Ashish Dhawan is one of India’s leading philanthropists and a key voice for system reform in the country. A Yale and Harvard graduate, Ashish had a successful investing career for two decades as the founder of one of India’s private equity funds, ChrysCapital. He left the corporate world in 2012 to focus on reforming India’s school and higher education system.
Ashish founded Central Square Foundation (CSF) with the mission to improve the quality of school education for all students (especially from low-income communities) through the pursuit of evidence driven and innovation led system reform.
He co-founded one of India’s most ambitious projects in higher education, Ashoka University, as a pioneering initiative to promote the idea of broad liberal arts and sciences undergraduate curriculum in a country obsessed with narrow specialization.
Ashish has seeded a set of new philanthropic initiatives that solve challenges that are of national importance. Indian Leaders for the Social Sector (ILSS) and Indian School of Development Management (ISDM) are two separate institutions that develop leadership talent for the social sector. Air Pollution Action Group (A-PAG) works to solve India’s air pollution crisis and China India Foundation (CIF) is building people-to-people exchange and knowledge pathways between the two countries. Centre for Effective Governance of Indian States (CEGIS) is focused on improving socio-economic outcomes and quality of public expenditure at the state level.
What combines all of Ashish’s philanthropic endeavors is his strong belief that long- term system reform will be the single biggest lever for transformational change.