Club 24 Plus: Cool Waterfront Party, Cooler Philanthropy

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Dr. Kuldip Kaul (left), Alpa Shah (Event Chair), Manisha Gandhi (President), Veena Kaul and Ashok Garg (Founder) on Saturday, April 14 at the annual philanthropy event by Club 24 Plus. Photos: Bijay Dixit

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By Pramod Kulkarni

HOUSTON: Saturday, April 14 was the date for Club 24 Plus annual Evening of Philanthropy. In the morning, the sky was alive with thunderstorms, lightning, and even hailstorms in some areas. Hosts Dr. Kuldip and Veena Kaul were not certain whether to hold the party inside or out on the front of their palatial home in Webster. By the afternoon, the sun came out and the Kauls decided to host an outdoor event, advising guests to bundle up against the cool breezes blowing from the lake.

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Veena and Dr. Kuldip Kaul (Club 24 Evening of Philanthropy hosts)

During the cocktail hour, about 75 Club 24 members and guests enjoyed the lakefront view with hors d’oeuvres catered by Dawat Cuisine of Madras Pavilion. Alpa Shah, Chair of Club 24’s Signature Events committee, welcomed the gathering with an appropriate message for the Evening of Philanthrophy: “Charity is about compassion for humanity. True wealth is measured by the good we do in this world.”

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Rahul Purie and Bhavna Sharma (members, left) with Tom Moore (Kinkaid Director of Advancement), Manisha Gandhi and Alpa Shah.

Club 24 President Manisha Gandhi thanked the Kauls for being such gracious hosts and providing a wonderful ambience for the Evening of Philanthropy. Gandhi also thanked founder-member Ashok Garg and past presidents Pradeep Gupta, Asha Dhume, Sangeeta Pasrija and Anuradha Subramanian for laying the groundwork for creating the legacy of the philanthropy event, which has been running for the past 12 years.

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Anu Subramanian (member, left) with Valerie Greiner (MFAH Senior Development Officer), Manisha Gandhi and Alpa Shah.

“The Evening of Philanthropy is my personal favorite,” Gandhi explained. “This is when Club 24 members give back to charitable organizations in Houston and also in India. Club 24 matches a small portion of those contributions. This is important because Club 24 has members, who are not only accomplished, but also are passionate about making the world a better place.”

Gandhi then proceeded to call on stage the various charities, which received philanthropic funding.

Ekal Vidyalaya, which runs one-teacher schools in the remotest rural and tribal villages of India. Pradeep and Kiran Gupta accepted the donation check. Additional donors are Jugal and Raj Malani. “I’ve seen photos of an Ekal school taking place under a tree and the blackboard consists of the back of a water buffalo.”

Kinkaid School, which is a private K-12 school in the Memorial area of Houston. Kinkaid Director of Advancement Tom Moore and his wife Jenny accepted the check with Club 24 members Rahul Purie and Bhavna Sharma.

Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, which is currently running the “Peacock in the Desert” exhibit featuring the treasures of the Royal House of Jodhpur. MFAH Senior Development Officer Valerie Greiner accepted the check with Club 24’s Anuradha Subramanian.

Ovarcome, a foundation which provides treatment support and options to underprivileged women suffering from ovarian cancer. Ovarcome Board member and Club 24 member Dr. Arpana Kamat accepted the check. Club 24 member Juuhi Ahuja is also on Ovarcome’s board.

Pratham, which educates children in the urban areas of India. Founded in 1995, the organization has educated 50 million children in India. Accepting the check was Pratham President Asha Dhume, who is also a past-president of Club 24. Other Club 24 members joining Dhume on stage included Past-President Ash Shah, Annu Naik Savita Rao and Ashit Yagnik.

Memorial-Spring Branch Rotary Club, which is a global network of leaders and problem-solvers who take action to create lasting change through scholarships and other activities. Rotary members include Ashok Garg and Jagdip Ahluwalia. Accepting the check for the Rotary was James Brown on behalf of President Dona Burke.

Save-a-Mother, which was started in 2003 to eradicate maternal and infant mortality in India. “We’ve been able to reduce such mortalities by 90% in 2,300 villages,” said Veena Kaul, who is the president of Save-a-Mother. Club 24 member Veena Mathur is also active with the charity.

West Houston Leadership Institute, which runs a 10-month program to engage leaders – and future leaders – in the issues of the day. Ken Graham accepted the check along with Club 24’s Mary Grace Landrum.

Daya, which aids domestic violence victims with counseling, education and shelter. The donation check was accepted by Annu Naik and Jyoti Kulkarni. Club 24 members who support Daya include Pradeep Gupta and Swatantra Jain.

This was followed by the introduction of new members by Ashok Garg. These included Tej and Usha Ganjoo, Dr. Ramesh Krishnan, Heather and Paul Canfield, Dr. Bharat and Falguni Gandhi, Dr. Anil Dara, and Krishna Shivram and Uma Krishnan.  

After dinner catered by Dawat Cuisine, the guests were treated to a concert by Salil and Aishwarya Bhadekar. Salil is the winner of both Marathi and Hindi Saregamapa contests. The Bhadekars sang both Bollywood Golden oldies and classic ghazals and also allowed some Club 24 singers to join them on stage.

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