New York: More than 300 invitees opened their hearts and wallets as the Sankara Eye Foundation (SEF) raised $1.3 million at its glittering “Be the Light Gala” at Cipriani 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan on September 24.
Donations kicked in after Gala Co-Chair Mohan Wanchoo, techpreneur, and philanthropist, announced a donation of $500,000. Speaker after speaker extolled Sankara’s ambitious 2030 vision of one million free eye surgeries annually by the year 2030 for the needy in India, as the contributions poured in.
To achieve the ambitious goal, SEF plans to scale up the operations by almost doubling the existing eleven Sankara Eye Hospitals and eleven partner hospitals. SEF performed 230,000 eye surgeries in 2019 before the pandemic struck.
“Be the Light Gala” was the largest fundraiser to date for Sankara, which aspires to be a Unicorn Social Enterprise as it is already among the largest community eye care providers in India.
“Sankara’s 2030 vision is to make it sustainable and not remain dependent on donations. That will be achieved by making 20 percent of paying patients fund 80 percent of the free surgeries,” said, Padma Shri Dr. R.V. Ramani, Founder and Managing Trustee of SEF in his video address from Coimbatore, India.
BV Jagadeesh, Managing Partner, KAAJ Ventures, and Warren Foust, Worldwide President, Johnson & Johnson Vision – Surgical Vision were the keynote speakers at the event.
Murali Krishnamurthy, Founder and Executive Chairman of SEF USA, emphasized the importance of the mission as one-third of the blind of the world are in India, and blindness is curable. “SEF plan to eradicate blindness includes going to the villages and helping those in need,” he said.
Dancers of Aatma Performing Arts, and Singing Sensation Jeffrey Iqbal entertained the audience with their scintillating performances.