WALTHAM, MA– Philanthropists Jaishree and Desh Deshpande, founders of the Deshpande Foundation, will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the New England Choice Awards gala on October 28th by INE Multimedia. About 400 entrepreneurs, corporate executives, philanthropists, educators and community leaders are expected to attend the awards gala that will be held at Westin Hotel in Waltham, MA.
Through the Deshpande Foundation, the couple has promoted the use of entrepreneurship and innovation as catalysts for sustainable change in the United States, India and Canada since 1996.
“Desh and Jaishree Deshpande have taught us how to dream big and give back to the community,” said Dr. Manju Sheth, president of INE MultiMedia. “We are very excited at the opportunity to honor them at New England Choice Awards gala for all that they have done for our community.”
Deshpandes will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by INE MultiMedia and INDIA New England News, the region’s oldest and largest print, online and video magazine.
“We are honoring Jaishree, Desh and the Deshpande Foundation in recognition of their invaluable support of education, innovation, entrepreneurship and helping create a new generation of technology leaders and entrepreneurs in the United States, India and Canada,” said Upendra Mishra, publisher of INDIA New England News and the IndUS Business Journal. “In addition, they have wholeheartedly championed the cause of Akshaya Patra Foundation, the world’s largest school meal program that serves 1.5 million children daily in India.”
Jaishree Deshpande is the treasurer of Sparta Group LLC, and a founder of the Deshpande Foundation. She currently serves as a Trustee for the Museum of Science and is involved with HESTIA Fund – a fund established to support quality after school programming for low-income children. She worked for the Indian Space Research Organization in Bangalore, India until 1980 before moving to Canada. She worked for several Massachusetts companies and taught courses in computer science. She received a Master of Science in Physics in 1975 from the Indian Institute of Technologies (IIT), Madras, India. She also received a Master in Computer Science in 1989 from Boston University.
Desh Deshpande is the President and Chairman of Sparta Group LLC, a family investment office and is also the Chairman of Tejas Networks. He has pursued an entrepreneurial career for the last three decades. He is involved either as the founder, a founding investor or chairman of several companies including Cascade Communications, Sycamore Networks, Coral Networks, Tejas Networks, Cimaron, Webdialogs, Airvana, Sandstone Capital, A123 Systems and Curata. In addition, he serves as a life-member of the MIT Corporation, and his support has made possible MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation.
Leveraging the experience gained at the MIT Center, the Deshpande Foundation has facilitated the set up of three other centers: Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship in India, Merrimack Valley Sandbox in Lowell/Lawrence Massachusetts and Pond-Deshpande Center at the University of New Brunswick in Canada.
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. Deshpande co-chairs a National Council to support President Obama’s innovation and entrepreneurship strategy.
In addition to honoring Deshpandes with the Lifetime Achievement Award, INE will also honor New England’s eight shining stars for their outstanding contributions in the following area: Academics, Art and Culture, Business and Entrepreneurship, Community Service, Healthcare, Non-Profit Organization, Philanthropy and Youth Leadership.
When the launch of the New England Choice Awards were announced in May, many community leaders applauded the effort.
“This is a natural evolution for INDIA New England News and it is important to recognize achievements in different areas such as entrepreneurship, philanthropy, art, culture and others,” said Raj Sharma, a trustee of AIF and Managing Director and Head of The Sharma Group, a high-end private advisory boutique within Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking and Investment Group.
Sahdev Passey, one of the founders of India Society of Worcester and the Indian Medical Association of New England, also commended on this community awards initiative.
“It is a very good idea. It is nice to recognize and appreciate the work people are doing for our community locally. There are a lot of people doing great things here. We need to roll up our sleeves and do something for the community where we live,” said Dr. Passey. “Recognition and appreciation of such people and their work by our community leaders will be super.”
Dr. Dinesh Patel, a physician and community leader, said that INDIA New England News and INE MultiMedia have created wonderful inspiring platforms and activities to showcase and unearth the hidden jewels from the community.
“Respecting best of best people is a good idea – inspire all especially the future generation that it is possible to catch the dreams, pursue and focus a disciplined approach, work hard and excel , make a drop of rain a mighty ocean,” said Dr. Patel. “We are proud of your efforts and best wishes.”