Hundreds attend Desai Foundation’s Diwali charity event to raise funds for projects in India

Megha Desai, president of the Desai Foundation, speaking to the hundreds of guests at the Diwali charity event held Nov. 6, 2023, in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. PHOTO: Desai Foundation

The 10th annual ‘Diwali on the Hudson,’ one of the premier events in New York City, was held Nov. 6, 2023, putting the   spotlight on the health and livelihood of more than 7 million women and children in India.

The event, which supports The Desai Foundation’s programs, was held in Hell’s Kitchen where high-profile guests spent the evening reveling in the triumph of good over evil in its annual festival, colorful, and joyful celebration, a press release from the organization said.

About 400 high profile guests attended the Desai Foundation’s 10th Diwali On The Hudson event in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC. PHOTO: Desai Foundation

More than 400 New York celebrities, influencers, and business moguls celebrated the occasion in elaborate East-West fusion style, organizers said. It also featured the organization’s executive director and head of advancement programs who lead the team in India and who shared stories from the field about the women the Foundation serves.

Some guests who addressed the audience at the 10th Diwali On The Hudson hosted by the Desai Foundation. PHOTO: Desai Foundation

The sold-out event featured a performance by Arianna Asfar, and was attended by celebrity chef Palak Patel, TV star Aparna Shewakramani, actress Ami Sheth, Miss America Nina Davuluri, singer Falu Shah, filmmaker Shruti Ganguly, Nikhil Saboo, actress Sway Bhatia, among many other influential people.

As in previous years, every dollar raised this year will go directly to Desai Foundation’s programs, which range from women’s vocational training and computer literacy programs to “Heroes for Humanity,” a transformative COVID relief and recovery initiative that garnered international accolades from former Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton, the press release said.

The event always features up and coming talent, great food and drink, and music that has attendees dancing all night. All proceeds from this event will go to the women and girls served by the Desai Foundation, organizers said.

“We’re thrilled that our 10th annual festival of lights benefit raised awareness and support for The Desai Foundation’s programs,” Megha Desai, president of the Desai Foundation, is quoted saying in the press release. “Diwali is typically celebrated more privately, but we wanted to connect second- and third-generation South Asians of all backgrounds and educate New Yorkers about Diwali. This has become inclusive tradition for not only generations of Hindu New Yorkers but also a growing number of non-Hindus, who return each year for

an unforgettable night of music, food, mithai, fashion, and of course, dancing,” she added.

This year’s event took on special significance as Diwali is now officially a New York City public school holiday. U.S. lawmakers have also introduced a bill that, if passed, will mandate federal recognition of the Hindu “Festival of Lights” the press release said.

Longstanding sponsors of the event include Morgan Stanley, Desi Galli, Nandansons, Ranavat, Kendra Scott, Element Truffles, Rampur Whiskey, 1947 Premium Lager, Malai, and Muria Foods.




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