Fareed Zakaria delivered keynote address.
By The American Bazaar Staff
NEW YORK: The New York Chapter of Pratham USA raised over $2 million at their annual gala, held at the Museum of Modern Art, in Manhattan. The funds will go to educate underprivileged children and youth in India.
More than 600 guests congregated at the gala on September 18th, to make it one of the largest fundraisers ever for any Indian American non-profit philanthropic organization in a single day.
The Washington Post columnist, CNN host and The New York Times best-selling author Fareed Zakaria delivered the night’s keynote address and spoke on India’s recent election and his hope for India’s ability to instigate change.
“The most heartening part of this last election is that for the first time in many, many years, an election was held on issues, on substance, on policy,” said Zakaria. “This election was about the idea of development. It provides a framework that India has not had in a generation.”
He added: “There’s never been a better opportunity for India to take advantage of current momentum,” closing out the speech with a call to support Pratham. “The Ministry of Education is not going to solve India’s education problem. Pratham is.”
Asia Society President and CEO Josette Sheeran also gave remarks, congratulating Pratham CEO and Co-Founder Dr. Madhav Chavan on his recent Asia Game Changer Award for “bringing the gift of literacy to millions of Indians.”
Gala guests, including Manish Dayal from the celebrated film “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” and Ali Velshi, host of “Real Money with Ali Velshi,” who served as the night’s emcee, enjoyed cocktails in the Sculpture Garden under a beautiful September night sky, followed by a sumptuous dinner in the main hall and dancing to Indian Bhangra music. Attendees were also treated to private gallery tours of The Museum of Modern Art’s exquisite collection.
“This was one of my most anticipated events of the year, not only because of the beautiful venue, but more importantly, because of the good work Pratham does,” said longtime supporter Rekha Kumar. “I’m particularly impressed by Pratham’s record of leveraging its resources in an efficient manner to provide education in the far reaches of India.”
To raise awareness outside the event, this year’s gala also highlighted #WHYPRATHAM, a social media campaign encouraging attendees to share messages about their personal connection to the organization.
“We are immensely grateful to our sponsors, supporters and volunteers for the tremendous success of this year’s gala,” said Deepak Raj, President of the New York Tri-State Chapter. “The funds we raised reflect our community’s commitment to widening access to education in India and our belief in Pratham’s unique vision and ability to enact change. We hope we can raise even more next year.”
Founded in 1995 to ensure that every child is in school and learning well, Pratham is now one of the largest non-governmental organizations in India’s education sector. In 2013-14, Pratham reached nearly five million children, adolescents and young adults through a range of programs in 20 of the 29 Indian states.