It was a million-dollar weekend for AIM for Seva Canada.
Donors committed a million dollars to the Ontario- registered charity, which works toward educating underprivileged children in India, at the annual fund-raising gala held at the Toronto Pearson Convention Centre this past weekend.
Mike Lakhani, donor of a student home in Khategaon near Indore, Madhya Pradesh, committed $500,000 for an endowment fund to meet the home’s ongoing expenses.
“In my early days, working with CA firms, I used to audit large charitable organizations and average funds going to the cause after expenses were around 50 per cent,” he said, explaining why he made such a large donation. “What a difference here, as most of the expenses are paid by volunteers and sponsors and a 100 per cent goes to the cause. This is absolutely amazing,” said Mr. Lakhani.
There was overwhelming support from community members who pledged their wedding and anniversary gifts to the charity. Sam and Arti Patel donated a student home. They pledged a total of $125,000 to build it and also pledged $11,000, their 25th wedding anniversary gift, to the charity.
Mr. Patel said, “All my friends know that I demand value for every dollar I spend. Well, with Aim for Seva, I feel I am getting the biggest bang for my buck as 100 per cent of the donations are used for the charity.”
Inder Sharma committed $10,000 to the endowment fund, while the children of Fern Hill School, Oakville, raised $2,500 during Diwali with the efforts of parent Dr. Priya Walia
The gala was attended by 650 people, with every person attending sponsoring a child for $500. About 585 children were sponsored this year as $325,000 was raised in child sponsorships alone.
This was AIM’s 10th anniversary in Canada. Dr. Terry Papneja , President of AIM for Seva Canada said, “The support we have received this year is a testimony to the credibility of the organization. It’s a befitting tribute to the 10th anniversary milestone we have reached.”
The AIM for Seva model for educating children is based on building student homes or hostels close to existing schools. Children are offered economic and social support at these homes, which keeps them in school.
AIM has gained increasing popularity among South Asian donors as their favourite charity, due the strength of the cause it supports and its zero-administrative-costs model.