Forum Officials Deny IAFPE is Shutting Down

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Gope Gidwani (Photo: Jay Srinivasan)

WALTHAM, MA—Officials of the Indian American Forum for Political Education-New England, known as IAFPE or Forum, denied rumors that it is being shut down. Forum does not have a president since Nov. 1, 2019, and no one has been appointed either as a caretaker or as an acting president.

Kumkum Mathur Dilwali (Photo: Facebook)

This power vacuum within the IAFPE has led to rumors that IAFPE is shutting down and planning to donate its savings, which were reported at $28,999.32 in 2018,  to another non-profit organization.

Kumkum Mathur Dilwali, Treasure of the Forum, said there has been no decision to shut down the forum and that she is currently continuing in her role as Treasurer, safeguarding the remaining funds of this non-profit, until the future of IAFPE-MA is decided.

The Forum has been in trouble in recent years because it had failed to file taxes for several years and had lost its non-profit status. The Forum, however, has regained its non-profit status after filing past taxes. It was not clear though if the IAFPE has filed its taxes for years 2017 and 2018.

Sonali Lappin

Sonali Lappin, who was appointed acting president first and later was elected as President of the organization, resigned last month. Her term was scheduled to expire in January 2020.

“Mr. Gope Gidwani and I have jointly offered to be caretakers if and when the need be,” Monie Malhotra, a Member-at-Large and executive committee member of the IAFPE, told INDIA New England News. Mr. Gidwani, a long-time member and supporter of the forum, confirmed.

“It is true. I have offered to be a caretaker,” Mr. Gidwani said.

Ms. Lappin told INDIA New England News that she resigned from the forum for personal reasons.

“It was my time to move on,” Ms. Lappin said. “There is still a good leadership within the organization.”

Ms. Dilwali said there has been no decision to shut down the forum.

“Following Sonali Lappin’s resignation effective Nov 1, 2019, Monie Malhotra and Gope Gidwani have offered to provide interim leadership for IAFPE-MA,” said Ms. Dilwali. “I am currently continuing in my role as Treasurer, safeguarding the remaining funds of this non-profit, until the future of IAFPE-MA is decided. I have retained a qualified accountant to prepare entity financials and am in the process of reviewing annual expenses for taxes and preparation of the Treasurer’s Report. Both Monie and Gope reached out to me recently, and I will follow up with them this week to discuss next steps. As far as I know, there has been no decision to shut down the Forum.”

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