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Deepak Chopra, Narayana Murthy, Nitin Nohria And Fareed Zakaria Joins Akshaya Patra USA Advisory Board

Press Release

The Akshaya Patra Foundation USA announced today the formation of an Advisory Board to help the organization achieve its next goal of feeding freshly prepared nutritious midday meals daily to 5 million deserving school children by 2020. Akshaya Patra reached its first milestone of serving one million children daily in 2009, ahead of schedule. 

Luminaries Deepak Chopra, founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, N. R. Narayana Murthy, Founder-Chairman of Infosys Technologies, Nitin Nohria, Dean of Harvard Business School and Fareed Zakaria, author, journalist and host of CNN's GPS are the first four to join the Advisory Board. With their global reputations and unique insights, they will be  valuable resource as Akshaya Patra strengthens and expands its operations and becomes a “Global Model” that is a catalyst for innovation.

“Magic happens when accomplished leaders come together and challenge each other to raise the aspirations of the organization,” said Desh Deshpande, chairman of the Akshaya Patra Board.  The members of this newly created Advisory Board will provide strategic input, endorse the approach, and attract distinguished leaders to be a part of the organization and take it to the next level.

“Akshaya Patra is a perfect example of what happens when creativity and compassion come together,” said Deepak Chopra.  A public-private partnership, Akshaya Patra simultaneously addresses two of the most pressing challenges –hunger and access to education for children in India. One of the world’s largest NGO run midday meal programs,  it has scaled its operations exponentially in the last ten years and expanded its reach from 1,500 children in 5 schools to 1.2 million children DAILY in over 7000 schools from 19 kitchens in eight states. These meals serve as an incentive for children to come to school, stay in school and provide them with the necessary nutrients to focus on learning.  “Akshaya Patra is a success story of hope, fairness, justice and opportunity for all children.  A healthy and educated populace is the real strength of any country,” said Narayana Murthy

Akshaya Patra, one of the largest NGO run mid day meal program is a public-private partnership. Launched modestly in Bangalore in 2000 feeding 1500 children, it has  scaled its operations by designing  the most innovative centralized kitchens that beckon imagination, combine good management with smart engineering, forge collaborations with government, corporations and individuals, and have brought together all those who share its vision – no child shall be deprived of education because of hunger. Technology and supply chains are leveraged with maximum efficiency to deliver freshly prepared nutritious meals to children at a fraction of the cost of other similar programs worldwide.   With government support, $23 feeds two children for an entire school year. “Akshaya Patra is a success story of scale, efficiency and effectiveness,” said Nitin Nohria. “The debilitating effects of lack of schooling and illiteracy need to be addressed immediately.  I applaud this public-private partnership that is aggressively addressing this important challenge facing India.  ”

The meals provide an incentive for children to come to school, stay in school and provide them with the necessary nutrients they need to develop cognitive abilities and focus on learning. Akshaya Patra is a groundbreaking model that exemplifies how outstanding results can be achieved when the public sector, private sector and civil society work collaboratively.  “Akshay Patra model is a global solution to reverse child hunger trends worldwide,” said Fareed Zakaria.

Madhu Sridhar, President and CEO of Akshaya Patra USA noted, “We will continue to add members with a stellar record of accomplishments as well as the compassion to help those who are marginalized in the world.”

For more information, please visit www.foodforeducation.org.

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Deepak Chopra

Fareed Zakaria

Nitin Nohria

Narayana Murthy

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