Dec 04, 2015

2015 Austin Gala Honors Locals and Raises Funds for India


Thanks to the support of the local community, the Pratham Austin Gala attracted more than 400 people and raised over $160,000 for our work with India’s underserved children.

Held on September 18 at the downtown Sheraton, the evening began with a screening of a short film celebrating 20 years of Pratham’s history. Austin Chapter President Vandana Kumar spoke about how our low-cost educational programs address the vicious cycle of illiteracy and poverty by providing effective and scalable solutions that improve children’s reading and math skills. In his keynote address, Wall Street Journal columnist Sadanand Dhume highlighted the current economic success of Indians in the US and their power to change Indian society.

Chapter co-founder Ashish Gupta led a pledge drive that guests responded to with over $70,000 in contributions. In the 2015-16 academic year, those funds will support Pratham’s rural learning camps, urban learning centers and program for girls and women.

A Local Effort

Local honorees included ultra-marathon runner Dr. Sandeep Shah and nine-year-old Krish Nasta who read books to raise funds for Pratham.

Austin’s creative vibe was evident in a specially commissioned painting by local artist Suman Sharma and the evening’s musical entertainment from Hum A Capella, Dirty South Dandiya and DJ Nish.

The event’s success would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the gala committee, chaired by Ishita Paul; the Pratham Austin Board; Pratham UT student volunteers; live auction emcees Hema Mullur and Deep Nasta plus donations from area businesses and individuals; and the generosity of event sponsors who collectively contributed over $90,000.

View photos from the evening, read gala coverage in the Austin South Asian or find out how you can get involved with Pratham.