AIF Gets Ready for its Annual New England Gala, Announces Special Guest, Emcee and Program Highlights


BOSTON—The Boston chapter of the American India Foundation, which has impacted the lives of 3.1 million of India’s poor and aims to reach 5 million by 2018-2019, is getting ready for its 11th annual New England Gala on March 18 at Boston Marriott Copley Place in Boston.

“It is going to be an inspiring event,” says Andy Gupta, who along with his wife Deepa Acharya Gupta, is co-chairing the AIF New England gala this year. “The theme this year is to inspire to take action, to inspire to make a difference and to inspire to give.”

In an exclusive video interview with INDIA New England News, Gupta talks about AIF programs in India, guests, auctions and the gala program this year. To watch the full video interview, please click here.

The gala will start with a reception at 5:00 PM on Saturday, March 18, 2017, at Boston Marriott Copley Place. It’s always a black tie or formal Indian wear event that includes entertainment, food and live art auction. About 20 volunteers, including the AIF’s Board of Trustees, Council of Governors and others have been working on the program.

The organizing team includes Nalini & Raj Sharma, Namita & Santhana Krishnan, Pratima & Dr. Venkat Srinivasan, Drs. Sunita & Brian Pereira, Vandana & Vivek Sharma, Andy Gupta & Dr. Deepa Acharya-Gupta, Farida Kathawalla, Nimit Nathwani, Sangita Thakore, Srini Ambati, Vikram Mahidhar, Anu Chitrapu, Asha Shah, Jayati Vaidya, Sahil Aggarwal, Nirmala Garimella and Suchitra Krishna.

Gupta said comedian Anish Shah is coming back to AIF gala this year as the Emcee for the evening. The evening’s auctioneer will be Mike Wankum, a staff meteorologist for WCVB-TV Channel 5, and Special Guest is Jaaved Jaaferi , an Indian actor, producer and comedian and a dancer known for his work in several Bollywood films and Indian television shows.

Here are details on the key speakers of the evening:

Anish Shah

The Evening’s Emcee: Anish Shah

From consultant to comedian, Shah comes back to Boston as the Emcee for the evening. After being named one of the “50 Coolest South Asians,” by Desi Club, Shah produced and hosted his first show on Broadway, “International Incident” at Carolines in 2012. It is now in its 4th year and has been selected multiple times for the New York Comedy Festival.

Mike Wankum

The Evening’s Auctioneer: Mike Wankum

Wankum is a staff meteorologist for WCVB-TV Channel 5. Shah has been recognized with 12-regional Emmy Awards during his 24-year career in Boston, as well as awards from the Associated Press and Massachusetts Broadcast Association.

Shah has completed the Boston Marathon twice. He is an accomplished motorcycle racer, sailor and an airplane pilot and is often called upon by various groups for his expertise in science, meteorology, climate and coastal issues.

Jaaved Jaaferi

The Evening’s Special Guest: Jaaved Jaaferi

Jaaferi is an Indian actor, producer and comedian and a dancer known for his work in several Bollywood films and Indian television shows. He has acted in over 35 films, both Indian and international, till date, winning awards from SCREEN and IIFA.  Jaaferi co-founded and judged India’s first dance reality show Boogie Woogie which has broken records and is the longest running dance show, covering 15 years.

 About AIF

The American India Foundation is committed to catalyzing social and economic change in India, and building a lasting bridge between the United States and India through high-impact interventions in education, livelihoods, public health, and leadership development. Working closely with local communities, AIF partners with NGOs to develop and test innovative solutions and with governments to create and scale sustainable impact. AIF’s programs emphasize inclusive models that focus on the unique needs of girls and women to achieve gender equity as a basis for sustainable change.

Founded in 2001 at the initiative of President Bill Clinton following a suggestion from Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee, AIF has impacted the lives of 3.1 million of India’s poor by providing access to high-quality education, formal sector employment for urban youth and rickshaw drivers, and public health services to protect the health of mothers and their children, while building the next generation of global leaders through service. With offices in New York and California, eleven chapters across the U.S., and India operations centered in New Delhi, AIF is transforming lives across 23 states of India while addressing these issues on a regional, country, and international scale. President Bill Clinton serves as Honorary Chair and former Ambassador to India Frank Wisner chairs the Advisory Council. Learn more at


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