Bold new initiatives are slated to build a nationwide pipeline of Indian American leaders in politics, policy, and government.

Following historic wins at the ballot box in November 2017, a group of Indian American philanthropists, community leaders, and political operatives have come together to formally launch the Indian American Impact Project (“Impact Project”) and Indian American Impact Fund (“Impact Fund”), collectively known as “Impact.”

Co-founded by Raj Goyle, CEO of Bodhala and former member of the Kansas State House, and Deepak Raj, chairman of Pratham USA and founder of the Raj Center on Indian Economic Policies at Columbia University, these bold new initiatives will help talented and patriotic Indian Americans run for office, win, and lead. Raj Goyle will chair the Impact Project, a not-for-profit 501c(3) organization focused on leadership development and training, while Deepak Raj will chair the Impact Fund, a political action committee that will endorse and support viable candidates who reflect the Indian American community’s values.

“Despite rapid growth and professional success, for too long Indian Americans have been underrepresented in elected office from state capitols to the U.S. Congress,” said Goyle. “As a result, our needs, concerns, and priorities often go unheard in the halls of power. At a time when our community and our values are under attack by xenophobic rhetoric and regressive policies, it is more critical than ever that Indian Americans build and wield political power to fight back.”

(L-r): Rep. Ami Bera, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Rep. Ro Khanna, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal were sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives, marking the first time in history more than one Indian American has served in Congress simultaneously. (U.S. House of Representatives)

“This is our time,” added Raj. “Across the country, a record number of Indian Americans are running for office. We can’t leave it to chance that they will win on their own. We owe them our support — and we have a plan to help them run, win, and lead.”

As of January 2018, five Indian Americans currently serve in the United States Congress: Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Representatives Ami Bera (D-CA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-CA). Impact is also tracking an additional 60 Indian Americans currently serving in state and local office as state legislators, mayors, city council members, judges, and other elected positions.

The Impact Project Board of Directors includes Priya Dayananda, Managing Director of Federal Government Affairs for KPMG LLP, Vinai Thummalapally, former U.S. Ambassador to Belize and former Executive Director of SelectUSA, and Mini Timmaraju, Executive Director of External Affairs at Comcast and former National Women’s Vote Director for Hillary for America. The Impact Fund Board of Directors includes Ravi Akhoury, former Chairman and CEO of MacKay Shields LLC, and Raghu Devaguptapu, Partner at Left Hook Strategies and former Political Director for the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) and Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC). Vikas Raj, Managing Director of Accion Venture Lab, will serve as a non-voting observer on both boards.

Both initiatives are led by Gautam Raghavan, who previously served as Vice President of Policy for the Gill Foundation, as an Advisor in the Obama White House, and in various roles for the 2008 Obama campaign and Democratic National Committee.

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