Tag Archives: nonprofit organization

Falguni Pathak Sings for Local Bay Area Charity

This season of Navaratri brings with it garba, dandiya, music, masti, and hordes of Indian Americans ready to celebrate! Traditionally, garba/dandiya is associated with the region of Gujarat, however, all over America, this practice has been adopted by all. Uttar Pradesh Mandal of America (UPMA) is one such local Bay Area organization that has used the love of garba and dandiya for a good cause. On Friday, October 18th, at the San Jose Convention Center, UPMA held a benefit garba, Festival of Life “Dandiya Dhoom”, with world renowned singer, Falguni Pathak. UPMA has used the money they have raised over the past year from such events to build 10 daycare centers in Chitrakoot and helped 15,000 underprivileged women become empowered and get married. I was lucky to attend such an event on Friday October 18th; it was a night of synchronization, music, energy made unforgettable by Falguni Pathak’s infectious energy. 

“Every penny earned [by UPMA] is sent back to India.”

From left to right, Ashish Rastogi, Kiran Pandey, Manju Mishra, Nilu Gupta.

UPMA’s light and energy is sourced from founder, former President, and current Chairperson, Nilu Gupta. Nilu Gupta and Prakash Agrawal co-founded the organization in 2006 when they saw a gap in knowledge and retention of UP culture in the Bay Area.

As a Hindi professor at De Anza Community College, Nilu Ji also runs one of the few college credit Hindi courses in California; she is trying to inspire the next generation of Indian Americans to grasp their native language and keep it alive.

UPMA is not without a team of volunteers and the current president, Ritesh Tandon, is working tirelessly to keep the organization vibrant. Attending events like Festival of Life shows support for Indian culture in the Bay Area and allows us to be civically engaged transcontinentally. To learn more about UPMA, to volunteer, or to find out about upcoming events check out their website http://upmaglobal.org/.

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Maitri Raises over $650K at its Annual Gala

Maitri Board members with Cindy Chavez and Ash Kalra

Maitri celebrated 27 years of empowering South Asian community members suffering from familial violence, human trafficking, elder abuse, and cultural alienation with a glittering and successful gala on March 3, 2018, in Palo Alto, California. The occasion was graced by Silicon Valley CEOs, VCs, community leaders, entrepreneurs, and community members who generously donated over $650K.

The funds will be used for strengthening Maitri’s comprehensive suite of services and programs ranging from a helpline, a transitional house, outreach and prevention, a non-profit boutique, legal advocacy, mental health, and economic empowerment program. Noreen Raza, Maitri Board of Trustees and Gala Co-Chair, says “We exceeded our goal and am so grateful and proud of our community once again stepping up to the challenge of funding critically needed programs and services for South Asian survivors of familial violence and abuse.”

Jeffrey Iqbal. Photo credit: Saurabh Desai

Shamik Mehta, Co-Chair Maitri Board of Trustees and Gala Co-Chair says, “For the first 10-plus years of Maitri’s existence, we were completely dependent on community funding with the result we were able to create many unique and culturally sensitive programs best suited to the needs of our clients. And, as a result, maintaining program agility and fiscal prudence has become a part of our DNA.”

Photo credit: Saurabh Desai

Sonya Pelia, President of Maitri says, “The shift in consciousness around familial violence and abuse in the South Asian community over the last few years has been nothing short of amazing. At the same time, we find that our unique cultural competency and strong leadership has established Maitri in the forefront of mainstream domestic violence agencies in the Bay Area.”

During the evening, Maitri was recognized by Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez and commended by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) for the agency’s transformative work in empowering survivors of domestic violence and abuse. The evening wrapped up with a dazzling musical performance by the talented Jeffrey Iqbal, a globally recognized singer and musician, and his band.

Maitri is a free, confidential, nonprofit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area, empowering South Asian survivors of family violence, cultural alienation, human trafficking and elder abuse. In these 27 years, the agency has responded to over 46,000 helpline calls and empowered more than 4,000 survivors with it’s transformational programs and active policy work.