Indian diaspora group raises $600,000 for COVID-19 relief; money raised to be given to Goonj, US non-profit group

Press Trust of India April 10, 2020 09:35:33 IST
Indian diaspora group raises $600,000 for COVID-19 relief; money raised to be given to Goonj, US non-profit group

Washington: A high-profile diaspora group of some of the top Indian American corporate executives and leaders have raised $600,000 to fight hunger and provide direct relief to vulnerable populations affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and India.

ChaloGive for COVID-19 launched by Indiaspora has raised $500,000 from its leadership network. Indiaspora also announced another $100,000 as matching donation for its online giving campaign starting Friday.

“This pandemic has exposed an already existing hunger crisis,” said Indra Nooyi, former Pepsico CEO. “Together, as a society we must rise to this moment and address this great need knowing our investment in people, in families, and in communities will reap untold benefits not only now but into the future,” she said.

Money raised by Indiaspora will meet demand on the ground through beneficiary non-profits Feeding America in the US and Goonj in India, a media release said.

One of the most pressing and urgent challenges facing both the US and India right now is hunger, which is a deciding factor in Indiaspora's new ChaloGive campaign, it added.

Indian diaspora group raises 600000 for COVID19 relief money raised to be given to Goonj US nonprofit group

Representational image. Reuters

"We are facing an unprecedented situation due to Covid-19,” said Anand Rajaraman, a Silicon Valley-based serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist, and an Indiaspora Founders Circle member who, along with his wife Kaushie Adiseshan, is a lead donor for the campaign.

"The drastic measures necessary to control this pandemic have created special challenges for vulnerable sections of society across the world, particularly in India and the US. Indiaspora has the opportunity to unite the diaspora to quickly and decisively help in the midst of this crisis," Rajaraman said.

"While all eyes are on frontline hospitals, millions in America and across the globe suffer silently from a growing and equally alarming epidemic of food insecurity as the COVID-19 crisis threatens to push already struggling families deeper into poverty,” said Sejal Hathi, an Indiaspora Board member and physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Now more than ever is the time for communities like Indiaspora's to come together and rise to this call to feed people in need,” Hathi said.

Indiaspora said ChaloGive for COVID-19 provides an opportunity for the Indian diaspora to make a collective impact toward helping marginalized communities which have been disproportionately affected by the ongoing crisis.

"This crisis has made it even harder for those who were already struggling to survive," said Kris Gopalakrishnan, chairman of Axilor Ventures and a founder of IT services company Infosys, who is also an Indiaspora Founders Circle member. "Given the increasingly global world we are living in, India and its diaspora are in a unique and powerful position to help each other,” he added.

It is essential that individuals, especially vulnerable populations who are most at risk, maintain access to food during this public health emergency,” said former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

“I proudly support this campaign and trust its impact will go far to bring relief to those struggling with food insecurity,” he said.

In India, philanthropists Rohini and Nandan Nilekani and Bollywood actress Nandita Das also have voiced their support for the campaign.

“Goonj is just the kind of organisation we can rely on in this double crisis of health and livelihoods,” said Rohini Nilekani.

“It has decades of experience serving the most vulnerable while striving to preserve the dignity of every stakeholder, and it has time and again demonstrated a scaled up, rapid response in the aftermath of disasters. We have been supporters of Goonj for many years. They care, and they deliver,” she said.

“Despite our extensive experience of working in disasters, the scale and still unfolding nature of this long-tailed disaster calls for massive resource mobilization for short-, mid- and long-term work,” said Anshu Gupta, Goonj founder and a Magsaysay Awardee.

“We are delighted to partner with Indiaspora on this campaign as an opportunity to engage the Indian-American community and our well wishers from across the world in supporting their fellow citizens in this difficult hour," he said.

“The nation and our food bank network are facing challenges unlike anything we've seen in our organization's history,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America.

“We are truly grateful to Indiaspora for its support of Feeding America through the ChaloGive for COVID-19 campaign. During this time of uncertainty, the generous donations derived from this effort will help bring much-needed food and hope to countless families facing hunger across the US,” he said.

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