Atlanta, GA: Dr. Deepak Chopra will be in Atlanta on Saturday, March 30 as the keynote speaker for a fundraising dinner to benefit the Akshaya Patra Foundation, an organization that provides freshly prepared school lunches to more than 1.3 million underprivileged children every day at more than 9,000 schools across nine states in India.
“There is no one more appropriate than Deepak Chopra, a world-renowned mind-body healing pioneer, to inspire our minds as we help fill the stomachs of needy young students,” said Rakesh Chauhan, President and CEO of Banyan Investment Group, who serves as co-chairman of the event, which is appropriately titled “Body & Soul.”
“We are creating a memorable evening that will truly warm the hearts and satisfy the souls of attendees.”
Also serving as co-chairman for the event are: Umaesh Khaitan, President and Founder of Door Kraft, Inc., Dr. Anand Lalaji, President and CEO of The Radiology Group, Harish Mamtani, Managing Director of Bluefish Capital, LLC, Hemant Naran, Vice President at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Palaniswamy “Raj” Rajan, Chairman and CEO of Virima Technologies, Shashi Reddy, CEO and Founder of Case-Mate, Dr. Pradeep Sinha, Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgery and Satya Tiwari, President of Surya.
According to Chopra, who serves on the Advisory Board of the Akshaya Patra Foundation USA, the organization is “a perfect example of what happens when creativity and compassion come together.”
Tickets for the dinner are $5,000 for a table of 10 and are available online at the www.foodforeducation.org website. Customized corporate sponsorships can also be specially arranged.
“A charitable donation should be evaluated like any other investment — namely, consider which one will earn the best return,” explained Palaniswamy “Raj” Rajan, who was instrumental in founding the Akshaya Patra Foundation’s chapter in Atlanta.
“Akshaya Patra needs just $15 to deliver school lunches to one child for an entire year, so the funds we raise are very important — and they certainly are used very efficiently and productively.”
In the 2013 listing of the world’s top 100 non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), it is ranked number 23 overall, number one in the “children and youth” category, and number one in India as part of an evaluation of 450 groups by The Global Journal, a prestigious print and online publication that covers governance and social change.
In addition, for four years in a row — 2009 through 2012 — the foundation has been honored by the Indian Institute of Chartered Accountants with the highly-respected Gold Shield Award for Best Financial Reporting.
Founded in 2000, the Akshaya Patra Foundation’s mission is that “no child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger” and its next goal is to feed five million children daily by 2020.
For many children, the lunch provided by the Akshaya Foundation is their only complete meal for the day and gives them an incentive to come to school and to stay in school, while providing the necessary nutrients to develop their cognitive abilities and focus properly on learning.
“Significant progress requires significant support, so we depend on concerned community members and on special events such as ‘Body & Soul’ to help us eliminate hunger and promote education — one child at a time,” added Madhu Sridhar, President and CEO of Akshaya Patra USA, based in Massachusetts.
“Our work is a scalable and replicable model that can be used effectively throughout India and around the world. It demonstrates what can be accomplished when the public sector and the private sector collaborate on behalf of a local community.”