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Meera Gandhi honored at Maestro Cares Foundation Gala 2015

Source: The Giving Back Foundation
February 17, 2015

CEO and Founder Meera Gandhi was honored at the Maestro Cares Foundation annual Gala held at Cipriani Wall Street. Maestro Cares was founded by Marc Anthony and Henry Cardenas.

Here is Mrs. Gandhi's speech given that evening:

Thank you very much for this honor tonight at this 2015 'Changing lives, Building dreams' gala. I salute the Maestro Cares foundation as I accept this award on behalf of The Giving Back Foundation. I am humbled to receive this in the fine company of two stellar individuals tonight - Chi Chi Rodriguez founder of the Chi Chi Rodriguez Foundation and Marcelo Claure, CEO of The Sprint Corporation. Congratulations!

I share this award with our supporters and our beneficiaries around the world and I am delighted that my beloved bother Rajiv Agarwal who is a senior partner in The Giving back Foundation India branch has flown in to be with us tonight. The St Micheals Giving Back project in India is a project that is very close to my heart. The school boards and educates 120 girls from ages 8 to 16. All their boarding, lodging and education needs are well taken care of. I remember year before last when the school classrooms and playground and gardens were being refurbished, my brother Rajiv was on the grounds every day working with the contractors to make sure every penny was wisely spent, sending me photos of the progress at every step. When I got to India in December the renovation which was a major success and looked even better in person! This is an example of how our whole family endeavours to be involved in our projects whenever and whenever possible.

The Giving back Foundation also supports several US based initiatives. The Eleanor Roosevelt girls leadership program upstate NY is supported by the foundation and gives out the Giving back foundation girls ledership award to 4 students at the end of each program every summer. The Woodstock film festival, also not far from here, in upstate NY has the Giving back award program - another example of our innovative approach to education and is directed to persons in the entertainment business who promote a positive message of social change and learning. Education is our mission and we seek to promote it through our several innovative projects through out the world.

In fact Education has been hugely instrumental in my success both in the US and outside, so I decided to start the Giving back foundation in 2010 which has rapidly grown in leaps and bounds. I am proud to say our three children are here tonight to support these awards - Kiran,Kanika and Kabir and they remain deeply involved in the work of the foundation and are always on hand to support it. My dear friend and mentor, amazing Hollywood actor and director Phylicia Rashad is here to support me tonight and three officers from the foundation Jeffrey Fass, Rebecca Stewart and Luis Plaza. Friends - Jaswant, Ramesh, Culin and Barb who support our foundation in many ways are here tonight and I want to acknowledge them.

Tonight I applaud Marc Anthony and Henry Cardenas for establishing the Maestro Cares foundation. I remember what Bill Clinton said in London only two years ago at a small charity luncheon in Mayfair, he said, 'As humans grow and become successful every person MUST be a philanthropic entity unto himself or herself, it is the only way our planet can truly move forward'. Marc Anthony and Henry Cardenas have taken this to a whole new level with their love and personal involvement. It is amazing what Maestro Cares Foundation has accomplished in just one year! In April 2014 they inaugurated their first project, an orphanage that is now home to over 50 boys in the Dominican Republic; the second project is currently under construction in Barranquilla Colombia; and three new projects are ready to launch in 2015 in Mexico, Peru and Puerto Rico.

The mission and vision of the Maestro Cares Foundation is focused in Latin America. I have identified an opportunity where The Giving back Foundation can work to assist the Maestro Cares foundation. In the next few months, Maestro cares foundation will break ground on its next project in Toluca Mexico which will be home to 70 girls. This project was pledged at last year's gala and is already come to fruition this year. These type of projects are well aligned with The Giving back Foundation's work. Maestro Cares is now looking at creating a similar girls home in Puerto Rico. I feel this is a terrific opportunity for us to work together. Today I would like to pledge the support of the Giving Back Foundation to this project in Puerto Rico in some form or other.

At this point, I would like to thank all of you here tonight who have made time to be here and to support this cause. Your being here is so special and this makes the difference in the world. God Bless you for this.

In closing I would like to share The Giving Back Foundation Motto, 'We are to the universe only as much as we give back to it' and ALL of you here tonight do the motto proud.

Thank you and goodnight.