HDF Chicago Network Holds Record-Breaking Annual Event

Azhar Saleem, HDF CEO in Pakistan
Munni Begum

HDF Chicago Network’s 10th annual community awareness and fund raising dinner was attended by over 900 people and $430,000 were raised for the Human Development Foundation. The dinner was held on the occasion of the Inaugural Convention on Human Development. The Convention was organized to celebrate 10 yrs of HDF work to bring about a positive social change and community empowerment through mass literacy, enhanced quality of education, universal healthcare and grassroots economic development.
The event was held in the North Ballroom of the Donald E. Stephen Convention Center in Rosemont, IL on May 26,2006. It featured a silent auction of generously donated art, jewelry, clothing and as array of other items.
Dr. Adil Najam and Ethan Casey were present to autograph copies of their books – ‘Portrait of a Giving Community: Philanthropy by Pakistani Americans’ and ‘Alive and Well in Pakistan: A Human Journey in a Dangerous Time’.
The proceedings began with a recitation from the Holy Qur’an by Zunaira Arshad.
The Mistress of Ceremonies, Arshia Hasnain, welcomed the attendees and laid out the program for the evening. She introduced the Honorable Aitzaz Ahemd, Consul General of Pakistan, who talked about how the work of HDF encompasses education, healthcare and economic development.
After dinner a fashion show dazzled the audience as beautiful bridal dresses, formal dresses and sarees from Pakistan were displayed. In between the fashion show segments, Mehmood Khan conducted four live auctions which prepared the audience for the most important part of the night - fundraising.

Jawwad Ahmed
Fashion Show
Auctioning of bats by Mehmood Khan
Arshia Hasnain

One of the items up for sale was a set of two cricket bats, one signed by the 2006 national Pakistan team, and the other by the West Indies team. The autographed set went for a total of $18,000!
Soon, Mehmood Khan was joined on stage by one of the pillars of HDF, Khalid Riaz. When the fundraising began, the goal for the evening’s fundraising was set at $300,000. Together, Mehmood and Khalid were able to motivate the audience and closed the night with a total of over $421,000. It was a proud evening for all of the HDF members and volunteers who had worked tirelessly for many months.
The night was still young and the audience was anxiously waiting for the final portion of the program. Soon, the ‘one and only’ Munni Begum took center stage and mesmerized the audience with her captivating voice and vocal magic.
The audience jumped to their feet when the talented Jawad Ahmed was invited on stage. His magical and soulful vocals transported the Chicago community into an evening of fun, dancing and loud cheers. The energetic crowd did not want Jawad Ahmed to leave and as an artist, what more could one ask for. The evening came to a close at 1:30 AM.
Overall, it was heartwarming to see the local community not only from Chicago, but also from other neighboring states like Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa and Minnesota involved in this very worthy cause. Thanks are due once again to all members and volunteers, and especially the donors who helped make HDF exceed its goal. See you all next year!

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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