Venky Raghavendra


Venkatesh (Venky) Raghavendra is a Vice President at Safe Water Network. He is a social entrepreneur with nearly three decades of philanthropy and development experience. He has successfully built global partnerships and mobilized significant resources for a number of international and national organizations.

Venky is a consultant in the areas of philanthropy, fundraising, and social entrepreneurship. Some of his recent and current clients include the UK-based Common Purpose, New York–based American India Foundation, and Washington, DC–based Ashoka: Innovators for the Public.

Formerly chief philanthropy officer at the American India Foundation (AIF), Venky strengthened the US-India philanthropic and ideas exchange by promoting major giving and investments from corporations, high net-worth individuals, diaspora communities, and others. Prior to joining AIF, Venky was managing director of global partnerships at Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, in Washington, DC. At Ashoka, Venky promoted social entrepreneurship around the world by collaborating with business entrepreneurs and foundations. He was also involved in supporting social entrepreneurs in achieving scale and in the creation of communities of social entrepreneurs.

Venky’s career as a social entrepreneur began in his late teens, when he co-founded The Adventurers — an organization that creates livelihood opportunities for indigenous communities in the rainforests of South India through eco- and adventure-tourism.

Venky is a trustee of Ashoka India and is on the board of several not-for-profits and is an advisor to several others. He writes frequently on social issues for a variety of media, including the Wharton Journal, Khaleej Times, Times of India, Indian Express, and The Hindu, among others. He speaks regularly at a number of universities around the world on the topics of social entrepreneurship and innovation, cross-sectoral partnerships for community change, and philanthropy. He has taught social entrepreneurship to graduate-level students in the United States and in India.

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