GKII Receives $250,000 Gift from JHU Alumnus Girish and Himangi Rishi
May 25, 2022: Philanthropy focuses on projects addressing food and health systems and maternal and child health
Girish and Himangi Rishi have gifted $250,000 to support the Johns Hopkins Gupta-Klinsky India Institute (GKII)’s efforts to strengthen food and health systems for women, children, and other vulnerable populations in India.
Mr. Rishi, an alumnus of the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), is an accomplished tech executive, now CEO of the industrial software company Cognite, and hopes the gift will connect his passion for business and technology with the challenges of urban hunger, sustainable diets, and health inequity by creating an executive roundtable at SAIS and supporting student travel prizes in the form of fellowships.
“We have a 20-year vision with the goal of solving, one small step at a time, existential challenges for the most vulnerable in our communities,” he said. “This contribution will immediately impact health equity, and it’s just the beginning.”
The executive roundtable funded by the gift will leverage SAIS’s new presence on Capitol Hill at the 555 Pennsylvania Ave., NW building, formerly the Newseum, to convene private sector leaders, policy makers, and academics to discuss how to bridge data on food and health, improve the supply chain, and promote better health outcomes worldwide.
“Improving maternal and child health is of particular importance to me,” Himangi Rishi said. “Access to food goes hand in hand with that mission. It’s impossible to separate the two, because quality nutrition is essential during pregnancy and infancy.”
Further funding will create GKII’s first student travel exchange award program open to students from JHU or any of its partner institutions in India pursuing degrees at any level, undergraduate to post-doctoral. Through an application process, GKII will award prizes of roughly $5,000 per person, with a preference for recipients focused on maternal and child health, vulnerable populations, and food and nutrition systems, to help train tomorrow’s leaders. It is expected to support 20 students in both India and the U.S. over three years.
“This gift will bring the worlds of health and food system disciplines together by bridging two schools of Hopkins that work at the research-policy interface—international affairs and public policy of SAIS and public health of JHSPH,” Jessica Fanzo, Director, Global Food Ethics and Policy Program at SAIS said. “It is a unique opportunity to address challenges through innovative solutions by engaging both executive leaders and students across these disciplines.”
“We’re very excited about combining Girish and Himangi Rishi’s interests with GKII’s stated objectives. This gift will create high-level dialogue for one of our areas of focus, and it will integrate more excellent executives, researchers, and students into our work in India,” Amita Gupta, faculty co-chair of GKII said. “Gifts from alumni to support student opportunities in India are especially meaningful. We are incredibly grateful to receive this support.”