Annual Bay Area gala raises funds for girlsâ€™ STEM education and womenâ€™s economic empowerment
The American India Foundation (AIF) Bay Area Chapter raised a record-breaking $2.2 million, the highest amount raised in the history of AIFâ€™s Bay Area galas, at its annual gala at the iconic San Francisco City Hall.
The April 1 event themed â€œDesigning Bold Futures,â€ before a sold-out crowd of over 320 guests celebrated the organizationâ€™s achievements over the last 22 years, according to a media release.
The evening highlighted AIFâ€™s success in providing digital pedagogy in STEM education for millions of students in thousands of government schools across India.
It also highlighted AIFâ€™s groundbreaking initiative to create green jobs for women by leveraging technology skills training not only to address climate change, but to create new livelihood opportunities at scale over the coming years.
AIF, according to the release is focused on a multipronged approach to alleviate poverty in India, while strengthening the bridge between the civil societies of the worldâ€™s two largest and most powerful democracies
The event also honored the professional accomplishments and civic contributions of Raj Mathai, NBC Bay Area news anchor.
Vivek RanadivÃ©, Owner and Chairman of the Sacramento Kings chaired the gala with AIFâ€™s California Board co chaired by Riaz Taplin and Sumir Chadha.
In keeping with the Bay Areaâ€™s culture of innovation and bold thinking around leveraging technology to create positive outcomes, the evening spotlighted the success and impact of AIFâ€™s Digital Equalizer (DE) program across Indiaâ€”especially with girlsâ€”in government-run middle and high schools, transforming studentsâ€™ STEM skills, confidence, and determination to master technology and stay in school, the release said.
In addition, the evening showcased AIFâ€™s cutting-edge green jobs initiative, aimed at creating a multitude of jobs that reskill and upskill womenâ€”and foster entrepreneurshipâ€”in climate sensitive and renewable energy sectors to embrace new opportunities for employment and empowerment.
â€œAIFâ€™s robust operational model, the consistent generosity of our donors, the engagement of stakeholders, the vision of our leadership, and, above all, the dedication of our 1,800-strong staff on the ground in India allow us to execute our programs across 36 states and union territories, positively impacting 16 million people to date,â€ said Nishant Pandey, CEO of AIF.
â€œThis is how we see it: 16 million servedâ€¦60 million to go. We think big at AIF about impact. Because poverty wonâ€™t alleviate itself,â€ added Lata Krishnan, co-chair of the AIF Global Board and one of the founding members of AIF.
The event highlighted two inspiring women-centered storiesâ€”Archana Nishad, a 10th grade student from Uttarakhand who lost her father and struggled to study while feeling pressure to drop out of school to help her family.
Read: WestBridge Capital gives $1 million grant to AIFÂ (July 29, 2019)
However, the staunch support of the schoolâ€™s AIF DE facilitator and teachers deepened her interest in science, turning her into a finalist at a National Drone and Satellite event.
The other was of Sonia Kumari a young woman from Rewari, Haryana, who couldnâ€™t find a job until she underwent AIFâ€™s green jobs training to become a mechanic for Hero Electric Vehicles, landing her a career opportunity that transformed her self-confidence, ambition, earning potential, and, by extension, the fortune of her family.
Read: AIF raises record US$2.2 million for India (April 5, 2023)
As the first girl in her village not only to be educated but to have a financially secure and fulfilling career, Sonia became an exemplar of boldness and achievement. Both the young women are thriving in school and at work and are determined to stay that way.