Akshaya Patra Hosts its First Young Professionals Event, Two Bostonians on the Leadership Team

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Poonam Kamdar & Shaleen Sheth
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BOSTON–Akshaya Patra Foundation USA recently held its Inaugural Young Professionals Virtual Event to inspire the next generation of Young Professionals, aged 22-40, to take on the mantle of driving awareness for Akshaya Patra’s mission to serve underprivileged Indian children nutritious meals to fuel their minds and further their education.

Poonam Kamdar

Young professionals and philanthropic leaders from around the United States were in attendance to learn about and celebrate Akshaya Patra’s programs. Two Bostonians– Poonam Kamdar and Shaleen Sheth are on Akshaya Patra Foundation USA’s Young Professionals leadership team.

Ms. Sheth is passionate about helping advance women and children from vulnerable backgrounds with the tools and skills they need for success. She is the co-founder of Women Who Win, a digital media platform and community, with thousands of members around the globe. She is a business associate at Wayfair. She studied Finance and Business at Babson College, and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2020. She was an Akshaya Patra Youth Ambassador for Massachusetts, and has worked with multiple local nonprofits such as Saheli and India New England Multimedia.

Ms. Kamdar is an Assistant Vice President at Citi Private Bank. As a member of the Direct Private Investments team, she is responsible for sourcing, managing, and distributing private transactions, in partnership with leading financial sponsors and Citi Banking, Capital Markets & Advisory, to institutional private clients globally. Ms. Kamdar joined Citi in 2018. She earned her BA in Economics from the University of Chicago, and first became involved with Akshaya Patra in 2011, when she started the “AP Coin Jar Program,” a successful grassroots campaign. Since, she has been an active member of the Boston and Tri-State Chapters, along with the Youth Ambassadors and Young Professionals programs.

Akshaya Patra programs support the mid-day meal beneficiaries, currently serving 1.8 million children daily, and furthering food relief for vulnerable communities in India.

The Young Professionals event was led by long-time Akshaya Patra supporters Amisha Patel and Siddartha Rao, who will be working in tandem to develop this new program on behalf of Akshaya Patra USA.

Siddartha Rao

“Akshaya Patra has created a sustainable model with 58 innovative kitchens that service 19,257 schools. By providing warm, nutritious mid-day meals, Askhaya Patra improved the retention and enrollment into school, lowered dropout rates, and increased school attendance (especially in girls),” said Mr. Patel. “This impact has created a better life for these children and for generations to come. We look forward to including young professionals of all backgrounds and professions to join this mission.”

Key-note speaker was Saket Modi, Co-Founder and CEO of Safe Security. The event attendees were also treated to the Comedic stylings of Indian-American Comedian and Harvard Graduate Alingon Mitra.

Shaleen Sheth

The Akshaya Patra Young Professionals program established a Leadership Council including members Amisha Patel, Siddartha Rao, New England locals Poonam Kamdar and Shaleen Sheth, and other talented individuals from diverse professions. This council volunteers their time to further the reach of the Young Professionals program, while raising awareness for the Akshaya Patra initiatives.

Established in 2000, Akshaya Patra is the world’s largest NGO school meal program providing hot, nutritious lunches to over 1.8 million children throughout India. It costs just $20 to feed a child for an entire school year. Since the COVID-19 lockdown began on March 24th, 2020, Akshaya Patra has served more than 191 million meals for food relief to migrant workers, beneficiaries, and vulnerable communities in India.

Fore more information, visit: www.AkshayaPatraUSA.org.

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