A wonderful amalgamation of multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, was seen at the 26th annual Fundraiser dinner of Metropolitan Asian Family Services, a front ranking and burgeoning social organization, which has changed the landscape of social services.
The event was held on September 29, 2018 at Ashyana Banquets, Downers Grove IL. The celebration started with the traditional lighting of the lamp performed by Swami Mukundananda of Bharat Sevashram Sangha, Aurora IL. Prominent dignitaries in attendance were IDOA Director Jean Bohnhoff, Consul of India(Head of Chancery) Mr. D.B. Bhati, Mayor of Downers Grove Martin Tully and his spouse Sharon Tully, Schaumburg Village Trustee Nimish Jani, Judge Linda Davenport, Dr. Vijay Prabhakar - Chairperson of Minority Ethnic Task Force, Executive Director CLESE Marta Pereyra, Chairman for Indian Community Outreach Krishna Bansal, FIA Founder President Sunil Shah, Air India Senior Sales Assistant Sampath Jayasekar, Dr. Zafeer Ahmed, President of AMUAA of Greater Chicago, Mr Anis Khan and other Board members of AMU of Greater Chicago, Vasavi Chakka Naperville Indian community outreach, Board of Directors, Raees Yawar, Streamwood Park District VP and other community leaders and business supporters including seniors and their families. A message from Governor Bruce Rauner commending MAFS for their untiring services and offering his best wishes for an enjoyable and memorable fundraiser was read by Nimish Jani, by Schaumburg Village Trustee. Indian Consul D.B.Bhati congratulated the MAFS team for its exemplary service to the community, touching each and every aspect of human life for 26 long years and said he wishes MAFS will continue to do so for many more years in future. Keynote speaker Director of IDOA, Jean Bohnhoff thanked everyone for coming out to celebrate 26 years of MAFS. She said Illinois Department on Aging depends on agencies like MAFS to keep the elderly population where they want to be - at home safe and secure. She also said that MAFS is a successful advocate on behalf of the elderly and is at the forefront of care, providing so much more than just the services to ensure their needs are met on a daily basis and compared MAFS to a one stop shop. She ended her address by thanking everyone once again for coming out to support this event. Mrs. Santosh Kumar MAFS Executive Director, often described as Mother Teresa, detailing the accomplishments of MAFS in her welcome address! She pointed out that MAFS is serving 191 villages in 11 counties through 12 locations. She spoke about the importance of fundraising and the importance of community partnership to fill the gaps in government funding to serve their loved ones. She spoke about the importance of collaboration of different sister organizations with MAFS to ease its existence as it cannot stand alone. A Non-profit organization like MAFS is on the community, by the community and for the community! Therefore, community partnership is essential for its existence. She also encouraged the community leaders to make MAFS a shareholder in their WILL by contributing 1 to 5%, to leave a legacy in the memory of their loves ones. She also encouraged the future leaders to connect in the growth of MAFS who is federally recognized, and a state licensed organization, to help our community. She thanked staff, community leader, volunteers and board of directors especially Dr. Firdaus Jafri who is the pillar of the organization but could not be present due to unavoidable circumstance. Awards were bestowed upon deserving candidates who helped in the growth of the mission of MAFS. The Pramod Kumar Philanthropy Award was accepted on behalf of Congressman Danny K. Davis by his Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force, The Community Service Award was presented to Trustee Nimish Jani and The Partnership Award was presented to Joe Eichman of Healthcare Solutions. Staff Awards were presented to the following: Pillar of MAFS Dahyabhai Patel, Coordinator of the Year Urvashi Bhatt, Employee of the Year Himali Bharucha, Volunteer of the Year Harish Mahajan, Outreach award Jasbir Mann and Cook of the Year Maya Patel. A surprise honor was bestowed upon Mrs. Santosh Kumar by His Excellency, Dr. Clyde Rivers, The Ambassador of the Republic of Burundi, Africa. He said as an ambassador of the Golden Rule and a representative to the United Nations for interfaith and peace building initiative, they find only the best in the world and that Mrs. Santosh Kumar is one such individual who is not a researcher but a searcher who brings new information to the world. He informed that Dr. Vijay Prabhakar had nominated Mrs. Kumar for an Honorary Doctorate. Dr. Clyde Rivers also announced that he will present the honorary doctorate to Mrs. Kumar on October 27. The entertainment began with Ganesh Vandana by Soorya Dance School from Northbrook, followed by another dance by them called the Shiva dance. The traditional Bosnian Dance by the Bosnia and Herzegovina Club of Chicago got the audience cheering but Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl really brought the house down with their Mexican Dance. A mesmerizing and exclusive fashion show was showcased by Razz Boutique, who put on a splendid range of clothes from saris, evening gowns along with their fabulous bridal collection, which was a feast to the eyes! A melodious, soulful and rhythmic musical performance by Amrita Saha Karmakar and Parth Patel supported by Harish Shukla on sound system, Shahzad on keyboard, Kaifi Khan on Synthesizer and Gopal on Tabla, enthralled the audience. The Vote of Thanks was given by MAFS Board Secretary Mr. Rakesh Asthana. Emcee Shweta Singh Professor of Sociology at Loyola college supported by Neelam Desai Naperville Manager successfully managed the entire program and were able to generate a good amount of donation through their entertaining and lively appeals.