Locally Stationed Non-Profit Hits Hard

Renaissance Now raises over five thousand dollars in one night

On Friday, October 2nd, non-profit Renaissance Now held a charity event and raised over five thousand dollars through donations. Founded by senior Radhika Mitra and freshman Ritwika Mitra in March of 2009, Renaissance Now (RN) has grown into an international non-profit organization with over 200 members striving to provide training and supplies to underprivileged artists around the world. Their “foolproof formula” is to provide training and free supplies without middleman sales.

Inspired by their personal experiences of poverty in India, the Mitra sisters were driven to make a change and started Renaissance Now this year. Since then, they have been surprised by its rapid growth. In an attempt to raise money to sponsor a team trip to India later this year, RN held a charity event on Friday, October 2nd, called Starting Now 2009. There, for a “donation” price, guests were served a candlelit dinner with entertainment including performances by many new artists in Fremont. The event, held at the Palmdale Estate, also received works of art from local artists that were auctioned off to the guests.

“The food was a great accompaniment to the entertainment, including classical piano and folk music, which were all really good. Overall, it was a very elegant evening,” said Matthew Phillips, an attendee of Starting Now 2009.

One of the guests of honor at the event was Unity, a local rapper who personally made a song for Renaissance Now. Performances like this were scattered throughout the night, along with speeches and other events. Throughout the whole event, donations were being collected in order to fund the tools and supplies given to artists. Although RN is partnered with local governments and organizations in the locations they work at, the airfare and supplies all have to be paid for themselves. In order to do so, the money raised from their events and donations are all proceeds towards these funds. Mitra said, “We planned the whole thing in less than a month and still were able to raise so much money with over fifty guests. Our efforts in Kolkata seem a lot closer now.”

In order to give the best service possible, the staff of RN travels to areas around the world and provides supplies and training to artists who are unable to fund their own practices. Their on-location services this year will be in Kolkata, India, with future hopes of going to Nigeria and Vietnam. However, as RN is a new organization, they do have up and coming troubles.

“One of the problems,” said Mitra, “is that once we are done teaching, we have to pull out of the area. We hope to eventually provide sustainable on-location training in the future.”

Despite this, Renaissance Now has been able to raise enough money to provide an abundance of tools and supplies to artists and performers around the world, all of which are sustainable and reusable.