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HC4A Gala Austin 2019 Raised Over $110k In Scholarships For Austin Students

By Aashi Morales

Hundreds turned out for Hindu Charities for America’s 5th Annual Gala at the Crown Plaza in Austin on October 12, 2019.

HC4A’s Gala brought laughter, applause, and excitement as attendees helped a good cause while enjoying an evening of both poignancy and fun.

As a result, over 110 economically disadvantaged students in Central Texas will be provided with vocational scholarships this year.

Ably emceed by CBS Austin news anchor and Emmy award-winning reporter, Hema Mullur, attendees heard about the great need and the difference that scholarships make in students’ lives from students themselves and in a compelling presentation from HC4A supporter Jayshree Vakil.

Keynote speaker Texas State Representative Gina Hinojosa also lauded HC4A for its work, noting that “Texas is third in the country for having the highest number of school kids who are homeless.”

Attendees gave generously, charmed by the genial host of fundraising, Tejas Vakil, who often made the crowd laugh. Special excitement came from the surprise contribution of a live auction item—a stay at a villa in the Tulum area of Mexico—resulting a lively round of live bidding.

Excitement also rose with an exclusive set of silent auction items, featuring unique contributions such as items belonging to and signed by music, movie, and sports celebrities.

Attendees were treated to bountiful appetizers and a full Indian meal while enjoying the dancing of the gala’s “stars”—Alicia Dean, Sharmila Mehta, Jaya Thakkar, Jyoti Mistry, Dr. Sripriya Santhanam, Dr. Anuja Khunti and Raj Klair, Sonali Amodwala and daughter Juhi, and Tanisha Kundu.

Jaya Thakkar delighted the crowd when her three grandchildren joined her, and Tanisha Kundu was applauded both for her tremendous talent and her taking the stage unexpectedly as a solo act.

Instructors from Monsoon Dance, Agni Dance, Sargam Dance School, and Natyalaya Dance Academy, who provided the training, were also recognized.

Dancing star, Sonali Amodwala, local financial services professional with New York Life, explained that she believes that “education is the best gift we can give to someone” and was delighted that “she could help those who don’t have resources to pay for their education.” She remarked that she had such fun participating with her daughter and it was a “dream come true for me!

Thank you, HC4A, for giving me this opportunity to be a part of this noble cause!” Attendee Pooja Sethi, a local activist and immigration attorney, commented that “giving back to the children in our community is key. We all have to step up and do our part, and HC4A does a great job in pulling the community together in charity….Not every student in our Central Texas school has the same opportunities and I love how hard HC4A works to try to ease the inequality. It is important work that we all need to keep supporting.”

If you would like to support HC4A or get involved, visit them at or on Facebook at

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