Lifetime Achievement Award For Jaishree And Gururaj Deshpande

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Philanthropists Jaishree And Desh Deshpande Are Helping NGOs Scale Up And Sustain Themselves On Their Own

The Logical Indian

October 28th, 2016

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Source: indianewengland | Image Courtesy: deshpandefoundation

Lifetime Achievement Award For Jaishree And Gururaj Deshpande

Jaishree and Gururaj Deshpande, founders of Deshpande Foundation have been honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the New England Choice Awards gala on Friday by INE Multimedia. Jaishree and Desh have been putting their philanthropic efforts in their Deshpande Foundation for a promotion of the use of entrepreneurship and innovation as the catalyst for sustainable change in the United States, India and Canada since 1996.

The New England Choice Awards Gala is expected to be attended by 400 entrepreneurs, corporate executives, philanthropists, educators and community leaders.

Jaishree and Desh have donated $20 million dollars to launch the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In December 2010, they gave a grant of $5 million to start up the Merrimack Valley Sandbox in Lowell and Lawrence, Massachusetts. Gururaj Deshpande is also the chairman of Akshaya Patra USA.


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The Deshpande foundation in Hubli India was started in 2007 to build ecosystem, change mindset of people, to focus on solutions rather than on problems. It focused on interacting with people and to come with new innovative ideas to build ecosystem from scratch. The foundation here in India works in rural and suburban areas. They address the problems of farmers and so far have helped around 80,000 farmers. They believe in uplifting entrepreneurship in India . Jaishree and Desh visit Hubli every year quarterly.  The complete emphasis is on education, earning livelihood, health and women empowerment. Almost 30% of the population has been covered  and they will spread out to other rural and suburban areas as well.

Speaking to The Logical Indian, The CEO of Deshpande Foundation said that it is an initiative to change mindset of people and to wipe off people negative thinking. People should be proud of their profession; be it a sweeper or a  cleaner. They are all earning their livelihood from hard work and are not begging or cheating or stealing. The organization has witnessed a significant change in the areas they have worked. They have changed mindset, increased economic change, the maternal mortality rate has plummeted and there have been a sigh of relief in drought affected areas. The CEO of Deshpande Foundation, Hubli moved here in India from Boston to work in this field. He says that it is not a sacrifice but his passion and honour to him to become a part of this organization and work for people. This organization believes in building eco system and being a change maker.

“Desh and Jaishree Deshpande have taught us how to dream big and give back to the community. We are very excited at the opportunity to honour them at New England Choice Awards gala for all that they have done for our community, ”says Dr Manju Sheth, President of INE MultiMedia, as reported by India New England News.

“We are honouring Jaishree, Desh and the Deshpande Foundation in recognition of their invaluable support of education, innovation, entrepreneurship and helping create a new generation of technology leaders and entrepreneurs in the United States, India and Canada,” said Upendra Mishra, publisher of INDIA New England News. “Also, they have wholeheartedly championed the cause of Akshaya Patra Foundation, the world’s largest school meal program that serves  1.5 million children daily in India.”

Deshpande Foundation has also set up three other centres: Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship in India, Merrimack Valley Sandbox in Lowell/Lawrence Massachusetts and Pond-Deshpande Center at the University of New Brunswick in Canada.

Jaishree Deshpande who is the founder of the Deshpande Foundation is also a treasurer of Sparta Group LLC, and she serves as a Trustee for the Museum of Science. She is also involved with HESTIA fund which is committed to the importance of educating women about strategic philanthropy. She received a Master of Science in Physics in 1975 from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras and further received a Master in Computer Science in 1989 from Boston University.  She had also worked with Indian Space Research Organization in Bangalore, India before she moved to Canada in 1980.

Gururaj Deshpande is also a passed out from Indian Institute of Technology- Madras. He is a holder of B.Tech in Electrical Engineering and further received an M.E. from the University of New Brunswick in Canada and PhD from Queens University in Canada. He is the President and Chairman of Sparta Group LLC and also a chairman of Tejas Network. He has pursued an entrepreneurial career for the last three decades and is involved with many companies like Cascade Communications, Sycamore Networks, Coral Networks, Tejas Networks, Cimaron, Web dialogs, Airvan.

It is a proud moment for every Indian and in addition to honoring Deshpande’s with  Lifetime Achievement Award, INE will also be honoring  New England’s eight shining stars for their outstanding contributions in the areas of  Academics, Art and Culture, Business and Entrepreneurship, Community Service, Healthcare, Non-Profit Organization, Philanthropy and Youth Leadership.

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