One of GTA’s most anticipated spring charity event, The Citizens Foundation (TCF) Canada’s Annual Gala & Fundraiser, returned to the city on Friday, April 10th at the Mississauga Convention Centre.!
The signature event that kicks off TCF Canada’s fundraising activities for the year was definitely one for their history books! Attracting support from thirty six corporate sponsors and yielding record pledges and donations, the evening marked a momentous stride for the organization not only as TCF Canada’s most successful gala to date, but also the commemoration of 10 years of striving to transform lives of the thousands of deserving children of Pakistan, who have been denied their fundamental right of quality education.
The celebratory evening was the highlight of the social season, welcoming 1000 guests made up of GTA’s leading entrepreneurs, successful professionals, philanthropic leaders and several dignitaries, who were treated to an elegant evening of heartwarming presentations, a gourmet spread of South Asian cuisine, live auction, entertainment and an enthralling performance of the Sounds of Persia and Whirling Dervish by Rumi Mystic Canada. But the evening, above anything else, highlighted the plight of the true beneficiaries of TCF Canada’s fundraising endeavours – the children living in the most impoverished communities in Pakistan’s urban slums and rural areas.
Following the opening remarks, renowned anchor and host of CBC Now Suhana Meharchand, stepped up to preside as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. A two time Gemini Award nominee and recipient of the Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary International and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her community services, she exuded charisma and kept the guests engaged and entertained throughout the evening. “She was instrumental in making the gala a success for us this year”, said the TCF Canada gala chair, through her constant reminders for the urgent need of fulfilling the vision of the cause; even as she introduced the beautifully documented video “Rabbi Zidni Ilma” (by Danish Mumtaz of The Goldmine Films). The documentary itself was a testament of the impact that TCF continues to make on the socio-economic landscape of Pakistan through education.
The highlight of the evening was an inspiring address by Mushtaq Chhapra, Chairman and Co-Founder of TCF Pakistan, who expounded upon the theme of the gala “Dreams to Reality”. In 1995 when TCF Pakistan was founded, the dream of reaching a thousand schools seemed too optimistic to some. Today, TCF is one of Pakistan’s leading organizations in the education sector, running 1,060 schools successfully with an enrolment of 165,000 children with a close to 50% female gender balance. TCF also believes in empowering women and boasts of an all-female faculty of more than 8,900. “It was our DREAM to see the children of the most poverty stricken areas in Pakistan get a second chance in life, a chance to realize their potential, prove their mettle and empower their communities. We knew education was the only REALITY of this dream which could promise a better quality of life and change the destiny of these children”, said Mr, Chhapra.
The vision of TCF is simple: to remove barriers of class and privilege and to make the citizens of Pakistan agents of positive change. But the execution is complex, since, just like any other charity it too relies on identifying strong global partners to educate the world about the hardships that the people of these education-deprived and neglected communities face in Pakistan. Mr. Chhapra reminded guests that, though TCF and its international chapters have made a measurable difference over the years in taking TCF’s mission forward, the challenges that it sought to address at the time of its founding have only become more pressing today. He urged guests to donate generously and regularly to TCF and increase their contributions to build more new schools.
In his closing remarks, TCF Canada’s President Aziz Rakla too made an impassioned plea for even greater efforts for TCF’s vision to be fulfilled, but thanked all sponsors, supporters, guests and volunteers, gracious for their passion to see TCF accomplish its mission and for truly making the event memorable and a monumental success. He suggested the audience increase their donations towards children’s education, since “it is a barrier against poverty, the road to human progress and a building block to any nation’s development.”
Before the night opened for dancing to the beat of DJ Lune’s mixes, guests turned their attention to a live auction courtesy of Black Tie Travels and HollisWealth. Some of the most popular live auction items that fetched high donations for TCF Canada included, premium tickets for the upcoming U2 concerts in Vancouver and Toronto with hotel stays, cruise to Bahamas, trips to Turkey, Abu Dhabi and Mecca with hotel stays at the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and air travel provided by Etihad Airways.
TCF is registered in Pakistan as a Company Limited under the Companies Ordinance. It is among the top scoring organizations certified by the Pakistan Centre of Philanthropy and has received high non-profit organization governance ratings of GR8+ by JCR-VIS Credit Rating Co. Ltd.
TCF Canada is a registered charity recognized by Canada’s Revenue Agency. All donations to TCF Canada are eligible for Canadian tax credit. Both TCF Pakistan and Canada are independently audited by KPMG
For more details on how to contribute and become part of TCF, please visit: https://www.tcfcanada.org/donate/