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Glitzy Mumbai Fundraisers

May 6, 2011

Billionaire Vikas Oberoi at Room to Read fundraiser

The Wall Street Journal reports on a new trend for high-powered, glitzy charity fundraisers and auctions across India.  They describe a recent Mumbai auction and fundraiser for Room to Read that raised $1.5 million for charity (gross or net, I wonder?).

Two interesting highlights:  First, the auction for a custom-made pair of Ferragamo shoes plus trip to Italy garnered far more excitement than Room to Read’s own literacy programs.  Second, almost all of Room to Read’s India program funding used to come from Singapore, Hong Kong, and London until aggressive fundraising efforts like these were made in India.

I’m happy to see more wealthy Indians getting interested in giving and Room to Read is certainly a good cause.  But, I’m not so excited to see the ridiculous wealth on display at a charity event and I wonder about how much these kinds of events cost and actually bring in the door for charitable causes at the end of the day.  We’ve been doing such extravagant fundraisers in North America forever, so I guess I shouldn’t really criticize if Indians want a piece of the action too…

(H/T to Rashi  and Azad for sending this link our way!)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2011 8:07 pm

    Thanks for posting Archana. I think it’s great that this event took place, even with all of its glitz (and the surrounding cost). I think folks often need a community to feel inspired to give and fundraising events do that. Of course, one could argue that the money spent on the event could have been better spent, but without the event I don’t think Room to Read would have raised nearly as much money.

  2. May 13, 2011 7:00 pm

    I agree that these glitzy events sometimes seem so at odds with the problems of poverty and rights violations we are trying to solve that ultimately, they seem almost ironic and over-the-top. And perhaps even hypocritical.

    However, if it’s a way to concretely raise money that ultimately goes to the poor – I say why not. If it ends up costing a lot and not bringing in much, however, I’d say the organization Room to Read should rethink things.

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