Meera Gandhi & Giving Back in NYBy Lavina Melwani • May 28th, 2012 • Category: Little Black Book: Events
Giving Back in New York
The beautiful Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan was the venue for the launch of Meera Gandhi’s coffee table book ‘Giving Back’ hosted by Barbara Tober, Chairman Emerita of the museum, and Chris Meigher, publisher of Quest Magazine.
Meera, who is the founder of The Giving Back Foundation, features several nonprofits in this book including Mother Teresa and her Asha Daan; Bono and his fight to cure Aids in Africa; The American Friends of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Henry for its involvement with the homeless; and Rockefeller and the Grameen Foundation. The book is available at several bookstores, besides Amazon.com and The Giving Back Foundation.
Q and A with Meera Gandhi
1. Tell me about the book and what kind of research went into it?
The “Giving Back’ book is my personal journey of Giving Back over the last quarter of a century. The book celebrates all those people that I have worked with over the years who are giving back in unique and different ways.
In addition to my personal anecdotes, we have researched, interviewed and emailed every one of these organizations to get their current mission statement and understand their direction.
2. You’ve had launches in India, Hong Kong, Turkey, NYC, and Upstate NY at the Franklin Roosevelt Presidential Library. London is next – what’s been the most memorable aspect?
Each of the 6 Launches is special in its own way- the India launch at the Leela palace was the first and I asked my dear parents to release my book. Hong Kong was full of my local friends who turned up in very large numbers to support me and the book. Istanbul was very glamorous and again a very large affair at the Pera Palace – NYC at this point was my home- so it was a great success with people trying to get into the museum! We sold out.
London is with Cherie Blair and Roger Moore and it’s a huge garden champagne book party – so each one is very, very different. The one at the presidential library in upstate NY was set up as a book reading and Eleanor Roosevelt-style fireside chat– and people simply loved that and the interactive conversation went on for 2.5 hours!
3. How have the books been selling and how do you plan to use the proceeds?
The books are selling faster than we ever anticipated – at this point the entire print run of 25000 books has been distributed globally and we ran out of books for Turkey and are scrambling to send books for the Paris and Dubai launches to be held in October.100 per cent of the proceeds worldwide are going to the Giving Back Foundation and its active projects.
We now have a contract to do the e-book with Amazon and Kindle and the “Giving Back Book” I-Pad apps are ready and will be released for public use in October.
For a small project that started in Hong Kong with a little love and a lot of passion- this book has far exceeded all expectations and at $50 a book – is doing well for the foundation! We have sent 3 repeat shipments to Amazon.com and they have asked for the 4th!
4. What’s next for you and your organization?
The E-book and the I-Pad apps that we have been working hard on are almost ready- we will take the summer to get that perfect!
The Giving Back foundation just attained section 80 G Tax exempt status in India, we have registered the UK office and Hong Kong and US offices are all working hard as we have 16 projects, we own a school, and are sending several Giving Back Foundation| fellows out to work in our social service projects in India and Africa.
In three years we have funded and attracted many institutions that we now help – the mission is pure and the task upward. We have made truly huge strides forward.
I feel blessed to have found my calling. I was searching for my mission and feel happy that I am able to “give back” in my own way.