PARSA's Gala Celebration of Persian Heritage and Philanthropy Helps Fund Grants for Arts, Culture, Education and Civic Integration
SAN FRANCISCO - The PARSA Community Foundation announced that $599,000 in funds for U.S. arts, leadership and civic integration organizations was raised at its inaugural gala celebration of Persian heritage and philanthropy (on October 20, 2007). The spectacular PARSA CF event, held in Atherton, California, also honored contributions to and by the Persian community. The Volunteerism and Action Award was awarded to Simone Otus Coxe of the Pluralism Fund, and the Philanthropist of the Year Award was presented to Ali Saberioon, CEO of Sabco Oil and Gas Corporation.
"We are extremely pleased with the support PARSA CF has received as a new foundation," said Noosheen Hashemi, founder and chairman of PARSA CF. "Our goals are to enable collaborative giving for strategic philanthropy and to encourage active civic participation by the Persian community in the U.S. PARSA allows us to honor our Persian heritage and give back to the country in which we now live."
The Persian-themed event was enlivened by a star-studded roster of guests, including prominent Iranologist Richard Nelson Frye, Yahoo! co-founder David Filo, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Academy Award-winning actress, director and producer Goldie Hawn. Equally impressive was the list of honorary co-chairs: Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Congressman Tom Lantos, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Beverly Hills Mayor Jimmy Delshad, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala D. Harris, and well-known San Francisco philanthropists Ann and Gordon Getty.
The blending of Persian heritage and modern diaspora culture and philanthropic practices was evident throughout the gala with colorful displays including typical Persian and fusion cuisine, a traditional wedding display, Persian rugs, modern interpretations of traditional dancing and Persian cats. A live auction followed the cocktail reception and gourmet dinner with all proceeds benefiting PARSA CF's platform and its grantees, which, in the past, have included Iranian Alliances Across Borders, National Iranian American Council, The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, and Promises Films.
PARSA CF is the first Persian community foundation in the world. PARSA CF's mission is to increase philanthropic activity within the Persian diaspora. Combining Persian traditions of charity with cutting edge philanthropic practices, PARSA CF encourages strategic giving and active civic participation through education, tax-efficient vehicles, and recognition of community service. PARSA CF awards semi-annual grants to enterprising non-profits in the United States focused on preservation and advancement of arts and culture, leadership development, and civic integration.
Volunteerism and Action honoree Simone Otus Coxe is the board president of the Pluralism Fund, a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the development of pluralistic civil societies in majority Muslim countries, in particular Iran. For five years Ms. Coxe and the Pluralism Fund have worked tirelessly to bring greater cultural awareness to causes of human rights and civil society in Iran. Ms. Coxe resides with her family in Palo Alto.
Ali Saberioon, president and chief executive officer of Sabco Oil and Gas Corp., a Houston-based exploration and production company, was honored with PARSA CF's first annual PARSA Philanthropist of the Year Award, which is given to a member of the community who has made significant contributions to the Iranian American community as well as to the community at large and who engages in innovative philanthropy with substantial voluntary and financial commitments. Mr. Saberioon's contributions over the years have been broad and varied and include a $10 million medical relief grant to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, active involvement as a board member of the Asia Society, and prominent leadership in various Persian organizations.
"The global Persian diaspora is estimated at four million people, most of whom have left the homeland in the past 30 years in search of civic freedom and opportunities for self-actualization," noted PARSA founder Hashemi. "We have the great privilege to create a philanthropic legacy for our generation to take all our blessings -- our intellect, our entrepreneurism, our creativity --and turn them into a perpetual force for good. We are very gratified that PARSA CF and our inaugural gala have begun to shine a light on the ancient Persian values of tolerance, charity and hospitality."
About PARSA Community Foundation:
PARSA Community Foundation is the first Persian community foundation in the United States and the leading Persian philanthropic institution practicing strategic philanthropy and promoting social entrepreneurship around the globe. Managing the largest independent endowment fund dedicated to Persian philanthropy, PARSA CF provides tax-advantaged vehicles to donors and makes grants to nonprofit organizations. PARSA CF provides a platform to enable collaborative giving, philanthropic education and purposeful networking. The organization is a nonpartisan, nonreligious, and nonprofit, registered as a 501(c) (3) entity in the United States. PARSA Community Foundation does not make grants in Iran. www.parsacf.org
PARSA Community Foundation: An Iranian-American philanthropy group is born - Payvand Iran News
Persian Gala's Goal to Change Perception of Iranians - San Francisco Chronicle
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