The last days of 2016 are quickly slipping away, and MSD is grateful to be able to look back on such a successful year working with the Desai Foundation. The Desai Foundation, since its establishment in 1997, has been committed to enriching lives through health, community development, and education in the US and India. Through various forms of sustainable programming, they have been able to empower hundreds of thousands of women and children to dream beyond their circumstances. As the agency of record for the Desai Foundation, we have been crucial to developing their visual identity and bringing their events to life since 2014. The summaries below offer just a snapshot of the progress and often-unquantifiable compassion that this these events have fostered.

The Lotus Festival

The Desai Foundation’s first big event of the year was its inaugural Lotus Festival in Stow, Massachusetts. Hosted at the Collings Foundation museum, the Lotus Festival immersed over 250 guests, entrepreneurs, community leaders and philanthropists in breathtaking pieces of aviation and transportation history. Attendees were able to surround themselves with global artifacts, from a Wright Brothers’ plane to B52 bombers, while simultaneously contributing to global, modern-day issues.  

The venue’s striking ambiance was only surpassed by the words of featured speaker Miki Agrawal, the CEO of THINX and one of Forbes’ Top 20 Millenials on a Mission. Agrawal silenced the room as she described the brutal realities faced by millions upon millions of women without access to proper menstrual care. THINX is revolutionizing the way that women can address their period, and the consequences of its stigma, through period-proof underwear.

Perhaps the highlight of the night came at Agrawal’s announcement that THINX will be partnering with the Desai Foundation moving forward. Together, they will take on a shared mission of elevating the health and empowerment of women and girls around the world.  

Diwali on the Hudson

Later in October, the Desai Foundation threw its third annual Diwali on the Hudson in honor of the Hindu festival of lights. Considering how quickly tickets sold out, the Sunset Terrace at Chelsea Pier was packed with bright Indian style and extraordinary company. 100% of the ticket sale proceeds went to the Desai Foundation in support of their many community programs.

Throughout the night, the 300 guests enjoyed sweeping water-front views and the catering of Desi Galli, a contemporary Indian restaurant previously featured by those like Bon Appetit, the New York Times, and Michelin. Beats by DJ Rekha and DJ Suhel provided the perfect soundtrack for a night of festive celebration and charitable giving. Other attractions included a photo booth, an open bar, and a stunning Rangoli art exhibition by Sejal Janani.

The publicity around Diwali on the Hudson this year was extensive. 8 different publications, including YRB Magazine, Luxe Beat Magazine, and Brown Girl Magazine, highlighted and reviewed the event’s success. Their combined press culminated in a combined potential reach of 27 million pairs of eyeballs!

Falu’s Bollywood Orchestra

Just two weeks after Diwali, the Desai Foundation hosted Falu’s Bollywood Orchestra’s  first ever Boston show. Falu is recognized internationally for her unique ability to blend a modern, inventive style with traditional Indian music. Accompanied on stage by a band of remarkable musicians, she filled every corner of the Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub with songs both electric and ethereal. Not one of the 200 attendees could keep off of their feet, and with all ticket proceeds benefiting the Desai Foundation, everyone had a reason to dance.

As we transition into 2017, MSD cannot wait to continue helping the Desai Foundation to tell their story, expand their outreach, and unlock their inner dharma - one idea at a time.

- Elise Gout, MSD Intern