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American India Foundation expands reach

Washington: The American India Foundation, dedicated to catalysing social and economic change in India, launched its eleventh chapter in the historic city of Philadelphia. The foundation is one of the largest development organisations in the US dedicated to helping poor and marginalised people in India.

AIF was founded by the initiative of former President Bill Clinton after the 2001 Gujarat Earthquake following a suggestion from then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Nearly a hundred people from the Greater Philadelphia region attended the event held at the downtown Loews Philadelphia Hotel Oct 2, according to the American Bazaar.

In the keynote address Al Jazeera America host Ali Velshi, whose great grandparents moved to Africa from Gujarat a century ago, recalled the struggles his forefathers had to endure in their adopted land.

He praised the work AIF is doing to provide opportunities the less privileged in the Indian society.

Chief guest Raj Gupta, chairman of the board of directors of Delphi Automotive, stressed the importance of philanthropic work organizations such as AIF is doing in the US and India.

“A dollar and 25 cents can make a difference,” he said, urging everyone to share their wealth.

AIF CEO MA Ravi Kumar spoke about the mission of the organization.

Other speakers included the chapter founding members Sanjay Gupta and Kavita Gupta, AIF Senior Director of Philanthropy and Development Venky Raghavendra, and Deepak Jolly, a vice president at Coca-Cola India.

Philadelphia being the city of firsts and with the huge potential that it holds, it is important to have a strong presence and chapter here,” Sanjay Gupta told the American Bazaar.

Greater Philadelphia region, comprising of City of Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware, is home to leading universities, businesses and a population that has strong ties to India. AIF hopes to tap these resources.

The ten other cities and regions AIF has chapters are Atlanta, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New England, New York Tristate Area, Orange County, Richmond VA and Washington DC.

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