As American Indian Foundation (AIF) marks its 20th anniversary, co-founder and AIF Board co-chair, Lata Krishnan and her husband, Ajay Shah, announced the largest gift to AIF in its history, a $5 million gift to the Fellowship program in a fireside chat with Mastercard Executive Chairman, Ajay Banga.
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, this program will build upon the past 20 years and lead for the next 20 as a true catalyst for change.
The next phase of the program focuses on accelerating impact and supercharging ideas to solutions. Lata Krishnan said, “Through service we 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 added, “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, “We 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. This 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.”
Ajay Banga said, ““Our hope is for the US and India to form a much tighter partnership so that their people understand each other better and can contribute to solving real problems in each other’s countries. Through this fellowship, we are creating a force multiplier.”