As NorthPark Center embarks on its fifth year of celebrating its Ambassador program― an idea spearheaded by Nancy A. Nasher and Kimberly Schlegel Whitman― a spotlight shines brightly upon Dallas’ top influencers and the nonprofits they support. Today, we’re speaking with Gunjan and Anurag Jain.
Hand-selected for their philanthropic contributions, each year-long ambassadorship offers the opportunity to partner with NorthPark Center and its retailers for various events and initiatives to benefit their respective charitable organizations. This year’s Ambassadors are threaded together with a solid commitment to the community. Events that support causes important to them are united in the ultimate spirit of fashion, art, and stylish philanthropy.
Today, we catch up with Gunjan and Anurag Jain, as they lend their voice and charitable efforts to the North Texas Food Bank. NorthPark has been longtime hosts of one of the nonprofit’s marquee events, Canstruction, which takes place all through the corridors of NorthPark Center in August and September. The event also hits a key milestone for 2022, marking the 40th anniversary of the North Texas Food Bank. The couple shares a life-long passion for giving back to others, focusing on their shared values, and using their resources to enable others to embrace an optimistic outlook on the future.
Why are you so passionate about your chosen charitable organization?
Anurag Jain: We have had a life-long passion for giving back to others. With that background, we would like to talk about two of our charitable organizations – North Texas Food Bank and Get Shift Done – that have done remarkable work during COVID-19. The North Texas Food Bank’s vision is to create a hunger-free, healthy North Texas. We continue to work tirelessly to close the hunger gap in North Texas and ensure equitable food access for all hungry children, families and seniors.
Before COVID-19, one in six American children did not know where their next meal was coming from. Critical to their food security were the volunteers, nonprofits, and school programs that feed them every day. COVID-19 was a breaking point, as already at-risk populations were furloughed, schools closed, volunteer and hunger relief demand began to surge. Within days after we started Get Shift Done, along with Patrick Brandt, the team was on the ground connecting shift workers, supporters, and nonprofits to deliver essential support all while providing basic incomes and food security for children and families. In just 18 months of its existence, Get Shift Done has provided nearly 1 million hours of skilled shifts to more than 110 nonproﬁts in 12 cities, delivering 60 million meals and providing gainful employment to over 28,000 strong workers.
Your favorite North Park memory.
Gunjan Jain: As a family, we have spent many joyous moments at NorthPark over the years. We have many beautiful memories to cherish from some of the kind valets having become good friends to us to the celebration of family holiday gatherings. Our most favorite NorthPark memory is watching our two daughters admire the turtles and ducks in the NorthPark planters when they were young.
How would you describe your own personal style?
Gunjan Jain: We believe that a style is a form of self-expression, giving everyone around us the information on who we are. Our definition of style is summed up in three words: global, classic, simple. Simplicity is beautiful, understated yet elegant, and is always in style.
NorthPark Center is at the center of combining art and fashion. Describe your own art and fashion interests.
Anurag Jain: We love Southeast Asian art and contemporary art that includes traditional elements and regional culture. We enjoy following fashion trends and love to choose classic pieces within our favorite designers’ collections from across the globe.
Who are your role models?
Anurag Jain: From early childhood, our parents instilled in us the value of helping and giving back to the communities we live in. Growing up in India, we were also inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. His leadership changed not only India but also the world as an example of creating movements of civil rights and freedom that others have modeled. He was one man who made a difference to so many. Today, we continue to be inspired by regular people who step up and lead the community in moments of extreme difficulty and don’t let constraints come in their way to achieve extraordinary help for others. They teach us that we can all make a difference in the lives of our neighbors, and even the world.
We wake up every day determined to use our resources and skills to create a world where everyone has an opportunity to lead an active and productive life.
What keeps you driven?
Gunjan Jain: We believe that all lives are equal, and anything is possible. We believe in the quote – “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime“- and are excited about creating self-sustaining solutions that help others succeed in business and in their community.
What are two fun facts about you?
Gunjan Jain: We try to live a healthy lifestyle and love good vegetarian food and travel. We have lived in five time zones and love to collect art and treasures from our travels. We also have a passion for Cricket and cherish a special artifact we have, which is a Sachin Tendulkar’s Cricket bat. Anurag is in the process of bringing a cricket league to North Texas and hopefully, the game he loves will catch on in the U.S. as well.
How do you find a moment of balance while getting it all done?
Anurag Jain: Focus on being self-aware and prioritizing your personal development while having a very supportive family.
The best advice you’ve ever heard on the importance of giving back?
Gunjan Jain: We were taught to leave a legacy that positively impacts the lives of others by creating self-sustaining, life-changing architectures for the recipients. We feel that by contributing to these architectures, we are making investments for our future generations to grow and thrive.