Akshaya Patra Chicago Team Raises $350,000
CHICAGO, IL— The Akshaya Patra Chicago Team held a fundraising Gala featuring a highly successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, Manu Shah, CEO of MS International Inc, as the Keynote Speaker. Six hundred people attended the Gala on Friday, September 21st at the Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. A sum of $350,000 was raised for disadvantaged children in India.
Other guests included the First Lady of the State of Illinois, Mrs. Diana Rauner and Mrs. Vandana Tilak, CEOof Akshaya Patra USA.
Lead organizers were Himanshu Patel, Saroj Patel, Dipak Kapadia, Pallavi Shah and Ila Vyas.
Chicago Chapter Chair Himanshu Patel made the opening remarks. Dipak Kapadia introduced
Manu Shah and his wife Rika Shah to deliver the Keynote speech. Manubhai used his own life
story to make the case that the ticket out of poverty for millions of children in India is education.
In his speech, he urged people to “think big and think bold.” He challenged the Indian community in Chicago, offering to add $250,000 if anyone donates $1 million to Akshaya Patra.
First Lady Mrs. Rauner talked about her focus on children’s development and complimented
Akshaya Patra on its mission, scale, and how well it executes.
Mrs. Vandana Tilak highlighted the impact of Akshaya Patra on the children’s lives, the scale and ingenuity of the massive kitchens, and the efficiency and reliability of operations.
The biggest donors for the evening were Dr. Chittaranjan and Bhavana Patel. Dr. Chittaranjan
Patel stated in his remarks, “ We’re blessed to live with an abundance of everything, with so much more than our needs when so many suffer. Doing our fair share to help them is the right thing to do.”
Organizers had gathered donations before the event. More than $300,000 was committed
before the event. Chapter Chair Himanshu Patel said, “We have many repeat donors and also
many new donors. Repeat donors are giving more. We have a growing and robust base of
supporters in chicago now.”
There was a pledge drive during the program and an additional $50,000 was raised. Dipak
Kapadia added, ” What is most satisfying is that so many people pledged additional support
during the drive.”
Akshaya Patra is world’s largest NGO providing midday meals to 1.7 million children, 232
days a year in government schools in India. In partnership with Central and State governments,
it provides freshly cooked, nutritious, hygienically sound meals to disadvantaged children. Many
of these children, otherwise, will go hungry, remain malnourished, and will become stunted with
their cognitive ability compromised. Many will drop out of school and engage in child labor just
to get enough to eat for them and their families.
Akshay Patra amplifies government contribution through private donations and uses the money
efficiently and honestly .
In 2016, it was presented the prestigious Kalam Innovation in Governance Award (KIUA 2016).