The Politics of Philanthropy
By Anu Datta
Story originally published via Linkedin
In a time when partisan politics and the current climate are at their most volatile, last Saturday was a welcome relief. When I was approached by the cofounder of American Diversity Group, a Maryland based nonprofit, to support their cause and host the annual gala, I jumped at the chance to be part of such a worthy cause! Their mission, improving health care access to underserved individuals, is not just lip service. This group has grown from a simple clinic with minimal staffing to one that provides a plethora of necessary services, such as EKG, labwork, stress tests, dental services, etc. at minimal cost to those without health insurance. I have witnessed the effect it had on the community, but honestly did not know what to expect that night. After working with so many members of the DNC on recent elections, I was hesitant about being in a room full of conservative republicans.
What followed was a pleasant surprise, as guests from Asia, Africa, Australia, and natives right here in Baltimore came together to break bread and celebrate. On this night, we put aside party politics and joined hands to support cofounders Mayur Mody and Jay Parekh as they recognized key contributors. Among the highlights was a wonderful keynote by Dr. Rahul Gupta from March of Dimes, and a lifetime achievement award received by neonatologist Dr. Siva Subramanian for his countless contributions to the community. Representatives from the Governor's Office of Community Affairs were on site to present awards and citations, and we ended the ceremony by presenting the group with a revolutionary new healthcare resolution that was passed this year, and a flag flown over the capital to commemorate ADG. Classic entertainment and dancing followed, generously donated by Dick Kauffman, a local gem and distinguished singer.
The best part of the day? The support and recognition from a group whose identity was so different from mine. As a veteran and single mother, my career was far from the traditional Indian immigrant who pursues medicine, engineering or law. On this momentous occasion, our country of origin, gender, background, didn't matter: we were focused on the human experience, the value of life and the idea of healthcare as a human right. I am grateful for the wonderful opportunity to be a part of this special occasion, and look forward to advocating and speaking at many more events!