SOMERSET, N.J. — It was an evening of dance and donations as Vibha, a volunteer-run nonprofit, held its annual fundraising gala at The Marigold here, Nov. 11. More than 200 guests attended Vibha Vibe, headlined by Bollywood actress Pooja Batra as the chief guest. The event raised more than $100,000, organizers said.
Dance performances were the highlight of the evening, as 13 prominent members of the Indian-American community were each paired with a choreographer, cheered on by families and friends. Awards were presented for several categories including best dancer, highest fundraiser and best costume. A silent auction featured donations by Ashley home store, fashion designer Anita Dongre and artist Medha Atre Kulkarni.
Since its inception in 1991, Vibha has raised $15 million and supported more than 250 projects in India and 10 projects in the U.S. which has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 children in need, organizers said in a press release.
Vibha calls itself a social venture catalyst and believes in working with existing systems rather than creating separate parallel systems. About a decade ago, the group established Sikshana, funding 70 schools in Karnataka to improve the government schools with motivational training. In February, Vibha and Sikshana signed a 50/50 partnership with the government of Karnataka that assisted 1.16 million children —an initiative that expanded to the full state, impacting 48,000 schools and reaching 2 million children.