As American India Foundation (AIF) marks its 20th anniversary, co-founder and AIF Board co-chair, Lata Krishnan, a philanthropist, a technology entrepreneur and a start-up investor and her husband Ajay Shah, announced a $5 million gift to the Fellowship program.
At the cusp of the program’s third decade, AIF is seizing the moment to rebrand the program to reflect the organizational mission, vision and values moving into the next decade of action. Over the last 10 years, the world has changed dramatically, and the importance of strong US-India civil ties has grown ever more important. Additionally, the world is facing global challenges at an unprecedented level that require further investment in this work. With the largest gift in AIF’s history to help sustain this program, it will build upon the past 20 years and lead for the next 20 as a true catalyst for change.
Lata Krishnan said they have made investments in American Indian diplomacy by shaping the next generations of leaders to be more inclusive and socially minded advocates who will collaborate to solve the most pressing issues in India. “We are impacting individual lives and building bridges, this is what motivates me year after year with AIF.” Announcing the new name, the AIF Banyan Impact Fellowship, Lata explained that the Banyan tree is a symbol of strength, resilience and interconnectedness – a powerful metaphor for mobilizing a collective force towards sustainable impact. Ajay Shah said they are building young leaders who will be able to sustain development throughout their entire careers. “The relationships and bridge-building go well beyond the one year fellows stay on the ground.”
Nishant Pandey, AIF CEO, said the Fellowship is the longest running program of AIF and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year too. “From our 20 years of running this strategic programme in the US-India corridor, we believe the program is at a crucial stage where it can expand, grow and flourish as a separate entity within the AIF umbrella. The seed grant of $5 million from Lata and Ajay helps us pursue this exciting vision. This is the biggest gift in the history of AIF and we are immensely grateful and thrilled.”
For 20 years the American India Foundation (AIF) has been sending a cohort of dedicated young people on the journey of a lifetime. A journey that makes as profound an impact on the people they work with and learn from, as it does on themselves.