In 2000, the ISKCON Temple began a meal program where they cooked and delivered meals to 1,500 students in five government schools in the local community. The program was initiated with the goal of addressing child hunger and promoting education. The results were immediate, as the headmasters of these schools reported an increase in attendance, as well as marked improvements in student health and academic performance. This small but impactful initiative laid the foundation for the Akshaya Patra Foundation.
As word of the successful Mid-Day Meal Program spread, the ISKCON temple received hundreds of requests from other schools wanting to participate in the program. While the temple leaders were thrilled with the program’s success, they quickly realized that their capacity to supply hand-cooked meals to everyone in need was limited.
To address this issue, Madhu Pandit Dasa, a graduate of IIT-Bombay’s Civil Engineering program, took on the challenge of making the temple’s Mid-Day Meal Program more efficient. Madhu Pandit Dasa designed the first centralized and fully mechanized kitchen that was able to produce more than 100,000 high-quality meals in 5 hours, without sacrificing the wholesome quality of the food.
Since then, Akshaya Patra has grown significantly and now operates 66 centralized and decentralized kitchens in 15 states and 2 union territories in India. We are now able to feed over 2 million children per day. Through these efforts, we are creating a more efficient and sustainable solution to address child hunger and improve access to education for children in need.
Board of Directors
Dr. Siva Sivaram was appointed executive vice president of memory technology in May 2016 when SanDisk was acquired by Western Digital and is responsible for the ongoing development of the company’s industry-leading NAND flash memory, as well as the development of next-generation technologies, including 3D NAND (BiCS) and 3D ReRAM. Sivaram has over 30 years of experience in semiconductors, 3-D memory architectures, process technology, equipment and materials. He has held executive positions at Intel and Matrix Semiconductor, and at SanDisk after its acquisition of Matrix. Additionally, he was the Founder and CEO of Twin Creeks Technologies, a solar panel and equipment company. Under his leadership, SanDisk created the world’s first cross point 3D memory technology, the world leading 15nm 2D NAND technology, and the industry’s first 256 Gigabit (Gb) 3-bit-per-cell (X3) 48-layer 3D NAND chip. Sivaram has also served as a board member of several start-up firms, was entrepreneur-in-residence at Crosslink Capital and XSeed Capital, a research scholar at Matsushita Electric, and an adjunct faculty member at San Jose State University. Additionally, Sivaram has published numerous technical papers as well as a textbook on Chemical Vapor Deposition, and he holds several patents. He earned his doctorate and master’s degrees in materials science from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he has been elected to its Board of Trustees. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchi, India, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Srivatsan (Sri) Rajan is a Partner in the Bain & Company’s San Francisco India office. Prior to this, he was the Chairman of Bain’s India offices and has also served as the Managing Director there.
He has over 20 years of management consulting experience in India and the United States. He has supported the creation and execution of turnaround strategies for multiple diversified firms and has significant experience working with private equity firms in pre-deal diligence and post-deal strategy, as well as in operational engagements across sectors.
Sri serves on the board of Delhivery, a logistics startup in India and is an investor in and advisor to many other startups and funds. He is also on the Advisory Board of Bridgespan India, Central Square Foundation, Fireside Ventures and is also the Chair of the Consultative Council of Akshaya Patra in India.
Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande
Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande was the Chairman of Akshaya Patra USA from 2008 to 2020. Dr. Deshpande is the President and Chairman of Sparta Group LLC and has founded several successful companies including Cascade Communications and Sycamore Networks. Dr. Deshpande holds a B. Tech. in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras, an M.E. from the University of New Brunswick in Canada, and Ph.D from Queens University in Canada. Dr. Deshpande serves as a life-member of the MIT Corporation.
Madhu Pandit Dasa
Madhu Pandit Dasa has been a member of the Akshaya Patra USA Board of Directors since 2006. He completed his B.Tech in Civil Engineering from IIT-Mumbai in the year 1980. While he was doing his Masters in Technology in IIT-Mumbai in 1981, he became a full-time member of ISKCON. In 1994, he initiated an integrated social development project for the benefit of the rural people of Mysore and Mandya districts. A model, prototype organic farm based on natural and earth-friendly farming methods along with an internationally accredited farmer-training center has been setup in the 110-acre land on the banks of river Kaveri in Srirangapatam. He designed the first centralized and mechanized kitchen of Akshaya Patra, to provide school meals to underprivileged children in the Government schools of Bangalore Rural District during July 2000.
Chanchalapathi Dasa, known to many as “CP Ji”, was among the first founders of the Akshaya Patra Foundation. While in college, he embraced the mission of Srila Prabhupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and became a full-time dedicated member in 1984. Inspired by Srila Prabhupada’s message of compassion and self-less service, Chanchalapathi Dasa helped found Akshaya Patra as a pilot program serving school meals to just 1,500 children in 5 schools in Bangalore. Together, the founders combined their own knowledge of engineering to transform Akshaya Patra into one of the world’s largest NGO-run school meal programs that today serves 2 million children daily in over 22,000 schools from 66 kitchens in 15 states & 2 Union Territories across India. Today, Chanchalapathi Dasa manages the executive operations of the Foundation.
Dr. Rachana Kulkarni, MD
Dr Rachana Kulkarni is a cardiologist in New Jersey for the last 20 years. She is the managing partner of Medicor Cardiology, a leading cardiology group in Central Jersey. She has served as the Chief of Cardiology and Chairman of Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset and is the President of American Heart Association New Jersey Chapter.
Dr Kulkarni has been involved with Akshaya Patra for the last several years. She has been instrumental in building a robust Chapter of Akshaya Patra in New Jersey and has led her team to host two successful Galas in New Jersey. She passionately believes in improving the world through education and thinks that Akshaya Patra is the perfect vehicle to achieve that change in an entire generation of Indian kids.
Roopa is Co-founder and President of GEP, a global procurement and supply chain organization. She founded GEP with the dream of a beautiful company, a place that touches employees, clients and communities in a positive and sustainable way. She leads GEP’s CSR initiatives and has been supporting Akshaya Patra both in US and India for the last 5+ years.
She has a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Pharmacy and an MBA from the University of Chicago, but considers herself a student for life.
B. V. Jagadeesh is a successful serial entrepreneur in the field of technology, a Venture Capitalist and a philanthropist. He co-founded and was CTO of Exodus communications in 1993 that pioneered the concept of Internet data centers. He was instrumental in successful IPO of Exodus in 1998. Jagadeesh seed funded NetScaler and became President and CEO in 2000. NetScaler was successfully sold to Citrix for $325M and Jagadeesh served as Group VP and GM for Citrix application networking division. Jagadeesh has served as CEO and President for 3Leaf Systems. Currently Jagadeesh is a Managing Partner at KAAJ Ventures.
Raghu Raghuram currently serves as CEO of VMware and is a thought leader who has successfully maneuvered operations over the course of several years, having held numerous senior positions managing strategy, product & service offerings. He was also part of the leadership team that took VMware through its first IPO. Raghu holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.
Raghu Raghuram has been a strong supporter of Akshaya Patra USA for several years and believes that, “education and nutrition are deeply interrelated. The tradeoff that children have to make on a daily basis, between food and education, is extremely distressing. Akshaya Patra has been tackling this issue for several years now and I am honored & humbled to be a part of the vision to rid classrooms of hunger and enable every child’s intrinsic right to access education all across India.”
Dr. Deepak Chopra
DEEPAK CHOPRA MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”He is the author of more than 80 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. Two of his books, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind (1993) and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success (1995), have been recognized on The Books of The Century Bestsellers List. Chopra is the co-author with Rudolph E. Tanzi of the instant New York Times bestseller, Super Brain and current bestseller, Super Genes (Harmony, November 2015).
Chopra serves as co-founder of Jiyo, Adjunct Professor at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School, Columbia University, Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego, Health Sciences, Faculty at Walt Disney Imagineering and Senior Scientist with The Gallup Organization. For the last three years, Greatist.com recognizes Dr. Chopra as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” The World Post and The Huffington Post global internet survey ranked Dr. Chopra #17 influential thinker in the world and #1 in Medicine”.
Narayana Murthy, is an Indian IT industrialist and the co-founder of Infosys, a multinational corporation providing business consulting, technology, engineering, and outsourcing services. He started Infosys in 1981. Murthy has been listed among the 12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time by Fortune magazine. He has been described as Father of Indian IT sector by Time magazine due to his contribution to outsourcing in India. Murthy has also been honoured with the Padma Vibhushanand Padma Shri awards.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is an Indian celebrity chef, entrepreneur, television personality & author of best-selling cookbooks to a global audience. He is best known as the star of TV show Khana Khazana, which is the longest-running show of its kind in Asia. Chef Kapoor is also the co-owner of a successful TV Channel ‘FoodFood’ & Managing Director of Khana Khazana India Pvt Ltd. He is recognized globally as the winner of several culinary awards and a passionate restaurateur with locations across the world.
Chief Executive Officer
Navin joins Akshaya Patra after an incredibly successful career as former CIO of Capgemini, a global leader in consulting, technology, and outsourcing services. Navin was also the Former Chairman and CEO of Sogeti USA, a subsidiary of Capgemini. Detailed Bio is available on LinkedIn.
Navin was born and raised in Rourkela, Odisha. He and his family have resided in Dayton, Ohio for 33 years. Together they have two children who are both Physicians.
Navin has a Bachelors in Computer Science from The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and graduated from Ohio State University with a Masters of Computer and Information Science. Navin is also a Trustee of the Hindu Temple and supports spiritual study and meditation. For fun, Navin enjoys golfing and playing Bridge.
Chief Financial Officer
Jyothi comes to Akshaya Patra with over 13 years of experience heading the accounting and finance division in corporate organizations. Her experience spans, managing $100M budgets, saving opex/capex costs through operation efficiencies, financial planning, reporting, and implementing financial controls and systems from the scratch.
With a loving family of two kids who keep her occupied during off hours, Jyothi makes time to volunteer as a treasurer at Girl Scouts of Orange County, an Auditor for PTA, and supports accounting at Chinmaya Mission LA.
Brought up in a culture where sharing food and feeding needy children is viewed as the topmost value, Jyothi is innately aligned to the vision and mission of Akshaya Patra Foundation. Jyothi is happy to utilize her skills and experience in leading the accounting and finance team at Akshaya Patra Foundation.
Jyothi resides in Irvine with her family, loves traveling, watching movies, experiments, and enjoys cooking various cuisines.
Vice President Marketing
In her current role as the Marketing Lead for Akshaya Patra USA, Swati is responsible for developing and executing the organization’s marketing strategy to increase awareness and engagement with the mission of the foundation. She oversees a team of marketing professionals who are dedicated to creating impactful campaigns, organizing events, and building relationships with key stakeholders in the community.
Prior to this role, she was the Development Director, responsible for leading the organization’s efforts in building partnerships and securing funding from corporate, individual, and philanthropic donors. Her extensive experience in the non-profit sector, including Save the Children India, ICCo, and Udyogini, has equipped her with a diverse set of skills in program management, fundraising, and building strategic partnerships.
Swati holds a Masters’s degree in Social Work from the prestigious Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India, and is a trained Special Educator specializing in learning disabilities. Her passion for social impact and community development led her to join The Akshaya Patra team as a pro-bono volunteer before transitioning to a full-time role in January 2020. Swati’s unwavering commitment to the organization’s mission and tireless efforts to drive positive change make her an invaluable asset to The Akshaya Patra Foundation.
Vice President- Development
Geeta has been associated with Akshaya Patra almost since inception due to her passion to do something transformational for society.
She started working as a volunteer in December 2001 and was one of the founder member of the fundraising team in India. She has deep expertise in fundraising and has extensive experience in creating different products, avenues for fundraising.
She was instrumental in creating various unique programs for engagement and volunteering for the corporate sector. She also has played transformational roles in Human resources by defining engagement drivers and strategy for our employees.
Geeta has a Masters in Software Engineering from Brandeis University, and is based in the Bay Area.
I am open-minded, fun loving, an easy-going, caring, adventurous and sincere woman.I am honest and give 100% in everything I do. I enjoy exploring new places such as- historical spots, cruise with friends, hill stations, mountains. Fitness – Yoga/Meditation, Music, and Fashion are some interesting subjects to me.
Helping others really matters to me. I saw a worthy cause with an emotional appeal in Akshaya Patra. I feel proud to be a part of this exceptional effort. The cause is huge – almost infinite. I believe better education leads to a better quality of life.
Healthy, happy and knowledgeable children are essential for prosperity and progress. Akshaya Patra’s focus on food and education goes a long way towards helping to achieve that.
Geeta Rai brings 15 plus years of business development and marketing experience in the corporate and non-profit domains. She has played many management roles at AT&T and Silicon Valley startups including a theater non-profit. She loves that her current fundraising responsibility enables tangible value to the children of India. She has an MBA from Drexel University. She lives in the Bay Area, CA and enjoys hiking, meditation and watching movies.
Development Coordinator (East)
Mike comes to Akshaya Patra with over 10 years of experience in Marketing and Event Management roles in various industries. Mike’s career began in 2011, with The Washington Nationals Baseball team, where he developed marketing campaigns, managed in-game activations/events, and worked with charitable organizations in Washington, D.C., and neighboring communities. As the Events and Donor Liaison Manager, Mike brings a compassionate and tireless approach to his role with Akshaya Patra. He firmly believes in Akshaya Patras’ vision that no child in India should be deprived of education due to hunger.
Mike currently resides in Austin, TX, is a former college soccer player, avid Philadelphia sports fan, and a lover of tacos.
Youth Ambassador Coordinator
Ashwini Bartolucci graduated from Mills College in May 2022 with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Spanish and Spanish American Studies. Ashwini believes universal rights should encompass multi-dimensional education, nutritious food, safe shelter, and holistic healthcare.
Ashwini faced food insecurity and hunger as a young child and wants to dedicate her life to making food accessible for all. A passion for social justice and food justice, along with six years of experience volunteering for various non-profit organizations, led her to Akshaya Pātra.
As Akshaya Pātra coordinator, Ashwini has the privilege to collaborate with and learn from many people on the APUSA team at once and is continuously inspired by the dedication and resilience of her colleagues. Throughout her career, Ashwini will continue expanding her knowledge on the intersections of climate change, economic development, food politics, and state sovereignty.
Shannon Griffith joins Akshaya Patra as our Marketing Manager.
Shannon has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications and Media. She comes from a background working in education, where she won three New York State School Public Relations Awards.
She is excited to have the opportunity to combine her love of marketing with her passion for helping students in need.
Shannon lives in New York with her husband and 3 dogs. She loves traveling, food, and exploring the great outdoors.
Executive Advisor & Head of Food Recovery
Jay joins Akshaya Patra as Executive Advisor & Head of Food Recovery Initiative to help define, launch and scale Akshaya Patra’s Food Recovery and Zero-waste programs in the USA.
He was Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Consultant at Fortune 500 Companies, Nonprofits, and Healthcare Organizations, where he helped define, launch, and scale highly strategic corporate initiatives and $1B+ businesses.
Jay is also an Entrepreneur, Advisor, Mentor, and Judge at Silicon Valley Startups, Incubators, and Accelerators in HealthTech, Enterprise Software, and IT industries, where he led highly innovative technologies and business solutions.
Jay holds Masters in Computer Science from University of Michigan.
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