[NEW YORK, NY] –- On Saturday, May 7, 2016, philanthropist and technology entrepreneur, David Bohnett, who founded the technology fund, Baroda Ventures, and is Chair of the David Bohnett Foundation will be among the one hundred outstanding Americans who will receive the 2016 Ellis Island Medals of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations – NECO.
2016 marks the Medal’s 30th Anniversary and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor Ceremony will once again be held on Ellis Island starting at 6:30 p.m. The Ceremony, which will feature a significant military presence and patriotic performers as well as notable speakers, will be followed by a black-tie Gala Dinner in Ellis Island’s historic Great Hall.
Mr. Bohnett has long been a leader in the technology and information services industry, as he is founder and managing member of the early stage technology fund, Baroda Ventures, and serves on the Board of Directors of several notable technology companies. In addition to his impressive professional ventures, David Bohnett is an active philanthropist serving as Chair of the David Bohnett Foundation, Chairman of the Board of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Vice Chairman of the Board of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the University of Southern California (USC).
Since 1999, the David Bohnett Foundation has provided over $85 million in grant funding, state-of-the-art technology and technical support to hundreds of innovative organizations and institutions in several primary funding areas: The Fund for Los Angeles, supporting a broad spectrum of arts, educational and civic programs including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, LACMA and the Venice Family Clinic; LGBT-related causes; graduate school leadership programs at the University of Michigan, UCLA, NYU and Harvard; voting rights and registration initiatives; supporting research and public policies to reduce the toll of firearm violence; and animal research and rights.
“On behalf of David Bohnett Foundation, I am proud to accept the Ellis Island Medal of Honor this year,” said Mr. Bohnett. “Ellis Island reminds us that we are a nation built on diversity and a people that have welcomed newcomers for many years. I salute the efforts of NECO and greatly appreciate the honor symbolized by the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.”
NECO is the sponsor of the Ellis Island Medals of Honor which are presented annually to American citizens, both native born and naturalized, who have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic groups while exemplifying the values of the American way of life. The Ellis Island Medals of Honor embody the spirit of America in their celebration of patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity. The Medal recognizes individuals who have made it their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity; all while maintaining the traditions of their ethnic heritage as they uphold the ideals and spirit of America. Since the Medal was founded in 1986, we have honored such distinguished and diverse Americans including: six Presidents of the United States; Nobel Prize recipient Elie Wiesel, Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Hon. Hillary Clinton, Bob Hope, Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Rosa Parks, Yue-Sai Kan, Mike Wallace and Mia Farrow, all who have distinguished themselves through their significant contributions to this country.
The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations – NECO- was created on the conviction of its founders that the diversity of the American people is what makes this nation great. Its mission is to honor and preserve this diversity and to foster tolerance, respect and understanding among religious and ethnic groups. Additionally, NECO continues its commitment to the restoration and maintenance of Ellis Island, a living tribute to the courage and hope of all immigrants.
Chairman of NECO Nasser J. Kazeminy states, “Today, there is so much negative rhetoric about immigration. We forget that the great majority of our citizens celebrate a second heritage in addition to being Americans. I believe that anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America must also take on the responsibilities of citizenship. Those responsibilities include being informed, being engaged and voting for our leaders. This is the small price we pay for such enormous freedom. When we talk about immigration, let’s not forget the men and women who we have honored who are highly-skilled workers, college graduates, and entrepreneurs and who contribute so much to our society and our economy. America is a nation of immigrants and it is what makes us great.”
The Ellis Island Medal of Honor ranks among the nation’s most prestigious awards. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have officially recognized the Ellis Island Medals of Honor, and each year the recipients are listed in the Congressional Record.