An image of guests at the AIF's second annual gala last year
An image of guests at the AIF’s second annual gala last year

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. (Diya TV) — Bringing together more than 250 guests, including some of the region’s most influential philanthropists and entrepreneurs, C-level executives, entrepreneurs, luminaries, and community leaders, the American Indian Foundation hosted its third annual Orange County Gala to raise more than $500,000 in support of the foundation’s Maternal and Newborn Survivial Initiative.

The initiative is a public-private partnership working to reduce maternal and child mortality by providing care, resources and empowering local communities to care for their mothers and children, as well as improving the local health system. AIF Trustee and Gala Co-Chair Tinnie Grewal inaugurated the ceremonies, which were sponsored in part by Avasant Foundation, Gala Foundation, Paladin Healthcare Capital LLC, and Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth.

“The Orange County community exemplifies the spirit of thinking globally and acting locally,” said Grewal. “Thanks to the incredible support of our community, we are building waves across oceans in strengthening AIF’s resolve to uplift so many out of cycles of poverty, and helping them to live healthy, successful, productive lives.”

Additionally, Manu and Rika Shah, founders of MS International, the leading importer and distributor of natural stones in North America, were honored for their philanthropic leadership in the region. The couple reenforced their relationship with the AIF, advancing their charitable goals in 2013 with a focus on education and livelihoods.

Comedian Anish Shah
Comedian Anish Shah

“Access to education and job skills training are essential to paving the way for a brighter future for any individual,” said Mona Shah. “AIF’s Digital Equalizer program brings innovative technology and educational approaches to school children who do not otherwise have access to technology, while the Market Aligned Skills Training program provides young adults skills training to provide them with better career opportunities. These are important foundations to create better livelihoods.”

Award-winning New York comedian Anish Shah emceed the event, which featured a stunning live auction from Rick Werner of Charity Auctioneers — more than $200,000 was raised during the auction for the AIF’s MANSI program.

“MANSI’s power comes from empowering local women to be the agents of change in their own communities. The sahiyas are true bastions of inspiration. It is thanks to local leaders like Sumitra that so many have a successful start to life and the opportunity to live healthy lives,” AIF co-founder Lata Krishnan said.