A Salute to International Americans

The MOSAIC Awards is the signature event benefiting Jewish Family & Career Services. This dinner event recognizes new or first-generation immigrants and refugees who are making a significant contribution in their professions and in our community. Honorees receive the MOSAIC Award, which is an artistic representation of Multicultural Opportunities for Success and Achievement In our Community.

Providing programs and services for International Americans has been a part of the JFCS mission since its founding in 1908. By recognizing outstanding individuals who have succeeded in various fields, JFCS underscores the importance of the contributions that International Americans have made in our community and recognizes and spotlights the crucial role that newcomers play in creating a vibrant community.

2018 Honorees

Purna Veer

Praised as a Renaissance man, Veer is a nationally recognized entrepreneur & business leader at the helm of V-Soft Consulting Group Inc., a software company started in 1997 & is one of the fastest growing tech companies in America with more than 1,000 employees in 42 states. V-Soft fills talent gaps by identifying resources & being able to place these resources into positions American businesses need to fulfill for mission & critical projects. In 2018, V-Soft established its roots here & broke ground on a $10.5 million headquarters in eastern Jefferson County. Purna cares about community, & it shows in his growing volunteer & nonprofit support. In 2017, Purna also decided to bring foods from India to his hometown. Tandoori Fusion, on Chamberlain Lane, offers fresh flavors from his own farm, Veering Creek, with the belief that people should eat well, eat local, & enjoy new flavors.

James Racine

Racine is both an arts educator & professional performer. James has hosted events called “Books and Barbershops,” where young black men can receive mentoring from professionals within his network. To make this a national project, James is holding Web training for professional men across America to help establish this same positive network in their communities. During his tenure at KCD, he has grown the strings program from a handful of interested students to a program that crosses over all three schools, with more than 100 student performers. He established the Blazin’ Stings Academy, allowing young children from under served communities to learn to play a string instrument at no cost. As a professional violinist, he has performed with nationally known performers such as Gerald Albright, Chaka Khan & many more. He has served as an artist in residence at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

Keisha Deonarine
Trinidad & Tobago

Deonarine arrived in Louisville in 1984, holding hearthcare positions for the American Heart Association & Economic Development Manager at Louisville Forward. For the past six years, Deonarine has looked at the inner workings of healthcare. With her work in economic development, she has been able to attract businesses in healthcare to grow Louisville’s economy. She serves as the inaugural Executive Director for the Passport Foundation, focusing on developing programs beyond clinical care that improve social determinants of health for people in under served & low-income communities throughout Kentucky. Deonarine has traveled across the country touting the value that with healthy communities, workforce & economic development thrive. Perceived as a community leader, Deonarine is projected to complete Leadership Kentucky 2018 and Leadership Louisville 2019.

Surekha Kulkarni

Founder & Executive Director of the nonprofit Beaded Treasures Project (BTP), Surekha is a social entrepreneur jewelry artist & an award- winning advocate for disadvantaged women in Louisville. Under her leadership, BTP has trained 200 disadvantaged women with tools & resources to overcome barriers to success. Using a micro credit approach to entrepreneurship, BTP trains women in jewelry making & other home-based skills, as well as basic financial literacy. The objective is not merely to teach a crafting skill but to use art-making as a medium of empowerment. Kurlarni is also the co-chair of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at Imagine 2020, community volunteer at Volunteers of America and KRM, and past board member of the Crane House Asia Institute and the Indian Professional Council. She has received the Bell Award from WLKY and the Pyramid Award from CNPE.

Fred Gross

Gross spent a defining portion of his professional years honing his writing skills as a beat reporter in New Haven, Connecticut. Fred’s writing would immerse intimately in the great social unrest that defined the 60s and 70s. But unlike many of his peers, Mr. Gross’s perspective would always be unique, for he would view the upheaval that defined American culture during these decades through the lens of his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. As is evident in his writing to this day, that ability, born out of great tragedy and suffering, has imbued his writing, not with bitterness or cynicism, but with an infinite measure of soulful empathy. It is from this unique vantage point that Mr. Gross has been able to create a powerful voice for the stories of individuals who would have otherwise been forever lost to darkness. Gross worked for 13 years to pass legislation which would mandate Holocaust education in Kentucky.

Event Details

Louisville Marriott Downtown
280 West Jefferson Street
Louisville, KY 40202

Date: May 23, 2019

5:00 pm – Reception and Micro Business Showcase

6:30 pm – Dinner and Program