SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Bonfare Markets Charitable Foundation held its 29th Annual Golf Tournament and Auction Aug. 3 at the Silver Creek Valley Country Club here, raising funds for a trio of beneficiaries.
Two years ago, the event raised $140,000 (₹ 89,43,550). A year ago, the funds raised reached $150,000 (₹ 95,82,375). This year, at time of press, with numbers still being tallied, the event had raised over $100,000 (₹ 63,88,250) .
Indian American businessman Jag Kapoor has run the nearly three-decade old event since he acquired the Milpitas, Calif.-headquartered Bonfare Markets Inc. in 1994 with his brother Sean.
“It seems like yesterday,” Kapoor told India-West of his transition in taking over the event from original Bonfare owner Donald Kaplan, who stipulated that he would only sell to the Kapoors if they kept the charitable golf tournament alive.
Kapoor credited the team of workers who “worked like a machine” to get the event running without a hitch.
“A lot of hard work by the staff (today),” Kapoor added. “It was a great day. A great turnout. I think people had fun … it was good.”
The event, attended by more than 150 guests, including California state Assemblymen Ash Kalra and Kansen Chu, featured a room full of framed items from the sports and entertainment worlds, luxury getaways and hard-to-find bottles of wine as part of a silent auction.
Additionally, there was a plethora of priceless items during the live auction event. Among the auction items up for bid during the dinner portion of the event were a weeklong getaway to Bali, a Napa Valley wine tour, an electric guitar signed by numerous rock legends, a signed Kevin Durant jersey, and a Shadow Creek golf experience in Las Vegas.
The auction served as a way to raise money for three beneficiaries: the India Community Center, Foundation for Excellence and the Alviso project.
The ICC, founded in 2003, is a Milpitas, Calif.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the Indian American and greater San Francisco Bay Area community by promoting Indian culture through social, cultural, recreational and community programs.
“It is fantastic. Being a nonprofit that Bonfare is, it is fantastic to have ICC … to be a recipient of some of the funding that comes from the fantastic support,” ICC chief executive Raj Desai told India-West at the event. “For the community to come together to look at local initiatives that support and help local communities is always a good thing.”
Desai said the funds received from the Bonfare event will go directly into helping pay for a new outdoor facility they are working on building. The sports field, located on the side of the main ICC building, is expected to be completed within six months, according to Desai.
“It’s a big project. We are hoping that with the support of Jag and Bonfare Foundation, we’ll be able to execute and produce that outdoor games and sports field,” Desai said, adding that the ICC, which supports many children in the community, has yet to provide an outdoor option as an alternative to their many indoor-based activities. “The small center will give the kids the access to be able to play tennis, basketball and some element of cricket.”
FFE, founded in 1994, provides top-scoring students, who don’t have the financial ability to attend college, with scholarships. When the student finishes college and gets a job, they then pay off the loan. The nonprofit especially focuses on engineering and medical students in India.
“The support we get from Bonfare here today directly goes to the scholarship fund,” Minoo Gupta, president of FFE, told India-West.
FFE has been a beneficiary for the past three years of the charitable golf tournament. A year ago, the foundation supported 77 students directly from the charity.
“Every dollar that we get goes to the scholarships,” Gupta added. “We love our partnership with Bonfare and all the guests that come here.”
Also representing FFE at the event was Ranjith Kagathi, a former recipient who graduated from the National Institute of Technology in India and came to the U.S. where he worked for Qualcomm in San Diego, before recently starting a new gig at Google.
“FFE helped me tremendously,” he said. “Now I take every opportunity to be able to give back in terms of time and money to FFE.”
Kagathi, who was celebrating his fifth wedding anniversary with his wife, has committed to sponsor two FFE scholars, but added that he may be able to sponsor more down the line.
Alviso, a small community tucked in between San Jose and Milpitas, has a restoration project to help bolster the area, which is a slightly depressed area.
Typically, the golf event has donated to two organizations – one from the U.S. and another benefitting those in India – however, Kapoor wanted to take the opportunity to donate a portion of the funds to Alviso to help the kids in that community, he said.
Kapoor said all the Bonfare Markets vendors supported the charity event in some capacity. Several individuals who work directly with Bonfare were at the event and spoke glowingly of Kapoor and Bonfare.
Core Mark, the grocery, candy and tobacco supplier for Bonfare, has been a part of the event for more than a decade.
“It’s a great organization. Jag has given a lot to the community,” Ron Brown, who works in business development at Core Mark, told India-West. “If we can help him give more to the community to the good causes, we just keep doing it. It was a great event.”
Added Ted Hoffman, sales director of Southern Wine and Spirits, another sponsor of the event and a longtime vendor of Bonfare, “(Kapoor) has become a friend of mine. It’s a good relationship. I thought it was a great turnout. I think everyone had a lot of fun.”
Nicole Barker of Flyers Energy, a company that has been sponsoring the Bonfare event for years, added, “This is a lot of fun. Any charitable foundation is great. I’m always there to support.”
Even as the 29th annual event was taking place, Kapoor admitted he already has big plans for the 2018 event, marking the 30th year of the golf tournament.
“In the past I’ve had several celebrities come (to the event), so, next year, we’re thinking that we’ll make it more of a celebrity golf tournament,” Kapoor told India-West. “We’ll have celebrities from India, some from the U.S. and really make it a bigger event.”