Gouri has worked with various civil society organizations focusing on human rights, social justice, education and poverty for over two decades. Prior to joining Akanksha, she served as Deputy Executive Director at Amnesty International USA where she led Amnesty’s work on domestic and international human rights campaigns. She has also worked on labor rights here in the U.S. with the Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ and at the global level with the National Labor Committee. She has served as Executive Director of both the New York Civic Participation Project and of the Hague Appeal for Peace. She worked on bringing together environmental and labor public policy as Vice President of Campaigns at the Blue Green Alliance. She earned her MPA from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. Born and partially raised in India, she joined the Akanksha Fund in 2013 with a desire to contribute to work being done to empower India’s underserved communities.
Meghan McNamara comes to the Akanksha Fund with over 10 years of experience in the non-profit and education sectors. Previously, Meghan taught science, math, and writing to adults pursuing their high school equivalency diplomas in the Bronx and Manhattan. In this capacity she developed and taught science curriculums that built STEM literacy and confidence in adult learners, which she presented on regionally and nationally. Prior to that, Meghan was director of programs at Girls Write Now, a nationally-recognized writing and mentoring program for NYC high school girls. Meghan also runs a non-profit she co-founded called the Octavia Project, which uses arts and STEM enrichment to encourage critical thinking, build confidence, and develop skills in a myriad of subjects for teens in Brooklyn.
Chandrima joins us with over 8 years of work experience in the financial sector. She has performed various roles including project management, corporate finance, strategic consulting and analytics at American Express. Chandrima grew up in India and completed her bachelors and Masters in Mathematics and Economics respectively from the University of Delhi. After which she moved to the US to pursue her second masters at the University of Chicago. Having grown up in India, Chandrima understands the struggles of the underprivileged to access a decent level of education. She has often volunteered her time to teach and work with kids at the underserved schools in Delhi and Manhattan. Her passion for education and dedication brings her to Akanksha. After a successful career at American Express, Chandrima took a break to raise her family. And is now very excited to resume her career with Akanksha.
Fareeda joined Akanksha after six years in the nonprofit sector working in public health and CSR. She has worked with international aid agencies to effectively engage the private sector on public health issues. Prior to that, she worked with UNDP’s Private Sector Division where she worked on addressing development issues through private sector partnerships and building sustainable value chains. Fareeda has attended school in Saudi Arabia, India and the United States. She holds a Masters of Arts in International Relations from the City College of New York-CUNY and a Bachelors in Commerce (Honours) from Osmania University in India. An Indian at heart, Fareeda believes in the transformative power of education, especially its role in creating equal opportunity for women and girls.
Gowri envisions a future where education is equally accessible, meaningful and transformative for all children all over the world. To that end, she has taught at various capacities in India and the US, including an year-long volunteering stint at an Akanksha Foundation after-school center in Pune. Before her foray into the education and development sectors, she worked/interned with various wings of the Indian media, where she contributed features on social issues. She is currently finishing her doctoral studies in English Literature at St. John’s University, Queens. With (and through) Akanksha, she hopes to become a well-rounded advocate for education.
A message form our board President, Ramesh Srinivasan: #MyAkanksha is where students like Tahura and Dhanashree (speakers at Akanksha's 2018 Gala) receive more than just a holistic education. School is a safe environment where they have access to a full meal, where teachers act as confidantes, where trained counsellors listen, and where friends uplift. As the Akanksha Education Fund’s Board President and long-time donor, I support #MyAkanksha because it is a safe haven for 9,300 students like Tahura and Dhanashree. Akanksha is working remotely to make 9,300 dreams come true even as the pandemic hits our students’ communities the hardest.
In a country like India, education breaks the very cycle of poverty that the current crisis is worsening. In India, education is an urgent cause; our teachers are frontline workers, too.
Almost 70% of Akanksha families are daily wage earners who have lost their source of income due to the pandemic. The Akanksha team has provided 5,000 families with food and continues to engage our 9,300 students in remote learning.
However, 90% of our funds are under threat. Our schools are operating under budget cuts of 30%. Akanksha's capstone after-school initiatives for socio-emotional development are on hold.
We are launching #MyAkanksha, a virtual campaign to keep our 21 schools open. Please click here for updates and to make a donation of any amount meaningful to you: akankshafund.org/covid-19-update/.
Over the next few days, we will share posts from members of our community on why they support Akanaksha. We encourage you to do the same, using #myakanksha.
Akanksha is yours, now more than ever. And, together, we will get through this. ... See MoreSee Less
COVID-19 Update As the coronavirus pandemic continues to transform lives globally in unprecedented ways, Akanksha’s students, their families, and communities are disproportionately facing the pandem...
Watch this video for an update on Akanksha's response to COVID-19 from CEO, Saurabh Taneja: vimeo.com/416079659. Please visit akankshafund.org/covid-19-update/ for more information on where we stand and how you can help.A message from Akanksha Foundation CEO Saurabh Taneja about Akanksha's efforts around COVID-19. May 1, 2020 ... See MoreSee Less
Mid-day.com spoke with Anusha Manjani, Manager, Counseling Services at Akanksha Foundation, to find out how Akanksha is protecting the metal health of students, teachers and staff during this extraordinary time.
Exciting news for middle- and high-school Akanksha champions! The India Philanthropy Alliance is sponsoring an essay competition for ideas on how to cultivate an attitude of giving among Indian Americans. Winners will have the opportunity to present their essays at Indiaspora Forum's Annual Conference and direct $1,000 to their favorite charities! Click here for more information: www.indiaphilanthropyalliance.org/essaycompetition... See MoreSee Less
India Philanthropy Alliance Youth Essay Competition 2020 BackgroundSeveral recent studies, including a recent one by Dalberg and Indiaspora, have shown that Indian-Americans, while generous with volun...