On 27 April, 150 people gathered at the Trident, Bandra Kurla for the second annual AWC Bourbon Street Bash. It was a glamorous evening of dinner, dancing, and doing good for local charities. The charity gala raised money to benefit all AWC charities, but most funds went to the Foundation for Mother and Child Health, an organization that helps fight malnutrition among women and children in the Dhobi Ghat and Dharavi slums of Mumbai.
Many of you attended the event; many more have read Katrina Markel’s account on Lipstick and Politics. But, attendees saw only the result of weeks of planning and hard work. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a small army to host a fundraising gala that benefits children. It started when the AWC board decided to host the gala again this year. When Jamie asked if we thought we could do it in six weeks, we all naively agreed that of course we could. It was just a party after all. Little did we know how consumed our lives would become over the next two months as we put everything in place.
Debra spent hours meeting with potential sponsors and securing funds. We were able to add many new sponsors this year, and we are so grateful for the level of support and outreach. Negotiating the complex process of securing the donations from large corporations was not always easy, but Debra worked with our sponsors‘ teams and Dottie at FMCH to make sure everything worked out. We raised 8 lakhs from sponsorships alone.
Jamie was the creative force behind the event and ensured that the event had an authentic New Orleans look and feel. She took many trips to Crawford market to secure the materials such as tablecloths and ribbon used to swag the event space. She opened the festivities and made sure everyone had a great time.
Liz helped secure sponsors like Deutsche Bank for the event as well, but her primary focus was the auction. She traveled up and down the length of the Western expressway many times to collect auction items. She also wrote descriptions of all the items and helped ensure all monies were collected from auction winners. Moreover, her wonderful husband, Warren, agreed to MC the live auction and talked many people into donating to this great cause.
Meenakshi organized a wonderful art exhibit curated by Rukshaan Art for the prefunction area. The art added a wonderful Indian feel to the event, and was very elegant. The art sold that night and in the subsequent days netted Rs. 75,000 for AWC charities.
Nanda and Alifia were the driving forces behind obtaining items for gift bags for attendees. Everything was wrapped in a wonderful Steve Madden bag, courtesy of Reliance brands.
Marisa and I provided support in any way we could. Whether shopping at Crawford Market, organizing the program book, decorating the day of the event, or finalizing the seating arrangements.
But the true unsung heroes of the event were the staff members at the Trident, Bandra Kurla. They did a fantastic job not only meeting every need we had but also anticipating ones that we did not even know we had.
Anand, Jude, and Aditya were with us every step of the way. They helped us throughout the planning stages, and Aditya also helped us secure the liquor and entertainment licenses for the evening. He is now known as Mr. Aditya of the American Women’s Club, and we are grateful for his assistance.
Chef Rohit helped us plan the menu and added some Indian touches to the Cajun fare. Etouffée can be hard to pull off in a country where the proper ingredients must be imported, but the menu selection was a crowd favorite.
Utpala, the wonderful floral designer at the hotel, directed her team to assemble the centerpieces that decorated each table. They were elegant and festive.
Sijo helped Marisa lift the sponsorship board into place at least a dozen times until she got the swag just right.
Countless others helped set up, decorate, and arrange our stay, and we are grateful to each and every one of them for their hard work on behalf of AWC charities.
And, that is the rest of the story.