INTERFAITH MINISTRIES’ “FOR ALL HUMANITY LUNCHEON” SETS FUNDRAISING RECORD

Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s (IM) 2016 “For All Humanity Luncheon” raised a record amount for IM’s valuable programming, including refugee resettlement.Close to 400 guests attended the Nov. 17 luncheon, which raised more than $220,000, nearly a 70 percent increase from last year’s luncheon.

“It is gratifying to see so much support from the community,” said Martin B. Cominsky, IM’s President and CEO. “Not only did we see more people attend the event than ever before, we saw them donating to our work at an unprecedented level of generosity.”

For this year’s luncheon, IM honored community leaders Farid and Asha Virani. Farid Virani is the founder and CEO of Prime Communications, the largest privately held AT&T Authorized Retail Chain in the United States. Asha Virani is an internal medicine physician who is active in a number of causes dedicated to improving children’s health and education. Together, they both actively give back to the community.

“The community coming together in support of the work of IM by being united in service, open heartedness, and generosity is a testimony and reaffirmation of the goodness and compassion that is at the heart and ethos of our city,” said Asha Virani. “May we continue to lead by example by sharing our light with others.”

Event chairs were: Mr. and Mrs. Nick Kermally; Mr. and Mrs. Richard Vaughan; Mr. and Mrs. Akbar Mohamed; Mr. and Mrs. Beau Pollock; and Mr. and Mrs. Manolo Sanchez. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett provided the keynote address and Channel 13’s Miya Shay served as emcee.

This year, IM introduced a marketplace of beautiful gifts for purchase, with fabulous finds from Ten Thousand Villages, Community Cloth, Elaine Turner, Kendra Scott and Popinjay.

Proceeds from the luncheon help IM serve more than 2,500 refugees each year fleeing persecution and violence in their homelands. More than 90 percent of these refugees are self-sufficient members of the Houston community within six months of arrival.

“In these times of uncertainty, it’s heartening to know that the community has citizens like the Viranis, and others, who believe in the importance of welcoming new Americans in such a warm and giving way,” Cominsky said. “It says much about the welcoming spirit that makes Houston an example for other cities to aspire.”

 

INTERFAITH MINISTRIES FOR GREATER HOUSTON REFUGEE SERVICES LUNCHEON SETS FUNDRAISING RECORD

Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s (IM) 2015 “For All Humanity Luncheon” raised a record amount for IM’s Refugee Services program.
More than 340 guests attended the Nov. 19 luncheon, which raised $130,000 for refugee needs including household furniture, food, clothing and resettlement services such as English Language Instruction and job placement.

“To receive this much support is overwhelming, particularly with all that is currently happening regarding refugees from the Middle East,” said Martin B. Cominsky, IM’s President and CEO. “We are so grateful for the generosity found in Houston.”

So far this year, IM has resettled more than 1,400 refugees from countries all over the world fleeing religious, social, or economic persecution. Most of IM’s refugees are self-sufficient members of the community within six months of resettlement.

At this year’s luncheon, IM honored Nihala Zakaria with the 2015 Refugee Services Humanitarian Award. Zakaria who, along with husband IM Board Vice-Chair Shaukat Zakaria, is active in the refugee community. She helped launch IM’s Eid for Refugees program, which delivers gifts to refugees during the Islamic holiday.

“My personal experience with Interfaith Ministries has been a powerful one,” Zakaria told luncheon guests. “When you work with the refugees, you see their true perseverance and true desire to succeed. Many leave professional careers, to come to a land where they don’t speak the language, where they don’t know the customs. But they take that leap of faith and come here ready to work hard and rebuild their lives.”

Afghan refugee Zeba Arif-Mohammad told her own harrowing story of escape from abuse and poverty. After two years of screenings and background checks she arrived in Houston in June 2014 and, with IM’s help, started a new life for her and her two daughters.

In addition to numerous IM board members, others at the event included luncheon chairs Mandy Kao and Habiba Dhanani, Channel 13 Anchor Gina Gaston, who served as master of ceremonies and Chau Nguyen who welcomed refugee families at the luncheon. IM Board Chair, the Honorable Charles C. Foster, served as Honorary Luncheon Chair.
IM also recognized its major sponsors of the event including TFI Resources, Canon, Channel 13 and Amna and Nadim Jafri.

Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s 2014 For All Humanity Luncheon a Great Success

Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston held its fourth annual For All Humanity Luncheon on Jan. 29 at the Junior League of Houston. The event raised more than $125,000 for Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s refugee services department.

The luncheon honored Eduardo Aguirre Jr., a Cuban refugee and former U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, with the Refugee Services Humanitarian Award. The award recognizes community leaders who have shown remarkable support for humanitarian work. The event was chaired by Manolo Sánchez with honorary chairs Alan Crain and the Honorable Charles Foster. BBVA Compass led the way as Presenting Sponsor of the event and Baker Hughes followed as the Platinum Sponsor.

“It’s an honor to be recognizing a fellow Houstonian and valued member of our board of directors, who has worked tirelessly assisting people across the globe,” said BBVA Compass Chairman and CEO Manolo Sánchez. “Eduardo’s personal story and his lifelong accomplishments speak to both his character and his courage.”

Additionally, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Anderson presented the 2013 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award to Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s President and CEO, Elliot Gershenson. The award is presented each year to individuals and organizations who have made a positive impact through their achievements in service to the community.

Three hundred people attended the luncheon which celebrated the work the organization does to welcome refugees from around the world. The event started with a welcome from Master of Ceremonies Lisa Malosky. Guests heard a heartwarming story of suffering and triumph from Asinja Badeel, a refugee from Iraq while enjoying a meal of Hallal chicken, risotto and vegetables.

The event benefited Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s refugee services department, which resettles refugees from around the world who are fleeing political, social and religious persecution. Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston brings people of diverse faith traditions together for dialogue, collaboration and service through four main services to the Houston area: Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston, Refugee Services, Disaster Preparedness and Interfaith Dialogue.

Other guests of the luncheon included Diana Untermeyer, Susan Boggio, Bill Helms, Arthur Schechter, Sidney Faust, Barbara Van Postman, Maha Khan, Lois Stark, John Reed, Kim Padgett, Anne Whitlock, Shazma Matin, Gordon Quan and Kenny Friedman.

 

Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s 2012 For All Humanity Luncheon a Great Success

Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston held its third annual For All Humanity Luncheon on Nov. 29 at the Junior League of Houston. The event raised a record amount of $135,000 for Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s refugee services department.

The luncheon honored Alan Crain, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Baker Hughes Incorporated, with the Refugee Services Humanitarian Award. The award recognizes community leaders who have shown remarkable support for humanitarian work. Additionally, Reverend Linda Shelton, a Deacon with Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, was presented the Richard Steele Refugee Services Volunteer Award for her years of service helping refugees make Houston home.

The event was chaired by Lily and Charles Foster and Diana and Chase Untermeyer with honorary chairs Susan Boggio and Tehmina Masud. Baker Hughes Foundation led the way as Presenting Sponsor of the event and TFI Resources followed as the Platinum Sponsor.

More than 300 people attended the luncheon which celebrated the work the organization does to welcome refugees from around the world. The event started with a welcome from Master of Ceremonies Lily Jang of KHOU 11 News and an interfaith invocation from Reverend Jim Bankston, Rabbi Adrienne Scott and Anisul Haque. Indian music from Audio Telepathy played while guests enjoyed a meal of Halal chicken, risotto and vegetables. Guests also heard a heartwarming story of suffering and triumph from Anosha Azeemi, a refugee from Afghanistan.

The event benefited Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s refugee services department, which resettles refugees from around the world who are fleeing political, social and religious persecution. Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston brings people of diverse faith traditions together for dialogue, collaboration and service through four main services to the Houston area: Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston, Refugee Services, Disaster Preparedness and Interfaith Dialogue.

Other guests of the luncheon included Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Rosemarie Johnson, E.W. Bill Wright, Gordon Quan, Sidney Faust, Elsie Eckert, Joy Kennedy, Barbara Van Postman, Kenny Friedman, Dr. Kelli Cohen Fein and Martin Fein, and Cemalettin Aydin (Consul General of Turkey).

 

Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s 2011 For All Humanity Luncheon a Great Success

Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston held its second annual For All Humanity Luncheon on Nov. 29 at the Junior League of Houston. The event was chaired by Tehmina Masud and Sultana Mangali and honorary chairs Lily and Charles Foster. The event raised more than $80,000 for Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s refugee services department. Baker Hughes Foundation led the way as Presenting Sponsor of the event.

More than 250 people attended the luncheon which celebrated the work the organization does to welcome refugees from around the world. The luncheon highlights included traditional Iraqi music played by refugee Zubair Al Awadi and hearing a heartwarming story of suffering and triumph from Alban Shanini, a refugee from Kosovo. Len Cannon presided over the event as Master of Ceremonies.

The luncheon honored Susan and Dan Boggio with the Refugee Services Humanitarian Award. The award recognizes community leaders who have shown remarkable support for humanitarian work. Additionally, Richard Steele was presented the first Richard Steele Refugee Services Volunteer Award for his years of service to Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s refugee department.

The event benefited Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s refugee services department, which resettles refugees from around the world who are fleeing political, social and religious persecution. Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston brings people of diverse faith traditions together for dialogue, collaboration and service through four main services to the Houston area: Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston, Refugee Services, Disaster Preparedness and Interfaith Dialogue.

 

Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s First Annual For All Humanity Luncheon a Great Success

Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston held its first annual For All Humanity Luncheon on Nov. 15 at the Junior League of Houston. The luncheon was chaired by Alan R. Crain, who also served as the master of ceremonies. The inaugural event, which celebrated Interfaith Ministries’ work to resettle refugees, raised more than $100,000.

Approximately 300 people filled the ballroom at the Junior League of Houston. Guests entered the lobby and were entertained by an Iraqi refugee playing the Oud, a traditional instrument from his hometown of Baghdad. The luncheon honored immigration attorney Charles C. Foster and he accepted the For All Humanity award for his work in Houston and beyond. Guests heard from several refugees including Houston City Council member Al Hoang, originally from Vietnam and Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston case worker, Claudine Rutaganira, originally from Rwanda.

The event benefited Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s refugee service department. Every year, more than 500 legal refugees fleeing political and religious persecution are resettled by Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston. Through its services and support, the organization equips refugees with the tools they need to make a new life, find work, care for their families, and take part in the American dream.