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IACF’s Sold Out Harvey Relief Fundraiser

From Left to Right: IACF President Dr. Vanitha Pothuri, Mrs. Bimla and Chef Guest Swatantra Jain seen presenting the check to Houston’s Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Jerry Davis on Saturday Oct. 7, 2017. Photo credit Roy Photography.

From Left to Right: IACF President Dr. Vanitha Pothuri, Mrs. Bimla and Chef Guest Swatantra Jain seen presenting the check to Houston’s Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Jerry Davis on Saturday Oct. 7, 2017. Photo credit Roy Photography.

Donates $251,000 to Mayor Turner’s Fund for Harvey Relief

by Shobana Muratee
HOUSTON – A sold out fundraiser was held by Indo-American Charity Foundation (IACF) on Saturday, October 7, at the Stafford Civic Center, only this time it was for a humanitarian cause that affected thousands of Houstonians who were hit by hurricane Harvey recently. On the gala night IACF presented a check Marching Toward $251,000 to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
The program began with the ceremonial lamp lighting by Bimla Jain and Deepika Agrawal and National Anthems USA and India by Chloe Choudhury and Srisanvitha Sridhar respectively. Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Jerry Davis received the check from Chef Guest Swatantra Jain, whose single contributions of $50,000 along with IACF President Dr. Vanitha Pothuri’s $25,000 boosted the IACF’s fundraising efforts in the shortest amount of time. Mr. Davis also received the “Humanitarian Award” on behalf of Mayor Turner.
The event was tentatively on hold in lieu of a post- Harvey situation that practically crippled the city. IACF members, including doctors, were actively involved in various relief and rebuilding programs around Houston.
Dr. Pothuri welcomed the gathering of 600 guests and spoke about the four pillars of giving towards better health, education, family needs, and general welfare that IACF is built on and fostered by its leadership. Dr. Pothuri thanked Swatantra Jain for his generous and timely support to IACF and in turn, Harvey Relief. She also acknowledged all those who had been instrumental in her journey with IACF and the community thus far.


Dance performance by students of Anjali School of Performing Arts.

Jain congratulated Dr. Pothuri for a sellout event in such a short span of time. “We are here to celebrate our love for the city with support to rebuild it. Harvey may have battered Houston but most certainly has not fractured our spirit of giving,” he said and urged all to support the rebuilding process. He also mentioned several other Indo-American organizations that were involved in raising funds that has crossed a million dollar mark already.
Gala Chair Swapnil Agarwal lauded the efforts of IACF and recognized Houston Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Jerry Davis (Dist. B) and Surendra Adhana, Deputy Consul General of India, Houston, along with some of the community leaders. Other elected officials and dignitaries present were Sam Merchant representing Congressman Al Green, Houston City Councilman Dr. Steve Le, District F, Councilman Himesh Gandhi, City of Sugar Land, Councilman Ken Mathew, City of Stafford.

The IACF that was founded in 1988 with a mission to help the underprivileged originated with the effort to fight hunger, and has now developed into a multi-faceted philanthropic endeavor to help those in need of health, education and human services in the Greater Houston Area. With its motto “We Live Here, We Give Here,” IACF recognizes all those believe in this philosophy as Friends of Charity. This year fifteen exceptional individuals were honored in this category: Aleen Arabit, CEO of Kindred Hospital Houston Northwest, Ravi Arora, PE, community leader, Aparna Asthana, child advocate, Nirupama (Roopa) Balakrishnan, IT Specialist, Manisha Gandhi, serves on board several non-profit of Houston, Ashok Garg, engineer and owner of Allied Exports Inc., Lutfi Hassan, founder of Apex Group of Companies, Rajiv Gadgil and Sheshadri Kumar, publishers of India Herald, Jugal Malani, Chairman of Unique Group of Companies, Jawahar Malhotra, publisher, Indo-American News, Hasu Patel leading hotelier and businessman, Viji Raman past IACF board member is involved in various organizations in Houston, Bashist Sharma, founder of Sharma & Associates, PC, Connie Kwon-Wong, founder of Connie Kwon-Wong Foundation that helps abused children, and Asheet Yagnik, Sr. VP at Merrill Lynch.

IACF’s ‘Friends of Charity’ honorees

IACF’s ‘Friends of Charity’ honorees

IACF also honored “Angels of Charity”, couples active with various philanthropic organizations. Fifteen couple took center stage as they were being honored: Bela and Rajiv, Devina and Dilip Bhojwani, Dr. Ashima and Anand Chauhan, Rose Chen and David Webster, Pallavi and Swapan Dhairyawan, Rajee and Krishna Hari, Tracy and Harry Faulkner, Shyda and Sajid Khan, Dr. Kokila and Prakash Parikh, Dr. Disha and sanjau=y Poonia, Dr. Supriya and Prem Ramanathan, Teresa and Dr. William Reading, Joya and Vikas Shukla, Kalpana and Arun Singh, Dr. Mythili and Upen Varnasi.



Angels of Charity Honorees

Event Chair and IACF President-Elect Mahesh Wadhwa proposed a vote of thanks and recognized the support os sponsors, donors, vendors and the IACF Board members that include: Immediate Past President Nanda Vura, Treasurer, Sreeni Nakirekanti, Joint Treasurer Venkat Iyer, and Secretary, Shobana Muratee, Directors: Alpa Shah, Shweta Arora, Dr. Ramesh Cherivirala, Joseph Ellankil, Dr. Gopala Kovvali, Dr. Purvi Parikh, Dr. Ratna Kumar, Dr. Ajay Jain, Dr. Sushovan Guha, Dr. Bela Thakar, and Prem Cholia. Special thanks to event planner Judy Black, Emcees: Amber Elliott and Chau Nguyen and the young volunteers.

IACF Board of Directors

IACF Board of Directors

The entrainment heightened the mode with the song ‘Hero’ by Chloe Choudhury and rendering of award winning author Chitra Divakaruni’s poem with classical dance interpretation by Dr. Ratna Kumar, Director, Anjali School of Performing Arts. Dr. Ratna’s students also presented a dance item on the occasion. The highlight of the event was the Teddy Pledge Drive conducted by the lively Dr. Subodh Bhuchar. The event concluded with a hearty dinner by Daawat.

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