Raj Vinnakota is the seventh president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation in July 2019, Vinnakota served as the Executive Vice President of the Youth & Engagement division at the Aspen Institute, a new venture focusing on youth leadership development, civic engagement, and opportunity. Before work at the Aspen Institute, he was the co-founder and CEO of The SEED Foundation, the nation’s first network of public, college-preparatory boarding schools for underserved children. Vinnakota remains on the board of The SEED Foundation.
A graduate and former trustee of Princeton University, Vinnakota has dedicated his career to educating, empowering, and supporting America’s youth, particularly those from disadvantaged communities. His work as a social entrepreneur and non-profit leader has earned him fellowships from Echoing Green, The Ashoka Foundation and the Aspen Institute, as well as awards such as Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson Award, Harvard University’s Innovation in American Government Award, and Oprah Winfrey’s Use Your Life award.
Vinnakota is currently leading a project with a group of institutional funders aimed at deepening understanding of the existing landscape of civic education in the United States in order to catalyze effective philanthropic engagement to strengthen our collective capacity for practicing democracy. At the Summit, Vinnakota will share results of that investigation with a focus on the opportunities for senior higher education leaders to drive positive change.