Ratnam Chitturri, Ph.D, President
North South Foundation
Title: Encouraging Excellence in Education
North South Foundation
Where did you conduct this activity and for how long: 27 years, both USA and India NSF logo Ratnam Chitturi, Ph.D.: Ratnam Chitturi came to the USA in 1965 by ship to earn a MS degree in Industrial Engineering followed by a Ph.D. in Operations Research. His career spanned many multinationals including BP, General Motors, Chase and First Chicago. Ratnam Chitturi is the Founder-President of North South Foundation
About the Foundation:
North South Foundation was established in 1989, along with Dr. N. Bhaskara Rao of New Delhi, he founded the North South Foundation (NSF) to provide college scholarships to those who excel among the poor in India. Starting with one scholarship from one center in 1989 in India, NSF has now 25 centers across India, giving more than 2,500 scholarships a year. Cumulatively, NSF has provided more than 15,000 scholarships.
In 1993, with the stewardship of Dr. Murali Gavini, NSF began to conduct educational contests in the U.S. as a way to encourage academic excellence among Indian-American children. NSF has grown to 85 centers nationwide, serving about 16,000 contestants in 2016. Starting with the spelling bee in 1993, NSF has expanded over the years to include contests in vocabulary, math, science, geography, essay writing, public speaking and the brain bee. Cumulatively, NSF has served more than 150,000 contestants. NSF caters to children from grades 1 through 12. To help children excel, NSF offers onsite/online workshops, online educational games and online coaching in math, SAT, Science, Geography and Universal Values. The online coaching is serving more than 3,400 children involving selfless labor of love from more than 200 volunteer teachers. The money earned from the educational activities in the U.S. is used to fund college scholarships in India.
The success of the NSF programs can be measured by the achievements of the children, especially at the “major league” national level academic-competitions. For the last nine years in a row starting in 2008, NSF children won the championship at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, a record for any ethnic organization in the U.S. Similarly, NSF children won the championship in the last five years in a row, starting in 2012, at the National Geographic Bee. They have also earned top ranks at MATHCOUNTS, Math Olympiad, Science Bowl and other mainstream major league competitions.
The credit for the success of the NSF programs goes squarely to the volunteers, donors, parents and children. Through NSF, the Indian American community found a common ground in the pursuit of academic excellence of its children and academic excellence of the poor in India. Over the last 27 years, the community has provided more than 200 man-years of selfless labor of love, valued at $20 million. NSF is run by volunteers with no compensation and payroll. In the end, they found a win-win solution for children, both in the U.S. and in India. NSF is both honored and blessed in providing a platform to the various parties to play their dreams out. Once a child is inspired, we find the sky is the limit. As Thomas Edison said, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” NSF children are demonstrating this to be true! At NSF, every child is a winner.