NEW YORK – More than 600 business and community leaders gathered for Pratham’s annual gala dedicated to improving the quality of education for underprivileged children in India, at Cipriani Wall Street, on September 28, in New York. A whopping $3.6 million was raised for the organization’s transformative education programs.
Democrat Senator Kamala Harris, from California, who gave the night’s keynote address, connected with the audience through a deeply personal speech that reflected on her upbringing both in the US and in India.
Harris spoke about her family’s lineage as well as their commitment to “standing up for what’s right” and urged those in attendance to join the “collective fight” against hate and division, declaring, “The vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us.”
Pratham CEO Dr. Rukmini Banerji touched on similar themes as she described Pratham’s plans to bring communities across India together through its ‘Hamara Gaon’ (our village) initiative.
“From California to the beaches in Chennai…to the hospital in Chandigarh…to the work we do…we truly are connected,” she explained. “If you don’t have a community which is strong, it will be very difficult to build long-term foundations of both productivity and equity.”
Mentalist and motivational speaker Oz Pearlman delighted the crowd with a unique mind-reading performance, which blended magic and humor. The night also featured very successful live and silent auctions.
“We are absolutely overwhelmed by the support we received, and the money raised through this event will have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of millions of children,” said Pratham New York Tri-State chapter president Gagan Singh.
The gala had many corporate sponsors, including, Dome Equities, Kirkland Ellis LLP, Synechron, Blackrock and EY.
Established in the slums of Mumbai in 1995, Pratham is now one of India’s largest non-governmental education organizations, having affected the lives of more than 58 million underprivileged children in the past two decades.