ING’s 20th Anniversary Gala: A Night of Celebration and Gratitude

New ING 20YearLogo

ING’s 20th Anniversary Gala on April 20th was a truly a night to remember, with a sold-out audience, community appreciation, special awards, a hilarious comedy act, and a vision for the future. You can view the evening’s program here: 20th Anniversary Gala Program.

After a reception and silent auction followed by the evening prayer, the event opened with a brief welcome by the event emcee, Rehmat Kharal, ING’s Development Manager and long time ING speaker. She then introduced former ING Trustee, Imam Faheem Shuaibe, who gave a brief invocation. He was followed by Javed Patel, co-chair of ING’s Board of Trustees, who welcomed attendees, and described the event’s theme “Building a Promising and Secure Future for Our Children.” Read Javed Patel’s opening remarks here.

Following a delicious dinner over dessert and tea, attendees viewed a video from a few of the ING supporters, husband and wife couples Naveed Sherwani and Sabahat Rafiq and Amer Haider and Munira Shamim.

The program continued with an inspiring speech by ING founder and president, Maha Elgenaidi in which she described her inspiration behind the founding of the organization 20 years ago (read Maha’s speech here), and expressed appreciation for the many people who supported this effort along the way (find our many honorees with pictures here). Additional information related to Maha’s speech can be found in the program sections “Celebrating 20 Years of ING Milestones” and “Recent Growth and Impact Report.”

Concluding with a supplication for the continued success and growth of ING, Maha introduced ING’s newly formed Board of Directors leadership team who will help guide ING into the future. Leading that effort is chairman of the board of directors, David Renie and his team, who made these opening remarks, and closed with a presentation on their vision for the future. Additional information related to David’s presentation about ING’s future goals can be found in the program section “Goals for 2013-2014“. 

The slideshow below features some of the photos from the evening.

Closing the formal part of the program were presentations of two special ING community awards. The first award was presented by the co-chair of ING’s board of trustees, Randy Pond, who began by describing the reasons he joined ING five years ago and continues to support its work. Read Randy Pond’s award introduction.

Randy presented the Pond Family “Award for Standing Up for Respect for All” to two recipients, Marianne Schmidt, Principal of Parkmont Elementary and Parkmont parent of a 6th grader, Asfia Ahmed, both of whom had worked to counter prejudice at the school. When Asfia’s son was attacked by another student who called him a “terrorist” while choking him, Asfia contacted the principal, who responded by not only disciplining the offending child, but by convening several educational sessions on Muslims and their faith for both students and teachers.

honorees asfia mariannePictured left to right: Rehmat Kharal, Asfia Ahmed, Marianne Schmidt, Randy Pond

The second award was presented by former ING Trustee, Raghib Hussain, who introduced the second recipient, Berget Jelane, who is a speaker for ING’s Interfaith Speakers Bureau program before presenting her with the Raghib Family “Award for Unsung Hero of Community Service.” Read Raghib Hussain’s award introduction.

honorees bergetPictured left to right: Rehmat Kharal, Berget Jelane, Raghib Hussain

The evening concluded with entertainment by well known Arab American comedian and CNN commentator, Dean Obeidallah.


Dean Obeidallah

The evening was a wonderful opportunity for remembrance, celebration, and looking to the future. ING appreciates the support of all of those who attended as well as those who were unable to make it. For those who were not able to attend, you can still demonstrate your support for ING’s important work by donating now. Thank you again, and may God bless the next 20 years.

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