Brigitte and Bashar Kalai $1 Million Gift to Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston Announced at Luncheon
(left to right) Rabbi Samuel Karff, Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, Reverend William Lawson, Brigitte and Bashar Kalai
Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston (IM) hosted a VIP Luncheon on Wednesday, December 6 to announce a $1 million commitment from Brigitte and Bashar Kalai to transform the outdoor space extending from its 3303 Main headquarters into a Plaza of Respect.
The Brigitte and Bashar Kalai Plaza of Respect will be a stunning outdoor space in the heart of Midtown, which will offer the community a gathering place, inspiring artwork, and an educational component about the many faiths of Houston.
The highlight of the Plaza will be three monuments called the Pillars of Light. These vertical sculptures will honor three iconic faith leaders in our city- Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, Rabbi Samuel Karff, and Reverend William Lawson. This trio of friends, sometimes affectionately referred to as “the three amigos”, have worked together for decades to advance civil rights and interfaith dialogue.
Mr. Kalai, the CEO and Founder of Amerapex Corporation, and Mrs. Kalai are strong community leaders who are inspired by a passion to give back and by their Muslim faith.
“Brigitte and I are humbled by being a part of this monument of three pillars of our community. The three amigos have given far more than anyone can give of one’s possessions. For many decades, they have given all of themselves to advance civil rights and interfaith dialogue. We hope that this plaza will serve as a light for the next generations to advance religious harmony in our community,” said Bashar Kalai.
“This is a magnanimous gift from Brigitte and Bashar Kalai that allows IM to break new ground on a wonderful symbolic representation of ‘respect for thy neighbor’ in the Greater Houston area. The Kalais’ support of the Plaza of Respect epitomizes the groundbreaking work of Interfaith Ministries to build strong relationships as well as learning and service programs, which bring people of all faiths together,” said Martin B. Cominsky, President and CEO of IM.
The Brigitte and Bashar Kalai Plaza of Respect will be the capstone of the IM campus, as well as a focal point of the developing Midtown area. It will celebrate the unique spirit of Houston – our diversity, our love for one another, and our resilience. The Plaza will add greatly to the redevelopment of Midtown by providing a stunning outdoor gathering place that is open and accessible to all.
About Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston
A United Way agency, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston (IM) brings people of diverse faith traditions together for dialogue, collaboration and service. IM provides four main services including Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston which delivers more than one million meals each year to seniors in Harris and Galveston counties; Refugee Services which, in conjunction with the U.S. State Department, resettles hundreds of refugees in Houston each year; Interfaith Relations and Community Partnerships which serves as a hub, resource, and convener of dialogue and service efforts across religious traditions as well as civic, corporate, and non-profit agencies; and, Volunteer Houston, which matches volunteers with nonprofit agencies for a Greater Houston . More information can be found at www.imgh.org.