For the past 25 years CHI has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through its annual fundraising gala. This is the big event of the fall social season and attracts the movers and shakers of New York society. In this one evening CHI manages to raise 90 percent of the funds for its medical and education projects in India and the United States.
About the Gala
The much anticipated galas are themed so that each year it’s something new and unexpected—an “Evening in Rajasthan,” “Black and White Ball,” or “Viva Calcutta”—creating opulent ambiance for the guests with decor, dance, music and food. Many of these services are donated to CHI and others are underwritten by sponsors so as to ensure that close to 100 percent of the amount raised goes to CHI’s projects.
The gala attracts 500-700 people and has been held at upscale locations including Tavern on the Green, Pierre, Capitale, Cipriani and Pier Sixty. The funds are raised through sponsorships, tickets, and live and silent auctions. Our sponsors have included United Retail Group, Telebrands, Air India, HSBC, PepsiCo, Citibank, Johnnie Walker Black Label, Prudential, MasterCard, Jet Airways and Western Union, among others. The sponsors are acknowledged at the event, in the souvenir journal and in the media.
The Support of Celebrities
Many noted designers like Suneet Varma, Rohit Bal, Ritu Kumar, and JJ Vallaya, and Manish Arora have brought in their collections, along with major fashion models including Bipasha Basu. Famous figures from the arts and entertainment world such as: Mira Nair, Karan Johar, Jhumpa Lahiri, Suketu Mehta, Shashi Tharoor, Phylicia Rashad, Nandita Das, Sarita Chaudhury, Aasif Mandvi, Rajkumari Padmaja of Mewar, Padma Lakshmi, Rachel Roy, Damon Dash and Ali Velshi have all supported CHI by participating in past galas. The noted media personality Tinku Jain is the emcee of the evening and also serves on the CHI Advisory Board, along with the distinguished actress and culinary expert Madhur Jaffrey.
The Japanese jewelry designer Kazuo Ogawa brought in a Broadway style show from Tokyo at one gala, and at another the producers of the Broadway show ‘Bombay Dreams’ had performers Manu Narayan and Anisha Nagarajan sing live for the guests.
The Gala Honorees
A highlight of the evening is the Lotus Award given to distinguished corporate heads for their excellence in the business world as well as social philanthropy. Past honorees have included Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, Dr. Swati Piramal, Ravi Akhoury, Madhu Vuppuluri (CEO of Essar), Dr. Samin Sharma, Dr. Chitranjan Ranawat, Dr. V. Subramaniam, Dr. Mel and Daryl Rand, Raphael and Linda Benaroya, and Poonam and AJ Khubani.
The Making a Difference Award is given to an individual who has made a hands-on difference in people’s lives and past honorees have included Urmi Basu, founder of New Light Center, Tania Spilchen of One International, Mallika Dutt of Breakthrough, and Mark Templer of Hope Worldwide.
The Silent Auction and Live Auction
The silent auction is a key component of the fundraising, using donated air tickets, hotel stays, jewelry and other luxury goods. A new feature is a live auction of CHI projects where guests can bid—not on luxury goods—but on scholarships and medical interventions for the children in our projects in India, using the volunteer services of a seasoned Christies’ auctioneer.