Oct 10, 2019

Seattle Gala Celebrates Pratham's Achievements


On September 7, 2019, Pratham Seattle hosted its annual gala at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue. More than 300 guests attended the event to celebrate and support Pratham’s mission, raising over $700,000.

Following cocktails, guests gathered in the ballroom to learn more about the educational gains their financial support furthers through Pratham’s work.

“If you can teach someone how to read, they can educate themselves. You unleash the talent that exists,” explained Seattle Chairman Pradeep Singh. “It is our responsibility to create a platform which enables opportunity not just for those that are closest to us, my children, but creates that opportunity for tens of millions of children.”

Keynote speaker Nandita Bakhshi, president and CEO of Bank of the West, further extolled the benefits of the literacy and educational opportunities Pratham provides. An inspiring leader and one of the 2% of women CEOs in banking worldwide, she has achieved great success from her hard work and dedication, but she credited learning to read at a young age as the most important break in her life: “With the ability to read, you are suddenly liberated from the incarceration of time and space. You can now converse with the best minds in the world both past and present. You can now get ready to get an education.”

Pratham USA Executive Director Bala Venkatachalam gave an update on the expanding reach of Pratham in 2018 and explained the increasing role of technology in Pratham’s work to make programs even more cost-effective and scalable going forward. He then led a live feed with Pratham CEO Dr. Rukmini Banerji in New Dehli and a group of children in rural India who benefit from Pratham learning interventions.

The children delighted in sharing their recent classroom lessons with our guests, demonstrating how a rocket travels into space based on the principles of Newton’s third law and using solar system models to understand why it was morning in their village but evening for gala attendees.

After dinner, guests were treated to a performance by comedian and star of the Netflix special “Warn Your Relatives” Hari Kondabolu before hitting the dance floor.

Thanks to Gala Co-Chairs Darshana Shanbhag and Rupal Mehta, our hardworking volunteers and our generous sponsors, the evening was an enormous success.  View more photos from the gala here.