NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: SMART Modular Technologies, Shah Capital Partners
FUNDING AREAS: Education, At-Risk Youth, Economic Empowerment
OVERVIEW: Lata Krishnan-Shah and husband Ajay Shah move their philanthropy through the Krishnan-Shah Family Foundation, which focuses grantmaking on the Bay Area. 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 giving in the states, especially the Bay Area where they live. A component of the Shah's giving involves India and East Africa where the family has ties. Shah is active in the Indian-American community and cofounded and co-chairs American India Foundation (AIF), whose mission is to accelerate social and economic change in India.
BACKGROUND: 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 billlion 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's Krishnan-Shah Family Foundation has recently funded outfits 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. Via their foundation, the Shahs gave $200,000 to Stanford University in a recent fiscal year. They've supported Lata's alma mater, London School of Economics, too.
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 Shah co-founded and co-chairs American India Foundation(AIF), a New York-headquartered outfit that 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 has recently supported Stanford Women’s Cancer Center. Shah, herself, is a cancer survivor, which might explain the couple's motivation, here. It's also worth noting that that Ajay is on the board of Audubon Society and the couple is interested in climate change. Finally, the Shahs have also worked with Commonwealth Club of California, which focuses on global issues through a public forum.
LOOKING FORWARD: Expect this couple to stay focused on their select interest areas.
The Krishnan-Shah Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue of contact, but below is an address:
20380 Town Center Lane, Suite 175
Cupertino, CA 95014