Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Introduction

What should I do if my question is not answered in the FAQs?


We request you to immediately send your question to info@umaus.org. We will be happy to address your questions.


What is UMA?


UMA (Uttarakhand Mandal of America) is a Silicon Valley based civic organization. UMA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization under the US IRS Tax Code section 170. UMA members are mostly individuals and families with roots in Uttarakhand. Large majority are hi-tech professionals, executives and service providers engaged in various Silicon Valley enterprises.


What are the other facts about UMA?


  • UMA (Uttarakhand Mandal of America) is a Silicon valley based civic organization, informally launched in 2005

  • UMA was formally registered in 2008 as a  501(c)(3) non-profit organization under the US IRS Tax Code section 170 (EIN #:  26-1111-821)

  • UMA’s relief work is being overseen by a reputed group of Silicon Valley & India based trustees. The Trustee group is chaired by  Dr Kailash Joshi, co-founder of  American India Foundation and TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs). Dr Kailash Joshi led the Gujarat, India earthquake relief efforts in 2001 that raised the first $4.5M & its deployment through NGO’s.

    • Dr. Kailash Joshi - Former IBM General Manager, is also President of Foundation For Excellence (Silicon Valley)

    • Vijay Bist - Chairman, Amber Hospitality Group (Silicon Valley)

    • Raju Indukuri - Chairman, Mtuity, Inc. (Silicon Valley)  

    • Renu Bhatt - President UMA (Silicon Valley)

    • Dr. Anshu Bhatt - Vice President, Audience Inc. (Silicon Valley)

    • Dr. Vijay Pathak - CTO, Megachips (Silicon Valley)

    • Anoop Nautiyal - Former CEO Uttarakhand 108 Emergency Services (India) Mr. Nautiyal has an intimate knowledge of Uttarakhand and its people’s needs.

    • Major General Sheru Thapliyal - Retired Indian Army (India). Has been engaged in several humanitarian causes and is a media personality.

  • More details on UMA can be found in www.umaus.org



What are other facts about Operation Rebuild?

UMA has launched a $1 million fundraising effort to provide help towards long-term relief to 2,000 victim families.


OUR FOCUS : PEOPLE WE ARE TRYING TO HELP  

Our goal is to help rebuild the lives of people of Uttarakhand by providing funds and/or  materials to help heal the local communities.  Help will be provided to families by the NGOs that are first qualified by the India Trustees and with oversight of UMA volunteers.


FUNDS MANAGEMENT  

Under the guidance of a distinguished Trustee Group, we are doing due diligence on selecting the right organizations and processes in Uttarakhand to reach the victims. Our India based trustees will play a special role in establishing the funds disbursement and accountability processes. Our objective is to maintain total transparency and full reporting back to donors, as an integral part of our efforts. 


OUR TIMELINE  

We have put in place the essential processes and controls to receive funds. Please contribute now and we will continue our efforts until the objectives are met. We expect the disbursement of funds to begin within 3-months and ahead of the arrival of severe winters.


We will be recognizing the contribution of  above donors in our website, fund raising events & other media publications.


Donations in other amounts are also welcome.


What are the other facts about the Himalayan calamity?


  • The calamity in Himalayan region of Northern India  is not mere flooding but  an ecological disaster of epic proportions.

  • The huge dumping of water from complex cloud burst and flooding has triggered massive landslides and road ruptures that have washed away scores of houses and bridges and buried valleys in several feet of debris.

  • There is a huge impact to local people whose homes and livelihoods have completely been destroyed

  • Estimates are that several thousand people have lost their lives and a few hundred thousand families have been rendered homeless & displaced. Because the human and property damage is covered under debris, the digging continues.

  • All rehabilitation work will have to keep into consideration the fragile Himalayan eco-system and future prevention


Why is it called a Himalayan Tsunami?


Even though there is no ocean near the Himalayas, this catastrophe is called Himalayan Tsunami to describe the extent of devastation.  Also, the catastrophe has been referred to by this name by the officials in Uttarakhand (Chief Minister, District Magistrate, etc.), media and newspapers.  Anyone close to this situation is now very familiar with this usage.


Why UMA?

Why should we make contribution through UMA?


  • Majority of UMA volunteers and members have roots in Uttarakhand and understand the ground realities and best ways to help the victims.

  • The core team is led by Dr Kailash Joshi who headed the Gujarat earthquake efforts in conjunction with President Bill Clinton in 2001. The UMA efforts are being carried on the footings of Gujarat.

  • We also have the clear objective of ensuring that 100% of the dollar value from donors is delivered to the victims. The overhead expenses for the project would be absorbed by AIF.

  • UMA also has plans to issue periodic reports and completion reports to donors.


What specifically is UMA doing on the ground in India?


Under the guidance of our India Trustees we have begun a survey and reporting of the affected areas, people's needs and which NGOs are doing the best job of serving the victims.


All this information will be used in deciding the best use of funds from our efforts.


AIF - UMA Partnership

What is AIF?

American India Foundation (AIF) is the largest foundation serving India. It was established in the wake of the Gujarat earthquake in 2001. AIF has invested more than $ 80 million in various social and economic projects through various NGO partners in India. President Bill Clinton is the Honorary Chair of AIF. Dr Kailash Joshi is the co-founder of AIF and also serves on the AIF Advisory Board.

Why did UMA partner with AIF?

AIF has substantial resources and experience in projects in Uttarakhand. It will strengthen Operation Rebuild by providing access to AIF infrastructure, resources and global donors.

What are the deployment projects AIF-UMA partnership will support?

The goals of Operation Rebuild are:

  1. Rebuild an entire village or villages
  2. Provide women's occupational training programs
  3. Establish a telemedicine network for areas without doctors
  4. Fund selected other projects

With the AIF-UMA partnership, how will UMA Operation Rebuild funds be deployed?

UMA collections will be pooled with AIF for deployment projects. A committee consisting of AIF and UMA representatives will identify and supervise funds deployment options.


How can I help?

How can I participate?


Please email rebuild@umaus.org for volunteering opportunities. There are several spots still open.


How can I help besides the monetary contribution?


You can be an active volunteer and help UMA in achieving their team goal. Please let the team know how you would like to help.  Among specific things you can do are 1) raise funds by writing  to your family and friends using the UMA individual appeal letter available upon request 2) formally present the UMA appeal to your company using the described process 3) conduct fund raising events at religious organizations and 4) engage  your alumni group by making a case for this drive.


Please email rebuild@umaus.org for volunteering opportunities. There are several spots still open.


Who should I contact if I have questions?


For general questions, please email info@umaus.org.


For specific questions, please email or call:

  • Corporate Related - Somit Joshi: 408-306-0242, somit@umaus.org

  • Website & Individual Donations Related - Dr. Rajive Joshi:  408-657-3371, rajive@umaus.org

  • Trustees Related - Renu Bhatt:  408-368-4671, renu@umaus.org

  • Volunteering & Logistics Related - Jhoomar Nimkar:  650-468-8790, jhoomar@umaus.org

  • Civic Organization Fundraising Related - Gaurav Negi: 408-429-3051, gaurav@umaus.org


Fund Raising

What are the various modes for donations?


You can make the payment by check or online. Please see umaus.org for details. UMA is not set up for Indian Rupee donations. For any Indian Rupee donations, please go to the AIF website www.AIF.org.


What is the expected amount of contribution from donors?


UMA team is thankful to receive any and all amounts of donations from individuals and institutions. However, we also believe that several large donations have to be achieved from individuals, corporations, and foundations in order for us to achieve the $1M goal.


If I donate, what % of my donation will reach the victims?


All UMA trustees and volunteers devote considerable number of hours each week without any compensations and are committed to this model until the mission is accomplished. With UMA-AIF partnership, AIF has committed to covering administrative overheads of Operation Rebuild. This will ensure that 100% of donations to UMA Operation Rebuild will be utilized for assisting the victims.


Will I get tax benefit for my donation?


Yes. Your contributions are tax deductible, because UMA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization under the US IRS Tax Code section 170.


I would like to organize a fundraiser to support this cause. How can UMA help?


UMA would be very happy to assist in any way it can, including the presence of core team members and the trustees.


Are you accepting funds from other countries such as Canada, UK, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Kenya, Argentina, Brazil etc.


Yes, indeed. We welcome donations from all the countries around the world where dollar conversion is not a problem.


Are you collecting donations from India as well?


UMA is not set up for Indian Rupee donations. For any Indian Rupee donations, please go to the AIF website www.AIF.org.


Fund Deployment and Transparency

Who will be the beneficiaries of the various donations received by UMA?

UMA is specifically targeting the families who have 1) lost their homes 2) lost their small business or 3) lost the sole bread earner. UMA, through its India-based Trustees and volunteers has begun the due diligence for identifying the affected areas and the needs of the victims.


How will the help be delivered to the victims?


UMA has begun the due diligence of identifying the best performing NGOs (non government organizations) in Uttarakhand who have solid past performance record and can work with UMA and meet the requirements of transparency and timely reporting back to UMA. Over the next two months, UMA will sign a formal agreement with each NGO selected to deliver materials and funds to the victims.  The agreement will include UMA oversight  audit and timely reports. This model is similar to the one used during the Gujarat earthquake of 2001. Dr Kailash Joshi, UMA Trustee Chair was the prime force behind the Gujarat efforts also. Our goal is to help rebuild the lives of 2000 families by providing funds and materials in the most effective way.


How will the funds be deployed for rebuilding purposes?


We are using the same model as was used in the early stage of the Gujarat earthquake victims relief operation in 2001. It is a natural process for us because people including Dr. Kailash Joshi managed that entire process. He is now the Chair of the UMA-AIF Operation Rebuild Committee.


How will you ensure that money reaches the right hands?


Under the guidance of a distinguished Trustee Group, we are doing due diligence on selecting the right organizations and processes to reach the victims in Uttarakhand. Our India based trustees are playing a very special role in establishing the funds disbursement and accountability processes.


Will any funds from UMA Operation Rebuild be channeled to the victims through any State or Central Government agencies or departments?


No, we will not deploy any relief efforts or channel any funds through Uttarakhand state or Government of India agencies or departments. As stated elsewhere, we will select and work with NGOs who have demonstrated capabilities and established track record in rehabilitation of people in distress.


Would I get an update on how my money is being used?


Yes, all donors will get periodic updates on how the donations are disbursed. Our objective is to maintain total transparency and full reporting back to donors as an integral part of our efforts.