CIO, Council of Indian Organizations in Greater Philadelphia, is a non-profit, non-political, non-sectarian organization formed primarily for cultural and educational purposes.
Specifically, its aims and objectives are:
- To provide a common platform to the various member organizations in the Greater Philadelphia area for pursuing their common goals and sharing their concerns
- To promote, coordinate, and support joint efforts in the social, cultural, educational, and charitable activities of the member organizations
- To provide civic and political education to the people of Indian origin and encourage greater participation by them in public affairs and to enhance their contribution to the society at large
- To foster friendship and understanding between people of ASIAN-Indian origin and others
- To act as a spokesperson for the Asian Indian community
If you would like more information about CIO, please email us at [email protected], or you may mail your inquiry to:
Council of Indian Organizations in Greater Philadelphia (CIO)
P.O. Box 211, Morrisville, Pennsylvania 19067
By the early 1970’s the population of Asian Indians was becoming significant in and around Philadelphia. By 1976, Asian Indian ethnic organizations started forming to promote the cultural heritage of the respective groups. While many Asian Indian groups were active, a need was felt for a centralized body to represent the Asian Indian community. Council of Indian Organizations in Greater Philadelphia, also known as CIO, was founded in 1983 by a group of like-minded Asian Indians who were active in community work. These persons were instrumental in bringing the area Asian Indian organizations together. About seven major area organizations joined together to form the apex body of Asian Indians in the Delaware Valley. A constitution was adopted and Mr. Bharat Bhargava became the first President of CIO. In 1993, the organization was incorporated, and in April of 1998, the organization was registered with the IRS as a nonprofit organization.
In the last seventeen years, the organization was headed by Mr. Bharat Bhargava, Mr. Raju Varghese, Dr. James Kurichi, Mr. Narasimha Shenoy, Mr. H.S. Aswathanarayana, Mrs. Sarla Patel, Mrs. Vani Kumar, Mr. Sudha Kartha, Mr. Patri Prasad, Mr. Narasimha Shenoy, Mr.Shital Vibhute , Mr. Manish Ingle and at present Mr. Paresh Birla.
In August of 1987, CIO joined mainstream America to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of the United States’ Constitution (200th anniversary) at the Constitution Pavilion at Independence Mall. During the same time, the 40th anniversary of India’s independence was also observed. It is one of the first public events organized wherein about five thousand individuals participated.
Up until 1992, CIO activities were very much focused on bringing the community together. Under the Presidency of Mr. Narasimha Shenoy, the organization was recognized by the political parties and government agencies at local, state, and federal levels as a representative body of Asian Indians in Greater Philadelphia. The annual Penn’s Landing Program (Festival of India) started in August of 1993, and is very successful in projecting the cultural activity of Asian Indians to mainstream America.
From 1997 through 1998, CIO observed a yearlong celebration of India’s 50th Anniversary of Independence. Major area institutions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Balch Institute, Fairmont Park Art Association, South Asia Regional Study Center of the University of Pennsylvania, also joined in observing the celebration. The NANDI sculpture mounted at Penn’s Landing was rededicated as a part of the 50th Anniversary celebration (during the Festival of India 1998, Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).
In 1996, during the Festival of India, CIO instituted a program to recognize persons of Asian Indian origin in Delaware Valley for community service. Since 1999 during India Day, CIO recognizes persons of Asian Indian Origin for their professional excellence.
In 1991, CIO adopted the rules and regulations to establish, administer, and maintain a fund to provide scholarships to area students in need. During the early part of 1997, CIO was a signatory to establish an Asian Fund with the Philadelphia Foundation, and made a contribution in establishing the fund. During 1996, CIO also contributed to the Philadelphia Police Fund. These contributions were made possible on account of the generous contributions made by Mr. Narasimha Shenoy.
CIO is expanding its activity to address the social and welfare needs of the community. CIO celebrates India Day annually, in January, to coincide with India’s Republic Day. During the month of May Inter-Organizational Dance competitions are being conducted and Gandhi Jayanthi in October since 1998. CIO is conducting Inter-Organizational Sports Competitions since 1997.
CIO actively participates with government agencies and political parties to represent Asian-Indian interest, and promotes community causes.