May 18, 2015

2015 Houston Gala Breaks Fundraising Record


The fascinating 20-year history of Pratham unfolded on TV screens and banners as guests mingled in the Hilton Americas ballroom on April 25, 2015 at the Houston gala. The event raised a record-breaking $2.06 million for Pratham’s programs that enable India’s children and youth to break the shackles of illiteracy and poverty.

“Houston is Pratham’s heart and always feels like home,” said keynote speaker Dr. Rukmini Banerji, who will take over as Pratham’s new CEO once founder Dr. Madhav Chavan steps down this summer. Pratham Houston president Marie Goradia recognized Dr. Chavan’s visionary efforts and program success, reminding guests that they could educate one Indian child for an entire year for the price of just six Starbucks coffees!

Gala honoree and President and Chancellor of the University of Houston, Dr. Renu Khator, moved the audience with her story of the hard work and determination she put towards achieving her educational goals, despite arriving in the US with little knowledge of English.

Yet it was the youngest speakers who received the loudest applause. Richa Maheshwari, a post graduate student at Columbia who worked at Pratham for two years, discussed how the experience changed her outlook on life. And Sachin Chanchani, who together with Indrani Maitra raised $10,000 through the Readathon, drew laughter from the crowd when he equated the $25 cost of two pairs of Nike athletic gym socks to a year of education for a child in India.

The evening’s uplifting speeches and education success stories were punctuated by Naach Houston’s energetic dances, a fast-paced video of Pratham’s history set to the music of “Jai Ho,” and a live auction hosted by 2014 Miss America and gala emcee Nina Davuluri.

Thank you to everyone who made this 20th anniversary event magical: the gala co-chairs and committee, speakers, Pratham staff and Young Professionals volunteers. We appreciate our local supporters including: Hilton, Daawat, Décor One, Touch of Elegance, Fannin Flowers, Dr. Rahul Pandit, Aaron Hermes, Naach Houston, Theta Audio Visual, Unique Photo, Karat 22, Contour Interior Design, Bombay Brasserie, India’s Restaurant, Kiran’s and Songkran Thai Kitchen.

View event photos.