NEW YORK – Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation (EVF) raised $2 million at a gala in New York, held at Cipriani Wall Street, on November 4.
The impeccably organized evening’s architect was Mohan Wanchoo, chairman and founder of EC Infosystems. He was supported by Chirag Patel, co-CEO and chairman of Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Soner Kanlier, CEO, Jasmine Universe, and Rajesh Gooty, founder and CEO of M Corp.
EVF had been raising funds over the years in the US through series of concerts at grass-root level, until now. The gala was an effort to reach out to the corporate world, high net-worth individuals and bring mainstream America into its fold.
Since its inception 29 years ago, EVF had been setting new records in fund-raising. Last year, the NGO with chapters in 10 countries raised $7.2 million in the US.
At the gala, Wanchoo briefed the gathering about EVF’s multi-dimensional approach to uplift rural and tribal areas of India through emphasis on literacy, healthcare, integrated village development and empowerment of people in villages.
Ekal currently has 58,000 schools spread all over India supporting 1.56 million children – more than half of which were girls. Wanchoo informed that the project cost, including administration and monitoring, was only $1-a-day or $365 per year, per school.
Patel thanked all the teachers working at grass-root level in India and imparting life-sustaining education to the children facing various hurdles.
Ranjani Saigal, the Executive Director of EVF, touched on the whole range of Ekal mission in remote areas of India through couple of brief videos that also depicted use of digital technology, organic farming, and skill-training centers which are empowering rural life.
Vinod Jhunjhunwala, the President of EVF-USA, paid tribute to Ekal leadership in the US as well Ekal-India team, which had flown in for the occasion.
Under Ekal-USA leadership, Ashok Danda, Subhash Gupta, Ranjani Saigal and Ramesh Shah were acknowledged for their service, while for Ekal-India, Subhash Chandra, Bajrang Bagra, Laxmi Goel, and Naresh Jain were recognized.
Mitzi Perdue, the heiress to Sheraton Hotel chain and Perdue Poultry Farms, was one of the keynote speakers of the evening, along with Subhash Chandra, Chairman of ZEE TV and Chairman of EVF-Global.
At an auction conducted at the gala, three generous donors – Chirag Patel, Ajay and Ranjini Poddar and Sant Singh Chatwal each donated $250,000 each.
Chandra praised Wanchoo and Patel for holding the gala and challenged economically-blessed group of people to shoulder responsibility of those in need. Lauding the generosity of big donors, he elaborated that numerous small donors were equally important as they had larger stake in nation-building with their sheer number.
EVF plans to host similar galas in other cities in the US, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.