Sharmila Rao Thakkar

Consultant, SRT Advising & Consulting

Sharmila Rao Thakkar, MPH, MPA, is a philanthropy and nonprofit consultant at SRT Advising & Consulting in New York City. Utilizing expertise in leadership development, program implementation, resource development and communications, she advises clients on operations, strategy, board governance and development, multigenerational engagement, grantmaking and community outreach activities. She is also an affiliate consultant with the Support Center, an adjunct associate instructor in the nonprofit management master’s program in the School of Professional Studies at Columbia University in New York, a 21/64 certified trainer in multigenerational philanthropy, Exponent Philanthropy peer coach, and mentor for philanthropy/nonprofit leadership development programs. Prior, Sharmila was appointed the first non-family executive director of The Siragusa Family Foundation in Chicago, where she directed the operational, programmatic and administrative functions of the organization, participating in all roles key to running a charitable endeavor. She guided board funding decisions and evaluated programs in health, social services, education and the arts for youth/families, provided capacity building and technical assistance to 100+ nonprofit grantee partners, built the board’s professionalism including recruitment and assessment, engaged the next generations in their leadership development, and provided strategic direction on grantmaking and grantee outreach and community partnership initiatives. She has held leadership roles on several boards and committees involving issues of women and children, immigrant communities, education and public health, and building philanthropic leadership and the capacity of the nonprofit sector including currently Allow Good, the Healthy Schools Campaign, Move Forward Staten Island, TrueChild and the South Asian Philanthropy Project. Sharmila is also an alum of the Council on Foundations Career Pathways leadership development program and The Funders Network for Smart Growth and Equity PLACES fellowship. She has been working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector for 20+ years. From her early days as a grade school hospital candy-striper to tutoring children as a teenager, building programs earlier in her career and now mentoring young professionals and guiding families & organizations, she holds a keen awareness and passion for nonprofit/philanthropy work. A native New Yorker, Sharmila recently relocated back to Staten Island, NY after spending the past 17 years in Chicago. She holds an MPH from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, an MPA from the Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs and a BA in International Relations from Brown University.

Contributions

Community Foundations Network Topical Call: Working with Diverse Donors & Families

Posted on May 13, 2019 by Ted Vander Roest, Kelly Brown, Sharmila Rao Thakkar

Join Kelly Brown, Director of the D5 Coalition, Sharmila Rao Thakkar, expert family philanthropy consultant, and Ted Vander Roest, Executive Director of the Springfield Foundation to learn about their experiences supporting diverse donors. Resources mentioned: Springfield Foundation’s African American Community Family of Funds page D5Coalition’s website and diverse voices in giving video series Donors of Color Network and their report on giving… Read More

The First Year in the Life of a New Executive Director

Posted on September 14, 2017 by Adam Simon, John Hicks, Laura McCargar, Sharmila Rao Thakkar

How can your board develop a transition plan to maximize your new or incoming executive director’s prospects for success? What is the board and board chair’s role in orienting the new CEO? What tips do successful freshman CEO’s have for developing strong board/staff relations; setting boundaries; learning more about the community and causes served by the foundation; and understanding and… Read More

September 2016 NCFP Non-Family Staff Peer Network Call

Posted on September 13, 2016 by Christine Koehn, Sharmila Rao Thakkar

The NCFP Non-family Staff Peer Network is open to senior level non-family staff members who are current member’s of NCFP Friends of the Family network. This network, co-chaired by Christine Kuehn of The Celia Lipton Farris and Victor W. Farris Foundation and Sharmilla Rao Thakkar of the Siragusa Foundation, is offered as a “safe space” for non-family staff peers facing… Read More

June 2016 NCFP Non-Family Staff Peer Network Call: Managing Geographic Dispersion in Family Philanthropy

Posted on June 21, 2016 by Christine Koehn, Sharmila Rao Thakkar

The NCFP Non-family Staff Peer Network is open to senior level non-family staff members who are current member’s of NCFP Friends of the Family network. This network, co-chaired by Christine Kuehn of The Celia Lipton Farris and Victor W. Farris Foundation and Sharmilla Rao Thakkar of the Siragusa Foundation, is offered as a “safe space” for non-family staff peers facing… Read More

March 2016 NCFP Non-Family Staff Peer Network Call

Posted on March 22, 2016 by Christine Koehn, Sharmila Rao Thakkar

The NCFP Non-family Staff Peer Network is open to senior level non-family staff members who are current member’s of NCFP Friends of the Family network. This network, co-chaired by Christine Kuehn of The Celia Lipton Farris and Victor W. Farris Foundation and Sharmilla Rao Thakkar of The Siragusa Foundation, is offered as a “safe space” for non-family staff peers facing… Read More

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