Share and Care Foundation held its 33rd Annual Gala on Sunday, October 4th at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ. The sold-out show packed 1,800 people into the theatre to help Share and Care cross $1,000,000 in donations in 2015 towards our Signature Programs in Education, Healthcare, and Women Empowerment.
Sukhwinder Singh and Kanika Kapoor, two of Bollywood’s top singers, entertained the excited crowd with hit song after hit song well into the night. Young, local talent was also featured, including talented dancers from Diwakar Performing Arts Group who pumped up the crowd, and singers Neel Nadkarni, Nida Hussain, Arpit Gandhi, and Darshana Menon, who provided back-up for Sukhwinder Singh.
We highlighted our Education programs in particular this year, with the theme “Bringing Education to India’s Forgotten Children.” The importance and benefits of investing in education were emphasized. Speakers raised awareness about the startlingly high school dropout rates in India, and spoke of SCF’s Signature Program, Educate to Success (E2S), which works to bring dropouts back to school and help them complete their high school education.
The audience was filled with many of SCF’s top donors; accomplished doctors, lawyers, and businesswomen. Arun Bhansali, Share and Care’s president, asked the audience to remember their own path to success, and all those who may have helped them along the way. “I urge you to consider how you may now provide a helping hand to those who need you,” he said. “In today’s rapidly changing philanthropic space, we invite you to use your time, talents, and resources to address society’s problems.”
Deven Parekh, an incredibly successful New York based investor and philanthropist, served as the evening’s keynote speaker. He motivated the audience to find ways to give back to their community at large in any capacity they can, and spoke on the long-term impacts of supporting education programs. “In terms of returns,” Deven said, “I can think of no better investment than education.”
SCF’s Education programs, Educate to Graduate (E2G) and Educate to Success (E2S) collectively support over 1,600 students over all ages. Both programs boast unique models, and empower marginalized student populations who are often looked over. E2S targets rural villages, where over 40% of students drop out before reaching eighth grade. E2G supports impoverished, yet brilliant students who cannot afford their college tuition to complete their degree and acquire a good job, effectively breaking out of the cycle of poverty in a single generation.
The funds the gala raised ensured that these programs, along with SCF’s other Signature Programs, can expand in the coming years. “This year, Share and Care passed an important milestone,” Dr. Shirish Patrwalla, the organization’s treasurer said, “2016 is going to a be a year of incredible impact.”
Photographs by Suvarn Studio - Urmil, Sonali, & Ujval Dalal.