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IACF Hands a Record $65K Grants to 25 Local Charities, Its Largest Group

The IACF Board of Directors posed with the representatives of the charities which received the monetary awards

The IACF Board of Directors posed with the representatives of the charities which received the monetary awards. Photos: Roy Photography

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By Jawahar Malhotra

SUGAR LAND: Only minutes into the program, just as the guests were finishing off their appetizers and getting comfortable in their seats, the fire alarm went off. All you could hear in the parking lot as you walked up to the front door of Madras Pavilion were the shrill whoops of the horns, as a few agitated and dazed organizers stood with bewildered looks on their faces. One of restaurant owners, Rajan Radhakrishnan, stood outside, cellphone to his ear, calling the alarm company. Inside, people sat calmly at their tables, trying to talk above the din and smiling at the inconvenience. Rajan rushed back in shouting “False alarm!” and a few minutes later, the horns stopped!

The IACF Board of Directors posed with the presenters of the monetary awards after the event

The IACF Board of Directors posed with the presenters of the monetary awards after the event

It was quite an entrance for the Indo American Charity Foundation’s annual Grants Award night, though not the kind of fanfare it was hoping for! Later during the program after he had presented to one of the recipients, Madras Pavilion’s other owner, Mahesh Shah couldn’t resist jesting about it. “It’s all because we have so many hot ladies here tonight!” he teased, “We’re just not used to this attention!” Apparently a smoke detector misfiring in the kitchen had set the alarm off, but was cleared out in time for the program and the buffet dinner that followed.

Incoming IACF President-Elect Mahesh Wadhwa closed out the event with some remarks

Incoming IACF President-Elect Mahesh Wadhwa closed out the event with some remarks

The IACF held the event this past Thursday, June 29, to a packed banquet hall at the Madras Pavilion, site of many of the organization’s Board meetings and other events throughout the years. With a sigh of relief, the emcee for the evening IACF Director Rathna Kumar, a noted classical dancer and instructor to hundreds of young women across the region, began the program with a brief introduction of the IACF and its intended goals, encapsulating them with the group’s motto, “we live here, we give here”.

IACF Board Director Rathna Kumar emceed the grant awards event held at Madras Pavilion restaurant in Sugar Land

IACF Board Director Rathna Kumar emceed the grant awards event held at Madras Pavilion restaurant in Sugar Land

As the program went on for over 90 minutes, it became clear that this marked the largest group of recipients ever in the IACF’s 29 year history and a record amount of grants. As Kumar read through the list and gave a brief description of each charity, and their representatives strode to the front of the room to receive their check envelopes, a total of 25 local charities were awarded grants which totaled $65,000, a record amount for the IACF.

IACF President Dr. Vanitha Pothuri noted that the Foundation funds only local charities in the Houston metropolitan area

IACF President Dr. Vanitha Pothuri noted that the Foundation funds only local charities in the Houston metropolitan area

This is also, most likely, the largest amount that a local Indo-American group has given out to non-Indian based, local charities. “This year, each charity requesting funding had to go through an online grant application,” said Dr. Vanitha Pothuri, IACF President, “as we tried to streamline a procedural process.”

This year’s grants went to four more charities than last year, though a few have not been included, yet many are the same familiar ones that IACF has supported through the years. Between these grants and the 29 scholarships totaling $35,000 (also a record amount) given to graduating high school seniors on May 30, the IACF has made $100,000 in cash distributions so far this year. The Grant recipients were overjoyed and vowed to work with the IACF in the future.

IACF-in-1

The local charities which received varying amounts of grants at the program from IACF are: Avance Houston; AADA (Asians Against Domestic Abuse); Casa De Esperanza; Child Advocates; Child Advocates of Fort Bend; Daya; Family to Family Network; IACAN (Indian American Cancer Network); IDCC (Indian Doctors Charity Clinic); iEducate USA; ISCA (Indian Senior Citizens Association); KNOW Autism Foundation; Literacy Advance; Mahatma Gandhi Library; Ovarcome; PAIR (Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees ; PEACE (Parent Engagement for Active Child Enrichment); REACH Unlimited; SEARCH Homeless Services; SEWA Houston; St. Mary’s of the Purification; The Faces of the Village; Turning Point Center; YLDP Houston (Youth Leadership Development Program) Houston and YMCA Camp Cullen.

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