Kalpana Simhan is the Associate Director for Grants Management at Democracy Fund, an independent foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. In this role, she ensures that the foundation’s grantmaking operations reflect philanthropic best practices and oversees the administration of all of Democracy Fund’s grants.
Kalpana met Democracy Fund through her work at Mozilla, an organization dedicated to keeping the internet a global public resource, open and accessible to all. As the Grants Manager for Mozilla Foundation, she established the policies and processes that allowed Mozilla to grow as a grant maker. Kalpana comes to grantmaking after close to two decades of experience as a grant seeker. She raised money and managed programs for leading international women’s rights and development organizations including Vital Voices, Inclusive Security, and ActionAid. In 2008 she was the recipient of a fellowship from American India Foundation, which allowed her to embed with Dr. Reddy’s Foundation in Hyderabad, India. As a fellow, she helped Dr. Reddy’s Foundation win a World Bank grant to pilot a nutrional health initiative for children of mobile migrant laborers. Closer to home, Kalpana was the Director of Development for Apna Ghar, a Chicago-based agency that provides critical services to immigrant survivors of gender violence. During her time at Apna Ghar, she was able to diversify the organization’s revenue by bringing in new foundation and corporate donors. Kalpana’s experiences as fundraiser drive her commitment to grantmaking operations that center the needs of grantees.
Kalpana holds an M.A. with Distinction in International Education and Development from the University of Sussex and a B.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University.