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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Leadership Development

Mission: The Washington Leadership Program (WLP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building the next generation of leadership from within the South Asian American community through innovative programs. The organization was founded in August 2008 in memory of publisher and philanthropist Gopal Raju, who sponsored a program that placed over 170 students in Congressional internships over 15 years. The organization was founded by alumni of Mr. Raju's program who seek to continue his legacy and continue this vital program for the community.

Results: Since 1995, the WLP has given more than 170 South Asian American students the opportunity to intern in Washington, DC. Former Congressional leader Richard Gephardt has called it “one of the best programs of its kind on the Hill.”

Programs: The WLP is a national non-profit organization that is developing the next generation of American leadership from the South Asian community. Our program takes promising college students and places them in a Congressional office for an eight-week summer internship accompanied by a structured leadership curriculum. Students then complete a leadership project applying their learning from the summer and are inducted into a leadership community currently made up of 170 alumni from the 15 years of the program. In addition to the internship, participants attend special meetings and events to fully expose them to the South Asian American political Diaspora. Past programs and events have included meetings with South Asian American elected officials, Ambassadors and South Asians who are working in Congress, the federal government and local and state agencies.

Community Stories

7 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Janesh R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i applied to WLP as a freshman but was not chosen to be an intern. Although I was disappointed, the leadership of WLP (specifically Harin Contractor) made it a point to stay in touch with me about opportunities to further my political interests and has basically mentored me throughout my college career. If at any point I'm looking for a cool opportunity for myself or friends with similar interests, WLP does not hesitate to reach out about alternative options. Given that I have never gone through the program officially but have still benefitted so much from WLP, i can only imagine the treatment their interns must receive.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The WLP is an outstanding program. It consistently attracts some of the nation's brightest, most hard-working and committed young leaders. I have met with the WLP participants and was incredibly impressed. It is a testament to the quality of the WLP that they draw such high-quality folks and that they are able to provide them with impactful internships in DC. WLP will no doubt be responsible for creating some of tomorrow's most dynamic leaders.

Kiran F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This program literally changed my life in so many ways that I wasn't able to appreciate fully while participating. i was in the 1997 class, during the summer between my 3rd and 4th year at UVA. The firsthand experience on the Hill was immeasurable, but the support and network that I built with my fellow peers and subsequent classes even outweighed those experiences. This is an incredible opportunity for high-performing students to explore working on the Hill more closely while also being able to connect with other Indian-Americans, all bright and brilliant in a program of true kinship. WLP members have gone on to become politically active in many arenas and the purpose of the program, which was to get more Indian Americans involved and immersed in American politics has far been surpassed. These people go on to do great things. AMAZING things. These are the future leaders of America and I am proud to have been in one of the alumni classes.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The WLP is a standout program which just keeps getting better and better. I've been involved with the WLP for a number of years - both as a volunteer and as an onlooker. The students that the WLP serves are of the highest caliber and I am continually impressed by the efforts the WLP makes to do what it does for the community it serves. As someone who has engaged in their programs and with their students, I have full faith that the WLP will - with greater resources - become even more notable in a town that's known for essential programs such as this one.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I served with the Washington Leadership Program in 2005 and have stayed involved since because my first hand experience showed me that this a program that offers high quality, high impact programming for South Asian Americans. The WLP is a unique organization in that it is focused on an area that no other organization does - offering a platform for a minority group like South Asian Americans to participate in politics and policymaking first-hand and build their leadership skills in order to strengthen the individual and community ability to make change happen. I was able to work directly in a Representative's office, network with high profile professionals from all ends of the political spectrum, strengthen my knowledge about policy issues, and meet like-minded peers who were driven and accomplished. The WLP is worth supporting and growing further as they build tomorrow's leaders.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a college intern with WLP and loved every minute of it. The program is making a great impact on the lives of many people in the South Asian community by empowering youth with the knowledge and contacts necessary to become politically active on a national level. The ethical and leadership training was very useful and shaped my career interests in public service. The program has a formidable alumni network and is run by a very caring and visionary group of people.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have met with and advised WLP interns for several years. I found them to be very professional and engaged students, and I was glad that WLP was there to help them gain policy experience in Washington. I believe WLP provides valuable service not only to the students it serves but also to the offices that end up hosting them.