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Nimesh Kampani, Barbara Tober honored at the Giving Back Foundation gala in New York

Non-profit helps women, children in need.

By The American Bazaar Staff

NEW YORK: The inaugural Giving Back Foundation Gala was held at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan, during which tens of thousands of dollars were raised to help fund education programs for needy children around the world.

Ajit Hutheesing (left) accepts the Giving Back Award for Nimesh Kampani from emcee Phylicia Rashad
Ajit Hutheesing (right) accepts the Giving Back Award for Nimesh Kampani from emcee Phylicia Rashad

Founded by philanthropist Meera Gandhi in 2010, the Giving Back Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to help young women and children experiencing illness, poverty and suffering, and is based on the motto of its founder: “We are to the universe only as much as we give back to it.” It partners with other charity groups and beneficiaries around the world, in order to allocate resources and empower underprivileged people, and has several partners in India.

“[This] is the Oscar party for giving back,” Gandhi said at the event, which drew hundreds of people out for a night of food, fundraising, and fun.

At the gala, the organization honored Nimesh Kampani, chairman of the JM Financial Group, and Barbara Tober, Chairman Emerita and Chairman, Global Leadership Council at The Museum of Arts and Design. The organization also recognized Reverend Timothy Shaw of St. Michael’s School in New Delhi, and Ariake Dandawate of New Jersey, who won the Giving Back Girls’ Leadership Award for 2013.

From left to right: Phylicia Rashad, Barbara Tober and Meera Gandhi with the Giving Back Award
From left to right: Phylicia Rashad, Barbara Tober and Meera Gandhi with the Giving Back Award

“Tonight I am particularly pleased that Meera has decided to turn her full attention to the Museum of Arts and Design where she has been a member of the Museum’s Global Leadership Council for some years,” Tober said in her remarks. “Our world class programs in the field of arts education reach out to students and their teachers across all five boroughs of New York, [and] our inclusive targeted curriculum for some 7,500 children – from Kindergarten to 12th grade – has won awards for our understanding of the varied needs of these children who generally have no formal arts education in their public schools.”

There was also an auction of several glamorous items, all of which were generously donated to the Giving Back Foundation by its many beneficiaries. The items put up for bidding included: a couture outfit from Elizabeth Emanuel; luxurious vacations at the Taj Hotels and Palaces in India and at Elite Island Resorts in the Caribbean; art by artists such as Tarik Currimbhoy; a design consultation with interior designer Clodagh; an exclusive handbag from Samia Kamar of London; jewelry by Jyoti Singhvi and photographs by Anders Corr and Daniel Aubry.

Sufi Wines Founder Sam Bhatia (left) and Amrita Singh
Sufi Wines Founder Sam Bhatia (left), and Amrita Singh

The event also featured entertainment by some up-and-coming desi talent, such as DJ Logic, singer Lara Anderson, drummer Kiran Gandhi and Bina Menon’s dance troupe from the Kalashri School of Arts in New Jersey. The emcee for the evening was renowned actress Phylicia Rashad, an award-winning stage and screen actress who is perhaps best known for her role as the mother on the long-running sitcom “The Cosby Show.”

The exact amount raised at the event has not been disclosed, but Gandhi said that the second annual Giving Back Foundation Gala is already being planned for April 2015.

 

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