Vinu Srivatsan is the Director of Fundraising Programs for Vibha. Vinu comes from a family of freedom fighters and educators who have worked hard to promote education in rural areas of India. She continues their legacy. Raising two kids in the Bay Area, she works hard to do her best for Vibha and the young kids out there who need her help.
What is your perspective on the direction that Vibha’s mission should maintain?
I would love for us to be closer to children as patrons. We already do this through our strong Youth Chapter initiatives especially in the Bay Area, California and in Atlanta, Georgia. I would love for us to offer children around the world opportunities for hands-on engagement in our projects nurturing compassion, exposing them to the joy of giving at a young age. For myself and my children, this reinforces our responsibility to give a voice to every human that needs it, to live responsibly and with gratitude.
What is your motivation to volunteer at Vibha?
I have lived a privileged life. The security of being safe, being fed, being healthy, and being respected and loved, (and of course being able to watch a Rajnikanth movie premiere) - the gratitude for all these is what drives me to want every child and adult to have these fundamental needs of life. The question of how we can raise the quality of life for our universal siblings and children, without corroding the planet, and messing up the future is a very pressing problem to solve. And to scale this in a way that is easy to replicate, is the next step. This sums up why I am here, at Vibha, doing what I am doing.
Describe your journey in Vibha.
I have volunteered since my school days. As my children grew, I looked for some sort of involvement they could connect to. I reached out to a dozen organizations and after several orientations, meetings and events, I knew I found a place for myself to bring value. I worked on the national Fundraising Programs team writing grant proposals for three winning years raising over $150,000. Then I led a marathon training program in the Bay Area for two years helping over 100 patrons across the Dream Mile finish line, helping them engage with the cause and raising over $100,000. Currently I lead all our national Fundraising Programs.
What is a day in your life like?
I have two children. My athletic 12-year old daughter skis and swims competitively, plays violin and writes awesome poems. My artistic 10-year old son creates comics, composes music on his piano, and does taekwondo. Between their school and activities, I squeeze a day job as a product manager. When I am not taking Vibha calls, negotiating work budget, or cooking rasam and porichakuzhambu (a south Indian curry/soup), I am poring over financials of our school PTA. Dance and travel rock my world. Currently I am on track to reach my goal of travelling to 12 countries in 12 months.
What does your Vibha team do?
As the Fundraising Programs team, we are responsible for Change for Children (the personal and commercial piggy bank program), procuring corporate grants, corporate gift matches and volunteer hour matches, adoption of specific projects by patrons, digital drives (scattered through the year), and our signature Marathon training program. Our team of volunteers is spread across six states in the US and supported by our India field team as well.
A large part of your role with Vibha involves dealing with patrons, corporations and donations. For all the patrons who read this interview: what is one thing that you would ask out of them to help your efforts go smoothly?
“I would say this: PLEASE ensure your donation is matched by your employer, if they have the policy. And if they don't let us help you help them create it. Corporations SEEK to be globally socially responsible. This is a win-win-win. Please don't let this opportunity get away!”