New York– The American India Foundation honoured Dell Technologies Chairman and CEO Michael Dell and Aditya Puri, the Managing Director of Indias largest private sector bank of HDFC, at its annual gala in here.
The gala raised nearly $3 million, with a third of that amount committed by Indian American technology entrepreneurs Bharat Desai and Neerja Sethi.
The gala, held on Wednesday at the historic Cipriani Wall Street, was attended by 600 people, among them, a number of prominent Indian-Americans.
The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, which focuses on improving the lives of children living in urban poverty through education, health and family economic stability, has committed nearly $1.7 billion worldwide for the cause. In India, the foundation has spent $200 million in the past 15 years.
AIF is one of the Dell Foundation’s partners in India, where the two are providing digital education to one million students in 8,000 schools across six states.
“Tomorrow’s future is shaped by what children learn today,” Dell said accepting the award. “We must apply our expertise, our technology and our giving to ensure that students everywhere have the skills to succeed, the critical thinking skills to succeed in the digital world.”
Puri, who runs India’s largest private sector bank, spoke about his company’s philanthropic activities. “We have our intervention in health as well as education. As far as education is concerned, we have helped 1.6 million children get better education.”
Among the other highlights of the night was a $1 million pledge by Desai and Sethi.
The evening began with a call to arms by MSNBC host and Master of Ceremonies Ali Velshi and AIF Co-Chair Harit Talwar.
“Our mission is simple and audacious,” said Talwar, who serves as Global Head of Consumers at Goldman Sachs. “We want to make a difference in the lives of tens of millions of underprivileged women and children in India…”
Other speakers included AIF Co-Chair Lata Krishnan, its CEO Nishant Pandey, the organization’s two Chairmen Emeritus Ajay Banga and Victor Menezes and Pradeep Kashyap, who transitioned from the group’s board to Director Emeritus.
Among the attendees were Indian American Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, AIF board members Venkat Srinivasan and Raj Sharma.