Sharmila Rao Thakkar, MPH, MPA, is a philanthropy and nonprofit consultant at SRT Advising & Consulting in New York City. She has been working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector for 20+ years. From her early days as a grade school hospital candy-striper to tutoring children as a teenager, building programs earlier in her career and now mentoring young professionals and guiding families & organizations, she has a keen awareness and passion for nonprofit/philanthropy work. Utilizing expertise in leadership development, program implementation, resource development and communications, she advises donors, families and organizations on operations, strategy, board governance/development, multigenerational engagement, equity & inclusion, grantmaking and community outreach activities; conducts workshops and trainings; and writes and presents at nonprofit and philanthropy forums. She also serves as an affiliate consultant with the Support Center, director for the Staten Island Not for Profit Association/Community Organizations Active in Disaster coalition, 21/64 certified trainer in multigenerational philanthropy, and mentor for philanthropy/nonprofit leadership development programs.
Prior, Sharmila was appointed the first non-family executive director of the Siragusa Family Foundation in Chicago, where she directed the operational, programmatic and administrative functions of the organization, participating in all roles key to running a charitable endeavor. She guided board funding decisions and evaluated programs in health, social services, education, and the arts for youth/families; provided capacity building and technical assistance to 100+ nonprofit grantee partners; built the board’s professionalism including recruitment and assessment; engaged the next generations in their leadership development; and provided strategic direction on grantmaking and grantee outreach and community partnership initiatives.
Sharmila has held leadership roles on several boards and committees involving issues of women and children, immigrant communities, education and public health, and building philanthropic leadership and the capacity of the nonprofit sector including currently the Healthy Schools Campaign, National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers (Disability Inclusion Workgroup and DEI Taskforce), 21/64 Certified Advisors of Color Project, TrueChild, and the South Asian Philanthropy Project; and previously Chicago Foundation for Women, National Center for Family Philanthropy, Exponent Philanthropy, Allow Good, and the South Asian Public Health Association among others. She is also an alum of the Council on Foundations Career Pathways leadership development program, a selective pipeline expansion opportunity for diverse philanthropic professionals; The Funders Network for Smart Growth and Equity PLACES fellowship; and several training programs in racial equity, diversity, & inclusion.
A native New Yorker, Sharmila relocated back to Staten Island, NY in 2016 after spending nearly 17 years in Chicago. She holds a Master of Public Health from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, a Master of Public Administration from the Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs, and a BA in International Relations from Brown University.
- SRT Advising & Consulting
- Coaching | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion | Engaging the Next Generation | Family Dynamics | Family Philanthropy | Governance and Succession Planning | Strategic Grantmaking | Teen and Youth Philanthropy | Women and Giving
- New York
- New York
- New York
- 21/64 Approach Training | 21/64 Virtual Approach Training