Minnie Untermyer Award

Untermyer Gardens Conservancy honors two Indian-Americans at its ‘Gala in a Mughal Garden’

a Staff WriterJune 6, 2023


Honorees Aroon Shivdasani and Gurvinder Singh.
PHOTO; courtesy Untermyer Gardens Conservancy

Sunset Soirée: Gala in a Mughal Garden

Weeping beeches and marigolds by Jessica Norman.
PHOTO: Untermyer Gardens Conservancy

The Untermyer Gardens Conservancy (untermyergardens.org) in Yonkers, NY, held its annual Sunset Soirée in the famous Walled Garden on Sunday, June 4, 2023, on the theme Gala in a Mughal Garden, celebrating the garden’s Indian heritage.

Based on the Taj Mahal in configuration, the Walled Garden is the finest Indo-Persian garden in the Western Hemisphere and, perhaps, the most beautifully planted one in the world, a press release from organizers said.

The evening included Indian cuisine, color, music, and Mughal style in the garden setting. Premium cocktails, fine wines, sumptuous Indian canapés, and dessert were served by Master chef Vicky Vij and Bukhara Grill. The gala is co-chaired by Ann Carmel, Heena Pai, Betsy Pinover Schiff, and Anita Trehan.

The event recognized two Indian-Americans: Gurvinder Singh, CEO and co-founder of Indus Valley Partners, was the corporate honoree; and Aroon Shivdasani, was honored with the inaugural Minnie Untermyer Award, which recognizes excellence in the arts.

The corporate co-chair Dhan Pai introduced Singh and called attention to IVP’s philanthropic commitment. “Along with building a great business, Gurvinder has not lost sight of the need to support the community in which his business and employees work.  In India, IVP’s philanthropy is focused on children’s education and health, with the organization supporting schools in many different regions within the country. In the U.S., IVP has supported youth-focused organizations, community food banks, and various healthcare and veterans groups. Their endeavors have also focused on sustainable development and the environment.”

Shivdasani was recognized for fostering the career of “countless Indian artists” as founder and director of the Indo-American Arts Council. Minnie Untermyer was an influential patron of the arts and the wife of Samuel Untermyer, who built the gardens in 1916.  Untermyer was instrumental in bringing Gustave Mahler to lead the New York Philharmonic; she was the president of the Poetry Society of America; and she promoted the work of innovative artists, such as Isadora Duncan, whose dance company performed at Untermyer Gardens.

Singh spoke of the Sikh concept of seva, a service that is performed without expectation of reward, which is a foundational principle of Sikh identity. He said, “The Untermyer Conservancy is a shining example of an organization that is giving back to community selflessly. The Conservancy has restored the garden to its former glory, and it is now a thriving public space open to anyone free of charge,” he said, describing the Conservancy’s work as a true expression of seva.

The Sunset Soirée is the Conservancy’s most important fundraiser of the year, and its success is crucial to its ability to maintain the splendor of the garden, deliver adult and youth education programs, and to conduct outreach efforts that engage the local Yonkers community, the press release said.

Honoree: Gurvinder Singh, CEO and Co-Founder, Indus Valley Partners

Sunset Soirée: Gala in a Mughal Garden

Gurvinder Singh speaking at the June 4, 2023 event at Untermyer Gardens.
PHOTO: Untermyer Gardens

After an early career with Sapient, where he assisted financial services firms to adapt to Internet technologies, Gurvinder co-founded IVP in 2000 as a niche-consulting firm focused on the capital markets industry, initially working with prime brokers. He has led IVP to its current size of more than 800+ employees across seven global offices. IVP serves more than 160 fund managers who administer more than $4 trillion in assets using IVP technology, digital-first managed services, and consulting services.

Awardee, Minnie Untermyer Award: Aroon Shivdasani

Sunset Soirée: Gala in a Mughal Garden

Aroon Shivdasani speaking at the June 4, 2023 event at Untermeyer Gardens. PHOTO: Untermeyer Gardens

Aroon Shivdasani is the first recipient of the Minnie Untermyer Award, which recognizes an individual who represents excellence in the arts and embraces the multicultural spirit of an Indo-Persian garden. In her role as executive and artistic director of the Indo-American Arts Council in New York City for more than 20 years, Aroon championed Indian artistic disciplines and fostered the careers of countless artists, both emerging and established. “Aroon is a devoted friend of Untermyer Gardens, and the Conservancy is proud to present her with this award,” organizers said.

Sunset Soirée: Gala in a Mughal Garden
Sunset Soirée: Gala in a Mughal Garden