the Indo-Texas Fashion Show by Munaari Designs added vibrancy to the event. Guests feasted on the sumptuous dinner catered by Biryani Pot as they browsed through the Silent Auction in the hall. .
President Elect, Joseph Ellankil, proposed a Vote of Thanks recognizing the generous contributions of the sponsors and donors, the dedications of the director, support of the partnering organizations, enthusiasm of volunteers and service of the vendors.
Indo-American Charity Foundation was founded in 1988 by a group of Houstonians of Indian origin (Indo- American) compelled by an altruistic desire to give back to their local community. Their mission to help the underprivileged originated with the effort to fight hunger, and has now developed into a multi-faceted philanthropic endeavor to help those in need of health, education and human services in the Greater Houston Area.
To learn more visit http://iacfhouston.com/