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Annual Bonfare Markets Charitable Golf Tournament Raises More Than $100K (₹ 63,88,250)

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.”

Foundation For Excellence raises $175,000 (₹ 1,11,79,437.50) at annual gala in New York

Dr. Sudhir Parikh, publisher of Desi Talk and recipient of India’s Padma Shri award; Anand Kumar, founder, Super 30 initiative; Prabhu Goel, founder and trustee, FFE; and Venk Shukla, founding president FFE, at the annual gala hosted by the Foundation For Excellence at The Pierre, April 23.

NEW YORK

Entrepreneurs, investment bankers and retired executives were among the around 150 guests who attended the Foundation For Excellence’s (FFE) 11th annual gala on April 23, here in Manhattan at the prestigious Pierre, a Taj-owned hotel. This marked the second year the gala was held on the East Coast by the Silicon Valley, California-based non-profit.

Begun by venture capitalist Dr. Prabhu Goel and his wife Poonam Goel, the FFE endeavors to provide educational funding to exceptionally bright students in India who have serious financial constraints, enabling them to achieve professional success as engineers and doctors. Since FFE’s inception in 1994, over $30 million in scholarships have been awarded, including over $1 million raised last year in the US alone for the first time.

Verifying candidates’ financial need and pledging them, once they’ve achieved professional success, to support at least two other candidates in the program during their lifetime, is something the Foundation prides itself on.

Ron Mehta, Board member of FFE in New York and chairperson for the event, gave opening remarks.

FFE scholarship recipient Bismay Mishra of NIT, Trichy, emceed the evening, reflecting on his own family history of each generation helping the next and how that translates into providing each successive generation’s education.

The highlight of the evening was the fund-raising period just before dinner, overseen with good humor by FFE Founding President Venk Shukla, which generated $175,000 in donations.

Comedian Rajiv Satyal at the gala.

On a somewhat lighter, although still topical note, stand-up comedian Rajiv Satyal, of the one-person show “No Man’s Land”, amused the audience with his “non-veg jokes”, commenting on how, due to the Trump administration’s immigration rhetoric, the Mexican workers renovating his house had to return home to Mexico, “…so because of Trump’s cabinet, I have no cabinets!”

Minoo Gupta, current President of Foundation For Excellence, chronicled some of the organization’s achievements since it was started, in having helped more than 17,000 students at over 450 colleges in 23 states throughout India. She also noted that 100 percent of donations go towards the scholarships and that the scholars have access to an online English language training program to improve their marketability for future employment.

Kumar delivers his keynote address at the gala.

The keynote speaker of the Gala was mathematician Anand Kumar, who recounted through a multi-media presentation, the poignant story of the Super 30 initiative under his Ramanujan School of Mathematics (RSM), which provides coaching to 30 economically disadvantaged students per year for the entrance exams to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

“We’re not just helping people, but helping them cross psychological barriers (to success),” Kumar said.

Kumar founded and has maintained the initiative through his school, despite fraudulent competition, as well as threats of physical violence and has relied on FFE for the financial support it has given his students.

“Education is the key and nurturing brilliance is the motto he follows which is so similar to FFE,” said Anand. “Poverty should not come in the way of education of talented students. It is in this light that I value the contribution of FFE immensely, but it should not confine its support to just higher or technical education. There is need to support students right from the primary or secondary stage,” he added.

A section of the audience at the gala.

Anand got a standing ovation from the audience.

“I don’t normally get emotional, but Anand Kumar’s story moved me to tears,” said up-and-coming fashion entrepreneur Ankita Kant.

Speaker Vidya Swaminathan of Bristol-Myers Squibb spoke about the incredible impact investments have in making every scholar a future role model, adding “It’s not just a Foundation For Excellence, but an excellent foundation!”

Dr. Purvesh Malaviya, DMD, of the Dental School in Baroda; Minoo Gupta, current President of Foundation For Excellence; Shukla; Satish Chittibabu of CIT Coimbatore

Satish Chittibabu of CIT Coimbatore and Dr. Purvesh Malaviya, DMD, of the Dental School in Baroda, both past FFE scholars, remarked on the immaterial benefits of giving back to other scholars.

Chittibabu stated “You get satisfaction in your heart before you go to sleep!” while Dr. Malaviya mentioned, “If you can educate someone to have a good life, they can help others to have a good life too!”

Many in the audience expressed their support for FFE.

Dr. Sushil Bhatia committed himself to support a student and to help FFE expand its reach in New York City.

Brij Seth, who came down from Florida, praised FFE, saying “it stood out like a beacon”.

“FFE’s growth record is phenomenal and showed the passion of the entire team. I was also impressed that FFE’s initiatives inspired many scholarship recipients to contribute to the organization after completing their studies,” said Seth, adding, “It is very rewarding for me to honor my parents by establishing a perpetual scholarship endowment fund in their memory and advancing the mission of FFE.”

Dr. Papachan Kolattukudi, a professor at the University of Florida, said that he is so impressed by FFE, that he has contributed funds to FFE for endowment to support four students, perpetually. He said in future he will add more to the endowment.

Anita Balaji, who has supported FFE since her student days at MIT, said that her entire family is taking part as donor, volunteer and facilitator.

Air India sponsored the FFE fundraiser. Parikh Worldwide Media, TV Asia and India Abroad were the media partners.

FFE’s 10th Annual Gala – Oct 16, 2016, Palo Alto

The mission of Foundation For Excellence (FFE) is to help exceptionally talented but poor students in India become doctors, engineers computer scientists. This year’s theme was “Transforming Lives of Brilliant Students”.

Foundation For Excellence 2016 report – New York

The New York Gala brought together individuals interested in hearing about the work of the Foundation for Excellence, our committed donors and supporters. At the Gala, FFE’s alumni who are now successful professionals in the US, spoke of their journey of hardship in College and the positive impact FFE played in their lives. They recalled how they were able to help their own families, as employed professionals and are proud of the number of FFE scholars they currently support through their personal contributions.

Working together for a cause

17th December 2015 – The Hindu, Bangalore

A group of Microsoft employees here have raised Rs. 14.69 lakh for charity as part of the Giving Campaign.

Techies hone skills of engineering students

17th December 2015 – The Hindu, Bangalore

The Better India is a website that features positive news across the country, chronicling unacknowledged heroes who work tirelessly for positive social change.

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