The Non-Profit Organization of the Year: IAGB, Serving the Community for Over 60 Years

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The India Association of Greater Boston, popularly known as IAGB, has served the needs of the Indian diaspora for over 60 years, providing cultural, educational and civic platforms to the Indian community. The Republic Day and India Day celebrations have been signature events, invoking a gathering of about 20,000 people at its max.

Founded in 1962 as a socio-cultural organization, IAGB has played an important role in bringing the area’s Indian communities together. In its early years, IAGB brought the then small Indian community together to celebrate Indian festivals and special occasions.
IAGB is governed by an Executive Committee consisting of professionals, who speak different languages, come from different backgrounds, and are a microcosm of the unity-in- diversity that is India. IAGB thrives because of the dedication and hard work of its volunteer officers and directors and the continued enthusiastic support from the Greater Boston communities. It looks forward to continuing to work in the spirit of its mission for years to come.

Vaishali Gade

Q/A with IAGB President Vaishali Gade.

INDIA New England News: How has IAGB contributed to the community?
Vaishali Gade: IAGB came into existence in 1962 to cater to community needs and has been a community-centric organization ever since. In its early years, IAGB played a significant role in bringing the then-small Indian community together to celebrate special occasions and two main events, namely, Republic Day and India Day.

IAGB grew in leaps and bounds since then. It has not only contributed to the community by focusing on the need of staying together and staying connected but rose as a deep-rooted Indo-American organization that has now become a ‘go-to organization‘ to explore the Indian origin and belongingness of fellow Indian Americans in New England. IAGB proudly represents all of the Indian and Indian associations in the Greater Boston area to the people of the Commonwealth.

IAGB is home to all lovers of Indian culture & heritage in its whole or parts by bringing all regional organizations and regional Indian communities of Greater Boston together under one platform to serve and promote culture, community, and socio-political activities to demonstrate “power in number” and thus attain the visibility that the Indian community deserves.

IAGB has also been the starter organization for many other for-cause organizations
like Saheli Boston, a non-profit fighting against domestic violence in the South
Asian and Arabic communities.

Today IAGB stands tall with Indian American pride by virtue of its signature civic endeavor of conducting Flag Hoisting ceremonies across 50+ towns of New England by honoring
Indian and US flags; provide various cultural, and educational platforms for the
Indian community and youth of Indian heritage by conducting informational
workshops like Estate Planning, Financials planning, College Prep, and conducting Visa Camps, along with pioneering social service endeavors like Senior Care webinars
and in-person information sessions; other social services such as food and clothing
drives, Vaccination camps, face mask drives, and many more. IAGB continues to be the face of the Indian American community and has also hosted many dignitaries and diplomats giving them a chance to be face-toface with the community.

INE: Key programs done by IAGB?

VG:
o India Day Celebration in Boston
o Indian Republic Day gala
o Visa Camps
o Flag Hoisting across multiple towns gives an opportunity to participate be face to face with government officials including senators, state reps, city Mayors, town Select Board, policymakers, and decision-makers
o Discover India Series working with many New England area Libraries excite and ignite the community and bring awareness in an engaging manner
o Civic workshops to get Indian American community engaged in local governance, showcasing and bringing forward Indian American candidates
o College Workshops
o Community Giving Days, giving an opportunity for the community to come together and serve
o Fundraisers to bring the community together and give back to our adopted land
o Senior Care Awareness
o Blood Donation Drives
o Food & Clothing drives

INE: In the fast-changing world and demographics, how are you engaging new
generation?

VG: With changing world, expanding horizons, and the impact our dynamic Indian American community can make – IAGB has taken a leadership role in bringing not only Indians but Asians together with many grassroots-level initiatives like inviting Chinese, Filipino and Korean performance groups to our signature India Day event at the Hatch shell, Discover India Series, forming partnerships in cultural exchange, and showcasing the strength in togetherness through unique endeavors such as Unity Rally,
Unity Gala, Youth Engagement, Fundraising Celebrity concerts.

INE: How did you get involved with IAGB?
VG: Like many other immigrants from India, I first came to know about IAGB while looking to celebrate India’s Independence Day. This relationship continued as a patron until 7/8 years ago when I volunteered for IAGB’s (and New England’s) first-ever Antakshari. This gave me an opportunity to get even closer to the organization. Seeing IAGB’s community impact and having experienced the connectedness myself I formally joined the IAGB board. IAGB has evolved over the years, and has expanded its horizons but still has kept its core values of preserving our culture and heritage alive. It’s a grassroots-level organization working with the community and for the community with many giving and selfless volunteers and fearless leaders.

INE: What’re the other organizations you have worked with?
VG: I have been fortunate to work with some of the great non-profit organizations here in US and back home. I have volunteered for Shishubharti for 12+ years teaching language and culture curriculum. I am also a long-time volunteer for New England Marathi Mandal (NEMM) and also served on their board as Vice-President. I also serve on the advisory board of ‘Anubhuti’ a non-profit school in Western Maharashtra for underserved communities.

INE: How these organizations have enriched your own life?
VG: As stated by Winston Churchill “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” And that’s the exact sentiment I share. These organizations that I worked for have made my life more beautiful, meeting other like-minded people, expanding my skill sets, and challenging myself every day to do more.

Also, see below for few remarks from the current IAGB EC:

“IAGB has influenced my personal as well as socio-cultural life in a beautiful way” – Tanu Basu

“IAGB opened many avenues for me at a different level where I got to connect with our Boston community and work with great people with diverse backgrounds” – Asha Thotangare IAGB EC

“IAGB is a pan-India organization, so volunteering for IAGB gives me an opportunity to work for the entire Indian American community”–Santosh Salvi IAGB EC.

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