The Akshaya Patra Foundation held its sixth annual gala, virtually this year because of the pandemic. The theme of the gala was ‘Leadership for Change’. The virtual event held Oct. 11, 2020, was organized by the Chicago, Atlanta and Springfield chapters of the non-profit.
According to organizers, the total funds raised of $375,000 at the event will provide COVID relief to migrant workers, including cooked meals, ration boxes for families, and Happiness Kits containing 30 days’ worth of food, hygiene products, and educational supplies to mid-day meal beneficiaries as well as support mid-day meals for schoolchildren when schools reopen for the 2020-2021 school year.
“I am truly grateful for the massive efforts and support from our fundraisers, volunteers, chapters, and donors, who have contributed to our overall success in 2020,” Vandana Tilak, CEO of Akshaya Patra Foundation, is quoted saying at the event. “Our Leadership for Change was a fantastic event, and I am thankful to our speakers for sharing their insights on how being a leader for change produces big results.”
The virtual fundraiser saw more than 400 attendees from technology and IT professions, businesses, nonprofit and philanthropic leaders worldwide, according to the press release.
Siva Sivaram, president of Western Digital, hosted the evening where speakers included, John Chambers, founder of JC2 Venture and former executive chairman & CEO of Cisco Systems, Nikesh Arora, chairman & CEO of the Palo Alto Networks, as well as Saket Modi, co-founder & CEO of Lucideus.
Chambers shared his views on how leaders can turn a good company into a great company by implementing good communication skills and not underestimating company culture. He provided insight into how a company learns more from its challenges and setbacks than its successes, the press release said.
Arora noted COVID-19 had shown how resilient humanity can be and how technology will continue to advance and allow businesses to become more resourceful and connected.
Modi shared his thoughts on how Akshaya Patra is not only feeding children but also fueling their hunger for knowledge through education and establishing the foundation for a better world.
The evening ended with performances by musicians Roopkumar Rathod and Sunali Rathod, and artist Reewa Rathod.
Established in 2000, Akshaya Patra describes itself as the world’s largest NGO school meal program, providing hot, nutritious school lunches to more than 1.8 million children in over 19,257 schools through 55 kitchens in 12 states and 2 Union Territories in India. It costs only $20 to feed a child for an entire school year, the organization estimates.