Mar 2019
Mar 2019

Rajiv Vinnakota named president of Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

The prestigious Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has appointed co-founder of the SEED Foundation and leader of the Aspen Institute’s Youth and Engagement division Rajiv Vinnakota as its next president.

The Aspen Institute is a new venture focusing on youth leadership development, civic engagement, and social justice while the SEED Foundation is the nation’s first network of public, college-preparatory boarding schools for underserved children. 

Vinnakota’s career has focused on educating, empowering and support America’s youth, especially adolescents from disadvantaged communities, according to a Woodrow release.

His efforts as a non-profit leader and social entrepreneur has led him to be nationally recognized with distinguished fellowships from The Ashoka Foundation, the Aspen Institute and Echoing Green in addition to being the recipient of Harvard’s Innovation in American Government Award, Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson Award and Oprah Winfrey’s Use Your Life award.

His work as a non-profit leader and social entrepreneur has led him to be nationally recognized with distinguished fellowships from The Ashoka Foundation, the Aspen Institute and Echoing Green in addition to being the recipient of Harvard’s Innovation in American Government Award, Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson Award and Oprah Winfrey’s Use Your Life award.

“Leadership development and civic participation are as important today as it was when the Woodrow Wilson Foundation was founded in 1945,” Vinnakota said. “Nobel Laureates, MacArthur Fellows, Pulitzer Prize winners, Presidential and national medal recipients, and thousands of others have been Woodrow Wilson Fellows. This organization has helped develop and support many of America’s most outstanding educators and civic leaders. I am proud to build upon this tradition.”

He is a graduate of Princeton University, where he majored in molecular biology and also earned a certificate of studies from the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs & Public Policy.  In 2009, Raj received the Woodrow Wilson Award, the highest honor that Princeton bestows on an undergraduate alumnus. Raj is married and has a daughter.

Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation identifies and develops the nation’s best minds to meet its most critical challenges. 

Mar 2019

Newly-formed group raises 600,000 meals for the needy in NYC

Photo: From left, Anna Asava, Raj Asava and Payal Sharma

The newly-formed Indian American Council (IAC) and the Food Bank of New York City have come together to tackle the problem of hunger in the Big Apple.

At its launch event at the Bar Bar restaurant in NY, donations for over 600,000 meals were raised in just 10 minutes, the organizers said in a Facebook post.

The IAC has launched an ambitious Million Meal March campaign to help the Food Bank of New York City provide more meals to neighbors in need.

“Hunger Mitao” or “Wipe Out Hunger” has become the IAC’s rally cry as it works to mobilize the Indian American community to contribute in meaningful ways.

The IAC’s co-chair is Payal Sharma, the Managing Partner of Baar Baar restaurant, and its Founders and Advisors are Raj Asava and Aradhana “Anna” Asava.

“In the spirit of ‘give where you live,’ the Indian American community – through IAC – has enabled close to five million meals in Texas in just over a year,” said Raj Asava.

“We are excited to bring this model to New York City and are confident that the Indian community here will galvanize around Food Bank and provide millions of meals for NYC’s food insecure children, seniors, veterans and vulnerable families,” added Anna Asava.

“In order to be Food Bank for New York City, it’s imperative that New Yorkers from every community see a place for leadership within our mission,” said Margarette Purvis, president and CEO of Food Bank For New York City. “We are grateful to be selected as the recipients of the great passion, commitment and focus of the Indian American Council.  Their important work punctuates how every New Yorker has a role to play in the fight against hunger.”

For 35 years, Food Bank For New York City has been the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end hunger throughout the five boroughs.
Nearly one in five New Yorkers relies on Food Bank for food and other resources. Through its network of more than 1,000 charities and schools citywide, Food Bank provides food for more than 61 million free meals per year for New Yorkers in need.

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