Press Release by Pars Equality Center (PEC), San Jose, California
- Event Featured Keynote Speaker and Flipagram Founder Farhad Mohit -
Los Angeles (September 29, 2015) - On Sunday, September 27, 2015, Pars Equality Center - the leading non-profit organization celebrating five years of providing social and legal services to the Iranian-American community - hosted the "Power of Community" Luncheon at the SLS Beverly Hills (456 S. LA Cienega Blvd.). Keynote speaker was entrepreneur Farhad Mohit (founder & CEO, Flipagram). Masters of Ceremonies were Fariborz Davoodian a.k.a. David Diaan (actor, HBO's "The Brink," "Homeland") and Shirin Rajaee (anchor/reporter, KEYT-TV Santa Barbara). 300 VIP guests and influential Iranians attended the sold out fundraiser, which featured a live auction. The event raised nearly $150,000.00 for the various social and legal programs that support the community-in-need throughout Los Angeles County and the Bay Area.
Pars Equality Center founder and executive director Bita Daryabari welcomed guests, saying, "The past five years have been incredibly exciting, as Pars Equality Center has grown from a singular vision to a community-led organization governed by a dedicated board. We continue to expand programs to assist all Persian-speaking people with the process of building a new life in America. An while we have a strong focus on newcomers, we are here to support and engage the entire community."
Farhad Mohit addressed guests, saying, "The time is right for Pars Equality Center. With 5,000 Iranians estimated to enter the US in 2015 through the diversity visa (lottery), the need for Pars as an anchor to these new arrivals is greater than ever. Pars needs your ideas, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit-the components that make any community organization successful."
Other VIPs in attendance included: Navid Negahban (actor, "American Sniper," "Homeland"), Anoosheh Oskouian (president & CEO, Ship & Shore Environmental Inc.), Ahmad Gramian (co-founder, CorpInfo Services), Angella Nazarian (founder & president, Visionary Women), Homa Sarshar (journalist/author), Shahrzad Ardalan (radio host, 670 AM), Dr. Abbas Milani (Stanford University), and Sholeh Shams Shahbaz (Rahavard Persian Journal), amongst many others. Live musical entertainment was provided by Rana Mansour and Erwin Khachikian.
Live auction items included a Weekend Getaway for 8 in Carmel At-The-Sea; 14K White Gold Cognac Diamonds and Smoky Quartz Earrings; a Limited-Edition Alexander McQueen Knuckle Box Clutch with Swarovski Crystals; Ink and Acrylic Calligraphy Painting by artist Masud Valipour, with a quote by Hafez: "Love was revealed, and upon all the world fire spread"; a Handmade Persian Kashan Wool Rug from Damoka Rug Gallery; and "The Lovers," Poetry by Rumi from artist Ali Bozorgmehr.
The event host committee consisted of Mahasti Afshar (senior principal consultant, Brand Communications Strategists), artist Fariba Ameri, Shahrzad Ardalan, Mandana Farmanfarmaian, Mariam Khosravani (founder, Iranian American Women's Foundation), Angella Nazarian, Shari Rezai (president, Geltman Industries) and Neqin Yassini (owner, VDP, Inc.).
2015 marks the 5th Anniversary of Pars Equality Center, which was founded in the Bay Area in 2010 by entrepreneur and global philanthropist Bita Daryabari. The organization opened three locations in three years, and in honor of this year's anniversary, opened the first Iranian community center in the United States. The Daryabari Iranian Community Center is based in San Jose and was inaugurated in April with a VIP Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, which featured San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
The organization has had great success in the past year. In 2014, PEC serviced close to 700 clients, a 55% increase since 2013; hosted quarterly job fairs and averaged 11 job placements per month; introduced the Silver Club, creating a holistic program specifically tailored to the 55+ generation; met its five-year public support test to remain a 501(c)(3) organization based on donations from the community; established new classes such as technical writing, health & wellness, and basic computer; concurrently expanded ESL class offerings; and increased community workshops on social, legal, and educational issues.
Following the San Jose opening, the organization serviced a peak number of clients since its inception, illustrating the growing need and warm reception from the community.
Pars Equality Center currently has an office in Los Angeles (Sherman Oaks), and the aim is to also eventually open a community center in the Los Angeles market.
Daryabari adds, "Pars is for everyone. From the outset, it was a vision of inclusiveness that guided us. We are on the right path to creating a proud, purposeful Pars Equality Center-one that can help any Iranian-American on this vast continent."
In other news, Bita Daraybari has made a $1.5 million gift to the University of California, Davis, to broaden the Persian studies program.
About Pars Equality Center
Founded by Bita Daryabari in 2010, the Pars Equality Center (PEC) is the first non-profit organization of its kind, supporting the full integration of people of Persian (Iranian) origin in the United States. PEC provides social and legal support for all members of the Iranian-American community, including refugees, immigrants and the American-born. The Center advocates for more positive perceptions of Persians in the U.S. media, while offering services and programs that help establish, integrate and support Iranian-Americans to function responsibly and productively in American society. Daryabari's aim is to create a more just and compassionate community in which Iranians of all cultures and beliefs participate. Based in Menlo Park, PEC opened its second office in San Jose in April 2012, and a third location in Los Angeles in September 2013. As of April 2015, PEC is now headquartered in the new San Jose-based Daryabari Iranian Community Center, making the location the first and most comprehensive non-profit legal, social and community support center that provides direct services to Iranians in the United States.
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