The Desai Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to improving lives in India and promoting Indian culture in the United States, hosted its inaugural gala April 9, in New York City. The event was held at the Capitale in downtown Manhattan and raised $225,000, a release from the organization said.
Founder and CEO of Desai Foundation, Sam Desai, who said he was brought up in a village with no electricity or running water, urged those present to join in the work of the organization. The Foundation also honored Chintu Patel, CEO of Amneal Pharmeceuticals, LLC, and recipient of the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year for Pharmaceutical and Medical Technology.”
The Desai family will add more donations to the $225,000 to increase the amount raised to some $400,000 so that 10 more community centers can be built in India, the release said. The three community centers which currently operate in rural Gujarat provide health services, hygiene education, vocational training, and computer classes to the surrounding areas.
“We are incredibly honored by the outpouring of support we have received from our local community,” said Megha Desai, director of The Desai Foundation.
“Our greatest goal is to inspire others to participate and understand how they can make a difference in the lives of many by lending their time and interest to those who need our help,” Megha Desai is quoted saying in the press release.
In addition to dinner and dancing, the evening featured a musical collaboration between classical Indian singer Falu and the award-winning jazz ensemble Stay Human, led by Jon Batiste. DJ Kunal Merchant also led the dance floor with Indian-western fusion beats.
Among the high-profile attendees at the gala were MCs Seth Herzog, comedian on Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon; “Captain” Kirk Douglas, guitarist of The Roots which plays on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon; actress and model Melanie Kannokada; Janina Gavankar, Actress in True Blood and Vampire Diaries; Justin Wilkes, president of Radical Media; Payal Kadakia, founder of ClassPass; Hitha Prahbaker, ABC’s red carpet correspondent; Nihal Mehta, founder of LocalResponse and ENIAC; Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code; former Kansas State Rep. Raj Goyle; Santhana Krishnan and Yash Shah, founder of InteQ Corporation; Ian Gerard, founder of GENART; Baratunde Thurston, comedian and author of The New York Times Best-Seller How To Be Black; Troy Carter, founder of ATOM Factory; and Anjali Kumar, general counsel at Warby Parker among others.