Preparing for the festive season is finally bringing some cheer to counterbalance our mostly virtual lives. Hindu Charities for America (HC4A) hosted a Virtual Gala to capture this cheer and turn it into a meaningful evening.
The gala was organized to raise funds for vocational scholarships for low-income young adults.
The Gala was simulcasted nationally on TV Asia and HC4A’s online platforms on Sunday, November 22.
International Actor, Anupam Kher, who spoke at the event said, “What is most admirable is your inclusive approach – you are offering your services to people from all communities and social backgrounds. In my opinion, that’s the true Hindu way of life.”
Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett said, “These HC4A contributions not only provided immediate help for the fortunate beneficiaries but they represented a powerful statement about the commitment of this Hindu community to opportunities of advancement of anyone who may need them… Social distancing does not mean that we have to abandon social engagement or social justice.”
Austin mayor Steve Adler, who has been associated with the organization since 2014, said, “I look to Hindu Charities as an example of great volunteerism in our city, the absolute dedication to the community it serves, the transparency to supporters, and their ability to find really effective and really meaningful ways to serve.”
The Gala features a star-studded cast of international and local dignitaries, including the following:
• Anupam Kher, renowned, award-winning actor currently starring in the NBC series “New Amsterdam”
• Savan Kotecha, songwriter, nominated for Golden Globe and Grammy Awards; artists include Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Usher, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato
• Lloyd Doggett, Congressman representing Texas District #35
• Dr. V. Kasturi (Kash) Rangan, Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing, Harvard Business School
• Gururaj (Desh) Deshpande, venture capitalist, entrepreneur, and co-founder of internet equipment manufacturer Sycamore Networks
• Diane Nilan, founder of HEAR US; author; award-winning filmmaker and social justice activist for children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness
• Steve Jackobs, Executive Director of Capital IDEA, Austin
• Dr. Richard Rhodes, Chancellor, Austin Community College
• Anuradha Naimpalli, internationally recognized Bharatnatyam danseuse and inductee to Austin Arts Hall of Fame.
Austin Community College and Capital Idea are two major partners of HC4A in their work. The Chancellor of Austin Community College, Dr. Richard Rhodes, said, “Not only does the scholarship provide financial support, but it also shows a student that someone believes in them.
That is a powerful feeling. You have given them confidence to move forward.”
Steven Jackobs, the executive director of Capital Idea said, “For ten years I have watched Harish and Dinesh and all of you grow HC4A to become the mature and ambitious organization it is today… It takes persistence and commitment to build something like HC4A, and you have done it.”
Dr. Gitanjali Swamy who was recently named among the top most influential women in technology also praised the HC4A for its inclusive approach and partnership with other communities like the Jewish community in Austin to serve others.
Housing and food are a struggle for low-income families this year. Job and other personal losses due to the pandemic are shattering the morale of young adults who want to learn a vocational skill. With ‘Education for Self-Reliance’ as the theme for the Gala, HC4A motivated it’s audience to give the gift of scholarships and help families tide through economic hardships.
HC4A is an all-volunteer organization that raises funds to help children and youth experiencing homelessness or in high-poverty situations in Austin, Houston, Dallas, and Los Angeles. All funds raised via the Gala will provide scholarships for students in those communities—donors designate where their dollars will go. HC4A’s scholarships support students in vocational programs that pay at least $40K upon graduation and have high placement rates. The organization’s goal is to help students begin a career that lifts them out of poverty and doesn’t leave them thousands of dollars in debt.
The Virtual Gala is now available to watch on HC4A’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.