In the News

  • 2017


    June 2017: GLAMOUR, This Nonprofit Is Fighting Period Stigma by Treating Pads Like Lipgloss

    June 2017: CSR Journal, “By Women, For Women”-Encourage Menstrual Hygiene In India

    May 2017: Lokvani, The Desai Foundation Celebrates 20 Years As An Organization At Annual Spring Garba In Boston

    March 2017: Global Citizen, 13 Inspiring Women Leading the Fight for Gender Equality

    March 2017: Miss Malini, Empower Women, Empower The World: How The Desai Foundation Is Elevating Lives In Rural Gujarat

    March 2017: India New England, Desai Foundation Participates in GlobalGiving Girl Fund Campaign to Grow Sanitary Napkins Program



    December 2016: Women & Wealth Magazine, The Desai Foundation: Empowering Communities to Dream Beyond

    November 2016: Luxe Beat Mag, Desai Foundation Celebrates Diwali on the Hudson

    November 2016: Daily Free Press, Bollywood singer Falu Teams Up with Charity for Health, Education, Culture

    November 2016:, International Singer Falu: From India to Boston

    October 2016: Stylehopping, STYLISH CELEBRATION OF DIWALI IN NEW YORK!

    October 2016: YRB Magazine, Event Recap: #DiwaliOnTheHudson 2016

    October 2016: Brown Girl Magazine, The Desai Diwali: Shining a Light on Lives that Matter

    October 2016:, 4 Diwali Events you Must Check out in New York City

    October 2016: India New England, Falu’s Bollywood Orchestra to Perform in Cambridge on Nov. 3 to Benefit Desai Foundation

    October 2016: India New England, Desai Foundation Partners With Mama Hope’s Global Advocate Yunfai Ng to Build Mobile Health Vans in Gujarat

    June 2016: India New England, With Commitment to Transform One Million Lives, Desai Foundation’s Lotus Festival Focuses on Women’s Health and Sanitary Napkin Program

    April 2016: GSTV, Vocational Training & Job Readiness at Desai Foundation’s Hansa Community Development Center

    March 24, 2016: India New England, Desai Foundation Partners with IIT Gandhinagar to Develop Student & Faculty Run Volunteer Program in Gujarat




  • 2013


    November 26, 2013: Lincoln Journal, Cultural Festival Introduced Lincoln to India


    October 31, 2013: India New England, Lincoln, Mass. 'Discovers India' During Three Day Festival


    October 2, 2013: India New England, Art, Music, and Food Expected to Draw Big Crowds to Upcoming 'Discover India Festival'


    A small Massachusetts town is currently gearing up to host a big cultural festival aimed at audiences of all ages, backgrounds, and interests.


    For three days this month — October 18, 19, and 20 — the town of Lincoln, Mass. is slated to host the Discover India! Lincoln Cultural Festival 2013 - an exciting and fun-filled event featuring everything from Indian food and contemporary art to dance performances and numerous children's activities.


    And a big draw of the festival, according to organizers, is to inform and educate a much broader audience about India's unique culture and heritage.


    "The event fosters multiculturalism, and it's something we'd also like to bring to people who may not have direct ties with India but still want to learn more about Indian culture," explained Moha Desai of the Desai Foundation. "The goal is to inform and inspire our local communities."


    The Discover India! Festival also serves as an opportunity to expose India's younger generations to their own culture and heritage — something that isn't often discussed in grade school.


    "In K-8 education India, and most of Asia, is often omitted," Desai said. "At the end of the day they learn how to read and write but they aren't always taught about their own culture. But learning about other cultures is a lifelong skill we can instill in our youth."


    And the upcoming Discover India! Festival will feature a number of special activities and events  geared towards this purpose. 


    The three-day extravaganza will kick-off with a showing of the hit film Saptapadii — a movie that is still basking in widespread global success. The October 18 showing, which begins at 1 p.m., will also be followed by a discussion with Chandrakant Shah, a Reading, Mass. resident who wrote the film. A second showing of Saptapadii will also take place on Friday evening at 7 p.m.


    Saturday's festivities will commence at 11 a.m. with a Kids Discover India! event that will include a variety of hands-on arts and crafts activities geared towards children of all ages. An interactive Odissi classical dance workshop later in the day at 3:45 p.m. will also be tailor-made specifically for small children. The workshop will provide an overview of one of India's oldest forms of dance through expressions and body movements.


    "We have a variety of programs for the whole community...especially kids" said Samir Desai, executive director of the Desai Foundation. "The arts and musical programs are a great way to educate the future generations."


    "The dance workshop is for children ages two and up. It's basically for anyone who can stand," joked Moha Desai (Samir's daughter). "We'd like to bring this ancient form of dance to life."


    Saturday's portion of the festival will also be littered with Indian folk and classical dance performances (2:30 p.m. 3:30 p.m.) as well as an Indian contemporary art exhibit (3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.). The exhibit will feature Susan Bean, the curator of the recent exhibition Midnight to Boom: Painting in India after Independence. At the event, Bean will examine how some leading contemporary Indian artists deploy painting and installation to probe the Indian experience.


    A delicious Discover India! Food Festival is also expected to be a big draw on the second day. Vendors from various local restaurants will showcase the best they have to offer. Although there's no entrance fee to the food festival, there is a fee for the food itself. Aside for the food festival and an event on Sunday, the rest of the events are free of charge.



    October 2013: News From Bemis Hall, Volume 4 Issue 10, Lincoln Academy at the Movies: Saptapadii with the Film's Writer/Actor and Assistant Director

    The COA is proud to participate in the Discover India! Lincoln Cultural Festival 2013 with a special screening of the feature film Saptapadii and a discussion with write/actor Chandu Shah and Assistant Director Eshani Shah on Friday, October 18 at 1 pm at Bemis Hall. Saptapadii is the story of how a wealthy Indian couple's life and relationship is turned upside down when the husband learns that his wife's attempts to cure a traumatized child while on vacation at a beautiful hill station can have disastrous consequences for his business and open up possibilities of independence for her. Photo/further info:



    September 12, 2013: Lincoln Squirrel, India Comes to Lincoln in October
    By Alice Waugh


    Lincoln will get a three-day taste of India next month during the inaugural Discover India! Lincoln Cultural Festival, which will include movie screenings, a food festival, folk and classical dance performances, an art exhibit and contemporary art lecture, a cooking class and many children’s activities.


    The festival, which takes place at several locations in town on October 18, 19 and 20, is spearheaded by Lincoln resident Moha Patel and sponsored by the Desai Foundation as well as numerous local organizations the Bemis Trustees, the Lincoln branch of the Cambridge Trust Co., the Council on Aging, the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, the Lincoln Family Association, the Lincoln Public Library, the Lincoln School Foundation, the Lincoln PTO, St. Anne’s-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church and Goodwin Procter LLP.


    In organizing the festival, Patel said she aimed to showcase local and Massachusetts performers and community partners. For details on events, times and locations, see the Discover India! website.


    Patel grew up in Lincoln and is a trustee with the Desai Foundation, which supports community development initiatives in India and the United States and funds festivals and events to promote Indian cultural education and enrichment. When she was a child, Patel’s mother organized a half-day Indian cultural festival at the Lincoln Public Library; more recently, Patel herself has worked on a similar recurring event at the PeabodyEssex Museum called Sensational India.


    “I just had a dream that I wanted to do it in Lincoln,” Patel said. When she began reaching out to local groups to gauge interest in a Lincoln event, “I was overwhelmed with the positive responses I received,” she said.


    Events like this are educational for Americans with little knowledge of India as well as for first- and secondgeneration Indians who have an opportunity to learn more about their own heritage. The events also provide exposure for children to a part of the world that schools might not have the curricular time and resources to offer.


    "In this day and age, globalization is a reality," Patel said. “If we don’t have an appreciation and knowledge of other cultures, our kids are going to suffer in the long run.” In future years, Patel hopes to stage festivals showcasing other parts of the world in their modern and historical aspects, including Greece and Egypt.


    Patel, who is the mother of an infant and a kindergartener in the Lincoln School, came to America with her parents in 1981 from the Indian state of Gujarat and graduated from Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in 1992. She returned to Lincoln partly so her children would have the experience of growing up close to their grandparents (as a child, seeing her own grandparents involved a 24-hour plane flight for summer-long visits). Patel is currently on leave from her career in health care management.


    For more information or to get more involved, email Patel at or see the "Discover India! website.

  • 2012


    November 2012: Middlesex Community College Profiles, Desai Launch Pad Takes Off at MCC

    Last spring, Middlesex announced the creation of the Desai Launch Pad. Funded by the Desai Family Foundation, the Launch Pad will provide additional funding to MCC students who have received Campus Catalyst grants to help in the beginning stages of a business or social entrepreneurial endeavor.


    February 17, 2012: Sandesh: Surat, Bhumipuja

    Bhumipuja(groundbreaking ceremony) in Untdi, near Bulsar, Gujarat, India was celebrated for Lokvidyalay High School to construct the new building. Past student and U.S. resident, Samir Anantrai Desai who donated Rs. 10,000,000 presided the ceremony. He was accompanied by his wife Nilima Desai. Others present were DolatbhaiDesai, State Assembly Member of Gujarat; King Digvarendrasinha and other honorable members of the community. The ceremony was attended by over 500 community members.

  • 2009


    May 2009: NRI TODAY, Americans experience ‘Sensational India’, courtesy DESAI FAMILY

    First annual festival at the Peabody Essex Museum showcases the sights, sounds and tastes of Indian culture through cooking, film, music, dance and art events. Desai Family Foundation will make it possible for next seven years. In April, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts was transformed into mini India. Aroma of Indian cuisine, the color and vitality of Indian classical and folk dance and the musical sounds of veena and tabla enlivened the atmosphere at the first "Sensational India!" festival. All thanks to the Desai Family Foundation (DFF) that has partnered with the museum to host this exciting and unique festival for the next seven years.


    April 24, 2009: India Abroad, Sensational India draws over 3,000 people

    The first annual Sensational India! festival held at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, attracted over 3,000 people April 4 and 5 from across the New England area. The celebration of India's sights, sounds and tastes - slated to be an annual event for the next six years - is a partnership between the Burlington, Massachusetts-based nonprofit Desai Family Foundation and the PEM. It is also a celebration of the museum's 200-year legacy of cultural exchange with India. Samir Desai, president, Desai Family Foundation, said the museum had "come alive with the sounds of the veena and tabla, the aroma of the finest in Indian cuisine and the color and vitality of Indian classical and folk dance."Megha Desai, Samir and Nilima Desai's daughter who founded the Desai Foundation and directs it, said that a day before the festival, the PEM held "a private opening for its inner circle of about 130 board members, trustees, longtime supporters and friends to provide them with a sneak peak at the ReVisions Exhibition," which kicked off the first day of the festival and will run through April 2010. The exhibition presents 14 contemporary Indian art works in tandem with traditional pieces including Mughal court painting, medieval temple sculpture and photography. Among the artists featured are M F Husain, Gieve Patel, Ravinder Reddy and Jogen Choudhury. At the event, Megha said exposure to Indian culture and art 'was an essential part of my growing up' as a second-generation Indian American 'and it made me proud of my heritage and proud to call myself Indian.' The festival included a riveting lecture from bestselling cookbook author and actress Madhur Jaffrey about her most recent book, Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India, and a dialogue between Susan Bean, the PEM's curator of South Asian and Korean Art, and Surupa Sen, artistic director of the Nrityagram Dance Company. From the Durga Krishnan and Suchita Rao performed with their students and the KrishnaRasi Group presented Carnatic-jazz fusion.


    April 16, 2009: Lokvani, PEM Celebrates Sensational India

    The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA celebrated its illustrious 200-year legacy of cultural exchange with India with an elaborate "Sensational India!" festival over the weekend of April 4-5. The first of seven such annual events being planned, the two-day festival explored the cultural interplay between the rich and intricate Indian fine art forms of painting and sculpture, and the glorious performing arts of India rooted in hoary antiquity and towering tradition. The festival also pitched in various ethnic cultural participatory activities and traditional art, music, film, Indian story telling, fortune telling and live cooking demonstrations for good measure.


    March 16, 2009: India New England, Sights, Sounds of ‘Sensational India!’ on Tap

    The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem is hosting an elaborate two-day festival April 4-5 in conjunction with the opening of a new exhibition, “ReVisions, Indian Artists Engaging Traditions.” The festival is the first of seven annual “Sensational India!’ events being planned.


    March 12, 2009: Boston Business Journal, Peabody Essex lands India exhibit

    A collaboration between the Desai Family Foundation and the Peabody Essex Museum will bring the “Sensational India!” festival to the museum each year for the next seven years. The program will showcase both ancient and modern aspects of India’s culture.


    February 16-28, 2009: India New England, Desai Family Foundation Creates ‘Rituals’ Resource

    In every culture, the subject of death is handled differently. Western cultures tend to see death as a final, feared conclusion whereupon the fates of afterlife are ultimately decided. Many Eastern cultures view death as merely an extension of one’s time on earth and treat it as an occasion for the person in question to be celebrated, revered and remembered. In many cultures, talking about and preparing for death can be an uncomfortable experience or even a taboo subject. According to local businessman Samir Desai, death is a topic from which many members of the local Indian community shy away despite its importance.

  • 2008


    October 1, 2008: IndUS Business Journal, Indian Americans Should Be Philanthropic Force

    India has a rich tradition of supporting public works, arts and architecture throughout its history and culture. From time immemorial the Rishis of the Upanishads have exhorted their disciples to engage in charity, to give according to their wealth with faith and humility. Over two thousand years ago the Emperor Ashoka undertook immense public works projects ranging from rest houses for pilgrims to hospitals and universities. In later times rulers like Emperor Akbar patronized the arts and architecture and were instrumental in building striking monuments that still stand as testimony to their largesse. In the South, the Vijaynagar Empire helped lift Kannada and Telugu literature to new heights and encouraged Carnatic music.


    April 3, 2008: Gala Benefit Auction held by Community Impact at Columbia University

    Gala Benefit Auction will be held by Community Impact at Columbia University on April 3, 2008 from 6:00pm – 9:00pm at JP Morgan Chase. The gala enables staff and 900 student volunteers to provide youth development, adult education, health and social service referrals, food, computer training and many other urgently needed services to more than 8,000 disadvantaged residents of Upper Manhattan. Members of the Columbia University community, the business and finance community, and generous individuals contribute by donating high quality items for the auction, and by purchasing sponsorships and event tickets. Please join the gala to help a worthwhile cause. Thank you for the support and making the difference. For more details click here or go to

  • 2007


    July 16-31, 2007: India New England, Gateway Bombay

    SALEM, Mass. — On hearing the word “Bombay,” one probably thinks of chat, Chowpatty, or cinema. The management student might think of the dabbawallas, the lunch carriers who won the Six Sigma rating from Forbes Magazine with just one instance of a mistake in 6 million. Perhaps, one might also think of the crowded morning commute, and the “locals,” trains that carry 6.1 million passengers everyday.


    August 3, 2007: Boston Globe, Gateway Bombay

    Can you name a famous contemporary artist from India? OK, other than Anish Kapoor? I couldn't either before I saw "Gateway Bombay," an exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum that, despite being small and muddled, serves to introduce uninitiated viewers to some of India's most celebrated modern and contemporary artists.



The Foundation has also published its own work and works of others closely related to the mission and accomplishments of the Desai Foundation. Work published by the foundation includes, among others, the Last Rituals Resource Guide and newsletters focused on work completed in India.