On Thursday night, people from all over Southern India rallied to bring out the vote for Isha Foundation’s race to win the Chase Community Giving charity contest hosted on line by Facebook. The Isha Foundation, an international non-profit humanitarian social organization with U.S. headquarters in middle-Tennessee and international headquarters in Tamil Nadu, India worked tirelessly to win the coveted $1mm first place prize.
Isha's expected winnings were earmarked to build a school in rural India and a health care clinic in Tennessee. Placing second by a mere 1200 votes has won them $100,000 towards their objective. “Even though we are disappointed to lose the $1 million which would have made a huge difference for thousands of disadvantaged children in India and patients in Tennessee,” Isha Foundation President, Dr. Kalpana Rajdev began, “we are excited to win $100,000 which will still help us do so much.”
“we are excited to win $100,000 which will still help us do so much.”
While the U.S. offices worked round the clock, volunteers in India, mobilized tens of thousands of supporters to vote at computer stations in more than 60 schools and universities. Homemakers, laborers, villagers and students came together to vote to support Isha constructing a new school for the rural children in their area. Even through the night, voting kiosks were opened in remote areas where people, who never had the opportunity to use a computer, were able to vote online to break their cycle of poverty for the next generation. The proposed school construction project, part of Isha’s “Big Idea” grant submitted to Chase at the outset of the competition, would be the seventh school in Isha’s budding, Isha Vidhya rural education program.
Mobilizing the masses for social and environmental causes is nothing new to Isha. Established in India over 25 years ago, the Foundation is well known and respected for its compassion and care of the Southern Indian people and stewardship of the local environment. Isha has won the hearts of the people through good work, which has created a deeply loyal following. For example, in 2006, more than 250,000 people came together to participate in the organization’s Project GreenHands tree planting marathon. In just 3 days, 856,000 trees were planted which is noted in the Guinness Book of World Records. Not stopping there, to date Project GreenHands, a vibrant part of India’s reforestation, has planted over 7.5 mm trees.
Through Isha Care, free health care has been provided to over 1.5 million rural patients in India and the U.S. Under the Action for Rural Rejuvenation program they have adopted 4 tsunami torn villages and established economic recovery programs through developing native crafts and more. In addition, Isha Vidhya brings quality computer-based, English-speaking education to the under served rural children.
Isha’s human service projects have gained worldwide recognition. This is reflected in the Foundation's special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and speaking engagements at such prestigious conferences as the World Economic Forum at Davos, TED India and the World Council of Religious Leaders. Together with its broad and active volunteer base, Isha Foundation’s activities serve as a thriving model for human empowerment and community revitalization throughout the world.
Honored to have participated in this contest Rajdev stated “We would like to commend all the organizations in the competition for the work that they are doing to help so many in need and to congratulate them for a spirited competition. We would like to thank Chase and Facebook for this opportunity and all of our supporters for a truly impassioned turnout, which has touched us so deeply.”