www.newsindiatimes.com – that’s all you need to know News India Times November 24, 2017 14 Community An Indian-American non-profit raises funds for underprivileged children at Tri-state gala By StaffWriter high-energy dance competition was the highlight of an Indian- American non-profit's gala held Nov. 11, to raise funds for devel- opment projects for underprivi- leged children in India. Vibha Vibe 2017, hosted by the organi- zation named Vibha (vibha.org ) raised $100,000 in its first gala in the Tri-state area, at the event held in Marigold ban- quet hall, Somerset, N.J. In the past, Vibha has organized several fundraising events such as the DreamMile and Vibha Cricket in other cities. Describing itself as a 'social venture catalyst' founded in 1991, Vibha says it has raised $15 million and supported more than 250 projects in India and 10 projects in the U.S. impacting the lives of more than 300,000 children in need, according to organizers. The hall was filled to capacity with more than 240 attendees, Keyur Shah, Vibha's main organizer of the event, told Desi Talk. The chief guest was actress and model Pooja Batra, who will appear in the second season of the TV series, Lethal Weapon. Several people were recognized for their contributions including Dr. Sudhir Parikh, publisher of Desi Talk and recipient of India's Padma Shri award, Rupal Patil, a partner at Ernst &Young, and Raj Rajpal, a well-known finance radio show host. Among those who spoke about Vibha at the event were Shah, who also conducted the pro- ceedings, Murtuza Attaar, an activist in the NY/NJ area, and Seem Chetal, member of Vibha's advisory board. Batra orchestrated the fundraising drive encouraging those present to give to the organi- zation 13 teams consisting of 16 partic- ipants and 13 choreographers par- ticipated in the Dance competition and also raised monies individual- ly. Trophies were awarded for Best in categories of performance, dancer, cho- reography, costume and top fundraiser. "Of note was the fact that some of these leaders had never danced before in their life, and their belief in the organiza- tion’s work propelled them to step up and take the stage," Shah noted. Vibe 2017 also provided networking opportunities with many prominent personalities in attendance such as Shama Hyder who won the Anokhi award in 2016, authored the bestseller, “The Zen of Social Media Marketing." "This NGO is doing great work," Dr. Parikh, told Desi Talk. "Most impressive was that most attendees were in their 40s and 50s. It's heartening to see this genera- tion of Indian-Americans opening their wallets for India and to help those in need in both countries," Parikh added. The silent auction was a great success thanks to the generous donations by Ashley homestore, fashion designer Anita Dongre and artist Medha Atre Kulkarni, Shah said. One of Vibha's first initiatives ten years ago was with Sikshana, funding 70 schools in Karnataka to improve the Government schools with motivational training. In February, this year, Vibha in partnership with Sikshana signed a 50/50 partnership valued at around $200,000 to cover 1,500 schools which educate around 116,000 children, with Government of Karnataka. On Sept. 13, this MOU was expanded to cover the whole state – 48,000 schools reaching 2 million children, Vibha said in a press release. 89.2% of the donations of this 100% volunteer driven organiza- tion go towards such child devel- opment programs. On its website, Vibha says it works to seed, grow and scale grass-roots ideas that can solve systemic problems related to the underprivileged child; it works as a platform that brings together corporates, grass-root entrepre- neurs, donors, volunteers, govt agencies and partner organiza- tions; it screens projects 'painstak- ingly' and helps successful scala- ble projects on a wider scale. A Photos:Vibha NexGen Philanthropy Dance competition at gala. Vibha, an Indian-American non-profit, held a fundraising gala in Somerset, N.J., Nov. 11, attended by some 240 guests. Seen in photo is the Vibha team from New York and New Jersey, with Chief Guest (actress and model) Pooja Batra, in purple dress at center. (From left) Vibha NY/NJ leader Murtuza Attaar, former Miss India, Pooja Batra - Super model and Philanthropist and Board of Directors Vibha, Keyur Shah. From left, Keyur Shah, main organizer of the Nov. 11 fundraising gala of the Indian-American non-profit Vibha (Vibha.org), with Dr. Sudha Parikh, Dr. Sudhir Parikh of Parikh Worldwide Media and recipient of India’s Padma Shri award, and Pooja Batra, actress and model, who was the chief guest and longtime Vibha supporter.