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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Rekha & Sudhir Puranik Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Philanthropy

Mission: We believe in providing educational opportunities that open minds, nurture the environment, and empower the spirit! Puranik Foundation is a platform for education and offers programs that include cultural immersion, service, leadership and mindful practices for students, educators and volunteers of all ages. We believe in providing opportunities for students, teachers and volunteers or all ages that open minds and empower the spirit! Each of our programs integrate 10 fundamental values we believe contributes to developing a holistic perspective that considers Self, Community and the Environment.

Target demographics: High School Students, College Students, Teachers and Volunteers

Direct beneficiaries per year: 125 students from the undeserved communities in Pune, India

Geographic areas served: Pune, India

Programs: Impact India (Youth Service & Leadership) A cultural immersion program designed to positively impact High School students and create global awareness. Bridge India (College internship Abroad) Students expand their personal and professional development and bring awareness to their capability to succeed in limited resources. Insight India (Mindfulness Retreat) To offer and discover healing and inspiration in the community through Awareness, Intention and Insight.

Community Stories

11 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Puranik Foundation does amazing work with American youth! My experience with the Impact India program was safe, fun, and impactful. I am still in contact with my student "family" I worked with during my trip. Everyone is fun and easy to work with with, and I truly feel connected to their mission and will be a lifelong supporter. This program is excellent for any teen who is looking to explore another culture in a safe, immersive way.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Working with this team has been absolutely amazing! Everyone is eager to help with anything a prospective traveler needs! It's wonderful to be able to change students' perspectives with an amazing experience!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What made my experience abroad extraordinary were the other individuals I had the pleasure to travel with in the program. An unlikely combination of students who forged a bond as strong as steel. After settling in, we trekked up to one of the oldest forts in India on our first official day. Some of us were scared of going up so high or wanted to quit halfway up but, we pushed each other through. By the time we made it to the top we conquered our fears and celebrated that fact. In an unexpected way, we became a family and our own support system.

Yarazett

Advisor

Rating: 5

I am thrilled to be a member of this amazing organization with a truly inspiring mission. What better way to give back than to work for a cause I am passionate about, not only out of compassion for underserved children in India but for the opportunities in the programs the foundation had to offer with education, service, volunteering, and meditation practices for a better life. I have heard the amazing testimonials of our participants of all ages that have expressed wonders of their experience with our programs while traveling to our campus in India. I love to see the excitement while telling the story of their journey and the most important factor is the perspective they have after taking a moment to reflect on their lives before the program. It is always a more joyful life! I could not be happier to help accomplish that joy in someone's life but to keep supporting this great organization with ideas and more meaningful programs.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

On the trip we got live amongst the people of India. We celebrated their festivals, ate their food (vegan), and play their games. It was such an amazing experience that holds close to my heart because of the kids. For me they made the trip worth wild because they were as excited to learn from me as I was from them. One thing that you must do when you go is eat their mangos! I had to let you know hahaha. If you are a student in high school and wanting to get emerged into the culture I suggest going with the Puranik Foundation Impact India.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was part of the 2019 summer group. The program itself is interesting and a combination of many things so you’ll never be bored! The locals and people there are super nice! It’s a once in a lifetime experience which later becomes a memory you cherish. The kids there are very cool and funny, but also accepting and become your family. I definitely recommend it, the program helps you grow and you return home with new friends and family.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The most striking change that we have seen in Cammie is witnessing her finding and lifting her voice to influence and advocate for others.

Before her trip with PF, she had was indifferent about international travel. She’d traveled to Italy previously. She said that it was a “cool” trip.

However, after her travel to the magical Pune community, not only was she not ready to come home, she told me when I picked her up from the airport that when she goes again she wants to stay for 6 weeks.

Cammie has blossomed. She is now an active recruiter amongst her friends and their parents sharing the importance of meaningful international travel. (As we know, it is often more difficult to convince the parents than it is to convince the kids.)

Cammie also shared that the most painful part of her trip was leaving the children behind that she had become so close to. She said the she wanted to cry. Cammie is not a crier.

Cammie is a better human being because of her time spent in Pune. My family is extremely grateful to the Puranik Foundation.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dear Puranik Foundation,

Thank you for the most wonderful opportunity to travel to Pune, India last summer with the Puranik foundation!

Traveling to Pune allowed me to get a better idea of what I am passionate about. Before my trip, I never considered myself exploring teaching professionally. However, after meeting and spending a week with the wonderful Vision International children, I have realized that a career in education abroad, may be something I am interested in. Every student that I met was warm, intelligent and kind. Interacting with and seeing the glow on these students faces everyday made me want to stay in Pune forever!

Being in India also made me reconsider how I use the word ‘normal’. The definition of the word normal is “the usual, average, or typical state or condition”. During my travel, oftentimes I found that my peers and I would use 'normal' to differentiate American and Indian perspectives. (Of course, the American way was the normal way.) “Normal food , normal bathrooms , normal showers” , etc. The preconceptions we made about traditional Indian customs and ways of life had been so ignorant--in the purest sense. We did not know and did not know that we did not know.

After my trip, I realized there is no such thing as one single ‘normal’. While Western bathrooms and over-processed foods may be our normal, for Indians, spicy food and squat toilets are their normal. Every country, culture, and person has their own definition of what norms look like in their own lives. My normal is not the right or wrong way, it’s just one way of many different ways.

Moving forward, Puranik has provided me with an additional world view and I am forever grateful for it. I now better understand why Mark Twain said that, "travel is fatal to prejudice, bigatry and narrow mindedness". It is impossible to connect with the people of a land and leave unchanged.

In closing, unfortunately, my trip to Pune was not completely upbeat and fun. The most unpleasant part of my trip to Pune was when I was leaving. I thought saying my goodbyes and getting on the bus was hard enough. But driving away and waving at all the beautiful children outside my bus window, knowing that I would not see them again for a long time, was nearly unbearable for me.

I have returned to my home in Houston with new eyes. I have shared my 10 days with friends and family many times but it’s impossible to adequately share the energy, colors, smells, and most of all the people of Pune, India. I just tell everyone that they have to go and experience it for themselves.

Thank-you, Puranik Foundation!

Namaste,
Cammie Lemons
Summer 2019

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Puranik Foundation provided students at my school with the first opportunity in its history to study abroad. They helped make the far-fetched fantasy of traveling to India our reality by assisting us with fundraising and constantly keeping our families in the loop about any concerns. Now that Puranik has established a precedent at our campus, other students are inspired to pursue opportunities they thought were beyond their reach!

1 Jen Stephan K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This trip changes lives! My students went through a dramatic transformation in 10 days. They increased their understanding of Indian culture by interacting and learning from the amazing students. They also learned self-reflection and the importance of global awareness. Highly recommend for a great immersive experience!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Arriving at the Puranik Foundation was so amazing, it was more than I expected. Lots of smiling faces and of course the highlight was the awesome students! I learned so much about the Indian culture, festivals, food and dance and find myself missing India! The program as a whole was fun and everyday brought a new adventure. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone.