- The Indian American was the leading force behind the idea of online galas that led to record contributions for the global charity organization.
Vandana Tilak, CEO, director, and advisory board member of Akshaya Patra USA has resigned, effective April 26. Tilak, who took over as CEO in 2018, has been actively involved with the organization since 2012, starting the Los Angeles chapter in 2014 and serving as board member since 2015.
“More than anything, I have had the privilege and honor to work with a phenomenal team I call family, traveled across the country, and met hundreds of supporters who drew inspiration from the work we do in India,” said Tilak.
In a video announcing her resignation, posted on social media, Tilak said she is “grateful for the opportunity to learn, teach and lead by example.” She continued: “I have learned a lot and matured as a leader and I am eternally grateful to a team that has said yeast my sometimes crazy ideas and run with it. Needless to say, they worked, with the cooperation, help and support of everyone here today.
As regards to her future plans, she said: “As you all know I am a free spirit and I am excited and happy to reach out to the universe to guide me to my next venture whenever that happens. Until then, I am here, you know where to find me, and I look forward to staying part of the Akshaya Patra family.”
Tilak is credited for the organization’s growth, and has been personally responsible for bringing hundreds of dedicated volunteers, employees, and donors on board. Under her leadership, the Los Angeles chapter of Akshaya Patra consistently surpassed its annual fundraising goals, and raised over $1 million in 2017. As a pro bono CEO since January 2018, she oversaw a staff of 12 and 600 volunteers in 24 chapters in cities across the U.S., planning and implementing brand strategy, fund-raising and fostering donor relationships.
She has been instrumental in raising over $35 million throughout eight years, as well as doubling revenues from 2018 to 2020 as CEO. During the 2020 pandemic year, Tilak was “the creative force” behind the idea of online galas “that led to record contributions for last year.
Tilak is the founder of Bombay Pictures, the Oshan Center and Almex USA, Inc. a family owned engineering firm specializing in aerospace aluminum cast house technology. She also serves on the boards of Almex USA and Almex Advanced Materials Corporation. A trained ayurvedic practitioner, an avid reader of philosophy, she enjoys travel, poetry, music, portraiture and photography.
Akshaya Patra is a global charity organization raising funds to support the mid day meal program in India. The organization operates 43 centralized mega kitchens and cooks and transports meals to government school children in 12 States in India. With sustainable scaling models starting with 1,500 meals in 2000, the organization currently feeds 1.76 million meals in 14,250 schools every day. Often being the only meal the child receives in the day, it plays a crucial role in the intervention to support classroom hunger and education at the same time. In 2019, the organization celebrated serving the 3 billionth meal with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. For more information: www.foodforeducation.org.