NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: SMART Modular Technologies, Shah Capital Partners
FUNDING AREAS: Education, At-Risk Youth, Economic Empowerment
OVERVIEW: Ajay B. Shah and his wife Lata Krishnan-Shah do their grantmaking through the Krishnan-Shah Family Foundation. The Shahs have three focus areas in their philanthropy: education, at-risk youth, and economic empowerment for women and the underprivileged. The couple does most of their grantmaking in the US, especially the Bay Area where they live. A component of the Shah's philanthropy involves India and East Africa where the family has ties.
BACKGROUND: Ajay Shah has a B.S. in engineering from University of Baroda in India and an M.S. in Engineering Management from Stanford University. Shah and his wife Lata co-founded several successful companies. He served as CEO of SMART Modular Technologies, a company he co-founded in 1989 and led through its public offering. He also founded and managed the technology solutions business of Solectron. Shah co-founded Shah Capital Partners. In 2007, Shah joined Silker Lake and is the co-founder of the firm’s middle market fund, Silver Lake Sumeru.
Lata Krishnan-Shah was born in 1961 in India. She spent a portion of her youth in Kenya, and then attended the London School of Economics, graduating in 1982. She worked as an auditor in London before moving to San Francisco to become a financial analyst. In the late 1980s, she was a co-founder and CFO of SMART Modular Technologies, along with her husband Ajay Shah and Mukesh Patel. By 1999, Smart Modular had $1 billion in revenues and caught the attention of competitor Solectron, which paid $2 billion to acquire the company. The Shahs used a small part of the proceeds to seed Shah Capital Partners, which has acquired a controlling interest in promising tech companies.
EDUCATION: The couple, via their Krishnan-Shah Family Foundation, have supported places like Eastside School in East Palo Alto and Downtown College Prep (a charter). The couple created a scholarship fund via the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, as well. The couple has also supported their alma maters. They've also supported Stanford University and Lata's alma mater as well as London School of Economics.
YOUTH: An important grantee here is Fresh Lifelines For Youth (FLY), which "prevents juvenile crime and incarceration through legal education, leadership training and one-to-one mentoring in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties."
ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: Lata co-founded and co-chairs American India Foundation(AIF), a New York-headquartered outfit which aims to build an India where all people can access affordable education, healthcare, and livelihood opportunities, and where "marginalized Indians can realize their full potential." Other recent grantees include Nuru International, a social venture that helps the poor in East Africa, Global Fund for Women, Talking Cranes, a "collaborative platform that inspires women to achieve their fullest potential,” Invest in Muslim Women, and Narika, whose mission is to "promote women’s independence and economic empowerment by helping domestic violence survivors with advocacy, support, information, referrals, and education."
The Shahs have also given low-level funding to San Marga Iraivan Temple, a Hindu temple sculpted in India and currently under construction on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
OTHER: The couple have supported Stanford Women’s Cancer Center, forces which are personal, as Lata herself is a cancer survivor. It's also worth noting that that Ajay Shah is on the board of Audubon Society and the couple is interested in climate change. The Shahs have also worked with Commonwealth Club of California, which focuses on global issues through a public forum.
The Krishnan-Shah Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for contact, but below is an address:
Krishnan-Shah Family Foundation, Inc.
20380 Town Center Lane, Suite 175
Cupertino, CA 95014