Sharmila Rao Thakkar is a Senior Program Officer at The Siragusa Foundation, a family foundation in Chicago, Ill., where she oversees grantmaking and administration. In addition to making funding recommendations, she provides technical assistance to foundation grantees, leads the board’s strategic planning and board development activities, including stewardship of the next generation, and spearheads the foundation’s communications and outreach initiatives.
She serves on the board of the Chicago Foundation for Women, where she chaired the program/grantmaking committee and served as a CEO search committee member. Sharmila is a long-time member and past chair of the CFW Asian American Leadership Council/Silk Fund, a leadership development and giving circle housed at the foundation, which serves as a liaison between the community and the foundation. She recently joined the board of directors of Allowance for Good, a nonprofit that develops the next generation of philanthropic leaders who cultivate global citizenship and empower others around the world to achieve their full potential.
She is a member of the Donors Forum of Illinois and sits on the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s Council of 100. She is a member of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy and serves as a director for the South Asian Philanthropy Project.
Sharmila is a 2011 graduate of the Council on Foundations Career Pathways Leadership Pipeline program, a leadership development fellowship that prepares candidates from diverse backgrounds to succeed as senior-level philanthropic leaders.
She holds a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a Master of Public Health from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and a bachelor of arts degree in International Relations from Brown University.