Advancement and Promotion of Charitable Activities

News & Media

APCA keeps the Indian spirit alive in America
by Nivedita Mookerji
Sunday, March 21, 1999

This is about an Indian in the US trying to keep his roots alive. Through an organisation called Advancement and Promotion of Charitable Activities (APCA). Now APCA has been around for over one year, and Jatinder Kumar is its trustee.

The focus being art and theatre, APCA supports anything from an art exhibition on women in Indian cinema to storytelling and performances of folk-tales from India. It could even be a show of Deepa Mehta’s Fire or a group discussion on Kiran Desai’s works or an introduction to Odissi dance.Jatinder Kumar spoke about APCA’s objectives in an on-line interview. Explaining how APCA is run, he says: “I, as trustee, head the activities of APCA. There are two other board members who help me in the selection of activities that APCA should support.”

“APCA is funded from the investment income of an estate left by one of my relatives,” states Kumar. Since APCA is registered by the US Internal Revenue Service as a public charity, he depends upon a certain amount of support from thepublic every year to keep APCA tax exempt. The public support is usually in the form of a minimum annual donation of $100 per person.

Such a donation makes that person a `Friend of APCA’, which means he gets preferred seating in ticketed shows and cultural events supported by APCA. Plus, all the information regarding the coming events is mailed to him much in advance. He also receives special invitations to meet artists in person. And for the largest five donors, it’s a chance to become honorary advisors to help select future artists for sponsorship.

Explaining the mission of APCA, Jatinder Kumar says: “Basically, I look forward to promoting the excellence of Indian art, music and theatre.” In addition to underwriting Indian events at the Smithsonian, National Geographic and other international institutions that are free to the general public, he supports local and visiting Indian artists throughout the year.Commenting on the uniqueness of APCA, he says: “I believe APCA is the first public charity of its kind in this country, which is self-supporting and is dedicated to promoting India’s culture among the mainstream American public.”

Significantly enough, APCA does not have any time-bound programs, only a continuing effort. Kumar elaborates on this: “Since I do not spend any money from the principal investment, in theory, this is an everlasting arrangement for promoting APCA’s mission.”

On the whole, APCA not only promotes charitable activities in art, music and theatre, but is also dedicated to supporting the best talent in each field and working closely with other local organisations, which have similar goals and purposes.

For instance, recently, TOUCH, the organisation for universal communal harmony, got together with APCA to present a concert for universal humanity, featuring maestros Ustad Amjad Ali Khan on the sarod and Ustad Zakir Hussain on the tabla. This was the first time these internationally acclaimed artists performed together in the Washington-Baltimore area. APCA also supported the Association for India’s Development (AID) in presenting Ustad Zakir Hussain on the tabla with Fazal Qureshi (tabla), Sivamani (drums) and Ustad Sultan Khan (sarangi) at Tawes Theatre, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. All proceeds went to AID’s work for the poor in India.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.