OZCF GALA RAISES A STUNNING $2.24 MILLION FOR ATASHKADEH
Oakville, ONTARIO, July, 2016 – It was an evening of absolute magic as over $2,240,000 was raised at the Ontario Zoroastrian Community Foundation’s (OZCF) “Magic and Sparkles” fundraising gala to build a consecrated Atashkadeh/Agiary in North America.
During a night that truly sparkled with glamour and excitement, over 400 Parsi and Iranian guests and dignitaries gathered at the Oakville Convention Centre to launch the fundraising campaign to build a consecrated place of worship. The building of our consecrated Atashkadeh with consecrated Atash-e- Adaran fire is an important milestone in the evolution of our North American Zoroastrian community.
This Atashkadeh/Agiary will be the only place outside of India and Iran where Zoroastrian priests will be able to train and be ordained.
The importance of the evening seemed to create a genuine buzz that stirred the guests and heightened the celebratory air. The true moment of electricity happened, however, when a member rose after dinner and announced his family’s $1 million gift to the campaign. Greeted by a standing ovation, the guests were further elated when another guest rose almost immediately afterward to commit $500,000. Donations of $100,000, $50,000, $25,000 and many of lesser amounts were all graciously accepted as the long lines formed to make contributions. In fact, donations continue to pour in as news of the fundraising campaign to raise Cdn$3M for the proposed Atashkadeh begin to travel.
This is truly a reflection of the passion of caring Zoroastrians to keep their faith alive and sustain our religion in North America for future generations. The Zoroastrian Society of Ontario as well as our Iranian community wholeheartedly supports this project. It is unbelievable how generous our Zoroastrian community and friends are towards achieving this religious goal and we hope it encourages others worldwide to help us get to the finish line. Never could we have imagined raising all this money in one event.
The completion of this project will greatly contribute to the survival of our faith. It will act as a focal point for our religion and our heritage as we renew the numbers within our Zoroastrian community for generations to come. Clearly the tremendous success of our first fundraiser shows how deeply committed our community is to see a consecrated Atashkadeh built. This is indeed our time.
The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is home to the largest Zoroastrian Community in North America, with over 5,000 Zoroastrians living within a 60 km radius.
The OZCF intends to build the consecrated Atashkadeh/Agiary with a consecrated Atash-e-Adaran fire on the site of the 10 acre property that they own in Oakville, a suburb of Toronto. Everyone will be welcome into the Atashkadeh, subject to following certain customs, conduct and etiquette. This is a House of Ahura Mazda, open to all, a place to feel God’s universal presence, to experience spiritual peace, to worship and join a community in prayer. The inner sanctum sanctorum (Kebla) will be restricted to ordained priests only.
Ontario, Canada and the USA are fast becoming the centres of immigration for Zoroastrians worldwide and we want to be ready. Our children are our religion’s future and, as donors to this campaign, it is our legacy that will ensure our heritage and religion can be sustained.
In future years, the plan is for a complete, self-sustaining complex devoted to ensuring Zoroastrianism thrives in North America and providing a true sense of community. Plans include a senior citizens home, large community centre, museum, library, classrooms, and rental of commercial and office building space to help subsidize costs. The Town of Oakville has already zoned the land appropriately to allow for the needed multi-purpose use once municipal services are installed.
We are all clearly thrilled by the level of support for our Atashkadeh. There is a fire within all of us to see this consecrated Atashkadeh built and the OZCF is honoured and proud to lead this initiative to make it happen. By creating a dedicated space where our children can learn more about their heritage and be grounded in their religion, we are also creating a place of pride where they can show friends and those of other faiths and beliefs, their place in the world.
The resounding success of this fundraiser makes all the tireless efforts of the PWAC members, our many sub-committee volunteers and entire community in planning this project over the past four years worthwhile – with Ahura Mazda’s guidance we will build our consecrated Atashkadeh with consecrated Atash-e-Adaran fire and Zoroastrians worldwide will enjoy the benefit.
You can dowload our PROJECT BRIEF here.
You can view more photographs of the Gala event here.
With Best Regards
Chair, Place of Worship Advisory Committee