An Atlanta hotelier on a mission to combat child hunger in India has helped to bring Dr. Deepak Chopra to the city’s W Hotel on Saturday, March 30, as the keynote speaker for a fund-raising dinner to benefit the Akshaya Patra Foundation.

The foundation, with US headquarters in Massachusetts, provides freshly prepared school lunches to more than 1.3 million underprivileged children every day at more than 9,000 schools across nine states in India.   

Rakesh Chauhan, president and CEO of Banyan Investment Group, is co-chairman of the dinner, titled Body & Soul. “There is no one more appropriate than Deepak Chopra, a world-renowned mind-body healing pioneer, to inspire our minds as we help fill the stomachs of needy young students,” said Chauhan. “We are creating a memorable evening that will truly warm the hearts and satisfy the souls of attendees.”

Chopra was named by TIME magazine as one of the top heroes and icons of the century, being described by the publication as “the poet-prophet of alternative medicine.”  Trained in internal medicine and endocrinology, he is the author of more than 70 books and founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, in Carlsbad, CA.

Chopra serves on the advisory board of the Akshaya Patra Foundation USA. The organization, he said, is “a perfect example of what happens when creativity and compassion come together.”

Also serving as co-chairmen for the event are: 

  • Umaesh Khaitan, president and founder of Door Kraft, Inc.
  • Dr. Anand Lalaji, president and CEO of The Radiology Group
  • Harish Mamtani, managing director of Bluefish Capital, LLC
  • Hemant Naran, vice president at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
  • Palaniswamy “Raj” Rajan, chairman and CEO of Virima Technologies
  • Shashi Reddy, CEO and founder of Case-Mate
  • Dr. Pradeep Sinha, Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgery
  • Satya Tiwari, president of Surya

Tickets for the dinner are $5,000 for a table of 10 and are available online at the or call 781-438-3090, Ext. 5.        


“A charitable donation should be evaluated like any other investment – namely, consider which one will earn the best return,” said Rajan of Virima Technologies, who was instrumental in founding the Akshaya Patra Foundation’s chapter in Atlanta. 

“Akshaya Patra needs just $15 to deliver school lunches to one child for an entire year, so the funds we raise are very important – and they certainly are used very efficiently and productively.”

For many children, the lunch provided by the Akshaya Foundation is their only complete meal for the day and gives them an incentive to come to school and to stay in school, while providing the necessary nutrients to develop their cognitive abilities and focus properly on learning.

Founded in 2000, the Akshaya Patra Foundation’s mission is that “no child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger” and its next goal is to feed 5 million children daily by 2020. 

In the 2013 listing of the world’s top 100 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), it is ranked number 23 overall, number one in the “children and youth” category and number one in India as part of an evaluation of 450 groups by The Global Journal, a print and online publication that covers governance and social change.    

In addition, for four years in a row – 2009 through 2012 – the foundation has been honored by the Indian Institute of Chartered Accountants with the highly respected Gold Shield Award for Best Financial Reporting.