“Thank you for helping [Keisha (eighth-grade student)] with school supplies!” These were the words of a grateful homeless, single mother with lupus, at Hindu Charities for America’s (HC4A) April 29, 2018, Bollywood Meets Borscht Belt event, one of the many economically disadvantaged people benefiting from the funds raised at the event. During the afternoon of dance, music, food, and fun, $26,000 was raised for school supplies for homeless students in the Austin area. Jan Cohen, a first-time attendee, was enthusiastic about the multicultural nature of the event and being able to “introduce my kids to new foods and new dances.” Dr. Royce Avery, the keynote speaker, noted that “though I work with many charities, [HC4A] stands out in making a difference. The work they do is very important.”
HC4A raises funds to provide school supplies to homeless students and vocational education scholarships to needy students. This year, HC4A awarded $78,000 in scholarships for more than 130 students and raised $26,000 for school supplies to help more than 1,400 students. Hindu Charities for America (HC4A) and its founder, Harish Kotecha, were recently recognized for this outstanding charitable work, receiving awards from both the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC) and the White House.
HC4A received the GAACC’s “Outstanding Community Organization Award” on May 18, 2018, at GAACC’s annual awards gala, Ovation. The Ovation gala brings together over 700 businesses, leaders, individuals, organizations, and civil servants in an annual celebration of Asian Pacific American heritage and accomplishments and honors the most outstanding businesses, organizations, and individuals in the Austin area. GAACC president and CEO Mariana Bhargava presented the award to HC4A’s founder and president, Harish Kotecha. Also recognized at the VIP table was HC4A’s vice-president, Dinesh Vakharia. A video recounting the achievements and service by HC4A was played to the audience. Texas State Senator Kirk Watson sent a letter commending HC4A, calling the award “a tribute to the hard work and dedication” by HC4A, and applauding HC4A as “truly an asset to our community.” The award recognizes the efforts of hundreds of volunteers, over 1,000 donors, over 100 business sponsors, and others that support HC4A in its mission to bridge income disparity through education with the philosophy of “Live Here, Give Here!”
On the same day, HC4A’s founder received the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Corporation of National and Community Service and the Office of the President of the United States. The award honored Kotecha for his “lifelong commitment to building a stronger nation through volunteer service.” HC4A has also recently expanded into California, receiving its certificate of qualification from the California Secretary of State on May 7, 2018. HC4A plans to work with the Los Angeles Community College District to provide fifteen scholarships to select economically disadvantaged students.