HACSI: Mission and Activities
HACSI’s mission is to facilitate Hindu Americans to provide Community, Charitable, Educational and Relief services. As far as possible, HACSI will facilitate the work of existing community organizations, coordinating and supplementing their efforts with volunteers and financial support. HACSI will also provide direct community services if there are identified gaps that need to be filled.
HACSI commenced its operations informally in 2007, and was formally incorporated in the State of Maryland as a 501 (c) (3) charity in 2009. In the initial years, it focused mainly on providing food for the homeless and in helping several hundreds of Bhutanese who were being settled in the Baltimore –Washington region under an international refugee settlement program. As a part of the latter activity, HACSI and Sri Siva Vishnu Temple jointly started sponsoring health fairs for the Bhutanese community. This program is now open to all. Since 2017, HACSI, SSVT and American Red Cross have started organizing Blood Donation Drives. HACSI has started helping Hindu families which face financial emergencies due to illness or death of the principal bread-winner; and also provides other support services as may be needed. It provides monetary and in kind donation to victims of natural disasters in India and the US, such floods in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Hurricane Harvey and Irma. HACSI is taking part in the interfaith educational initiatives. Since 2017, HACSI is assisting a project to digitize out-of-print books and articles on Indology to make them easily accessible to students and scholars.
A brief description of these activities is given below.
A: Food for Homeless Program
Under this flagship program, with HACSI acting as the umbrella organization, two dozen groups—temples, social and community associations and a few individual families— prepare meals in the large modern facility of D C Central Kitchen, Washington DC. Every day, 5,000 meals are prepared, of which half is consumed in situ in the premises and the remaining half is delivered by DCCK to the shelters housing the homeless, battered women, needy seniors and school children. HACSI volunteers prepare 120,000 meals annually, accounting for 6.7 % of 1.86 million meals prepared at DCCK.. About half the meals are served in the DCCK facility and the remaining are distributed through shelters housing the homeless, battered women, needy seniors and school children. HACSI and its associate organizations have provided more than a million meals from 2007 to 2017. This Program at DCCK has reached a steady state and is expected to continue.
HACSI is now exploring ways in which this significant community service can be replicated in cooperation with other organizations.
B: Helping Families in Distress
HACSI helps members of the Hindu community who face calamities such as death or protracted illness, and domestic violence. Our volunteers provide food, transportation, and arrange for medical or legal help. So far, HACSI has provided about $50,000 to fourteen families to tide over financial hardships. Government agencies and hospitals have started referring cases needing assistance to HACSI. HACSI aims to build $100, 000 in a Benevolent Fund to exclusively provide financial relief for such family emergencies.
C: Disaster Relief
While being conscious that it can only play a limited role because of its meager financial resources, HACSI nevertheless funded relief activities at times of natural calamities in India and in USA. In 2015-16, it provided $22,000 to victims of Tamil Nadu floods; and $15,000 to victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017. It has provided $10,000 in 2018 to help victims of the unprecedented floods in Kerala.
D: Health Fairs & Blood Donation
HACSI, jointly with Sri Siva Vishnu Temple, has been conducting health fairs for the last several years. In addition to a general check-up and specialty consultations, free flu shots, blood sugar testing, dental and eye examinations are done. Since 2017, diagnostic Doppler study to evaluate blood circulation is also being done. Since November 2017, three blood donation drives have been conducted jointly with SSVT and The American Red Cross to motivate Indian community to donate blood.
E: Educational Outreach
To facilitate a balanced presentation of Eastern religions, HACSI presented a copy of the PBS documentary “Asian and Abrahamic Religions – A Divine Encounter in America” to 350 high schools in D.C, Maryland and Virginia. It also funded workshops to train social studies teachers nation-wide to use this documentary in their classrooms. HACSI also provided funds to InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington to market its publication: Special Teaching About Religion which discuss the beliefs and practices of all major Faiths. So far, HACSI assistance for this educational outreach adds up to $41,000.
Since 2017, HACSI has been helping a project to preserve and conserve manuscripts and out-of-print publications related to Hindu religion, tradition and culture, by digitalizing and making them easily accessible to current and the future generation of researchers. A charitable Foundation called Sri Gargeshwari Digital Foundation has been formed in Bengaluru, and a good beginning has been made in digitalizing 300 books. The Foundation has entered into MOUs with a few religious and educational institutions to digitalize documents in their archives. HACSI has so far provided about $2,200 from its own resources and mobilized an additional $1,800 through its supporters. While the amounts are modest, they constitute a significant part of the outlay so far by the Foundation. HACSI will continue its efforts to mobilize funds for this important project when the Foundation obtains from the Indian tax authorities tax exemption status for donations.
HACSI’s Governance Structure
HACSI was incorporated on March 12, 2009 in the State of Maryland as a non-profit corporation. HACSI’s Articles provide for a Board of Directors not exceeding seventeen members. The present Board consists of eight members who have long years of experience managing faith-based organizations. To expand and diversify the Board of Directors, HACSI has inducted Captain Pratima Dharm and Harihar Singh as directors.
HACSI regret to inform you that R.G. Nagarajan, one of the founder directors and Treasurer passed away in December 2013. Mr. Umamaheswaran has been appointed as the Treasurer.
HACSI will accept donations from individuals and like-minded institutions, and will try to access support from various Federal, State and local government agencies. HACSI has received Internal Revenue Service approval as a 501( c ) (3) entity so that donations can enjoy tax-exempt status. HACSI participates in Combined Federal Campaign of National Capital Area (CFC # 81387).
For further information, please write to:
HACSI, 11412 Swains Creek Ct, Potomac, MD 20854
Phone: (301)-983-6858 Fax: (301)-983-6857; Web Site: www.hacsiusa.org