The Concept and History of Karuna Charities

Karuna Charities Washington, Inc. was started in May 1998 by Ms. Lekha Srinivasan, the wife of the Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, Washington D.C., Mr. T.P. Srinivasan, with a group of ladies including Ms. Amrit Kalotra and other members of the current Board. Ms. Lekha Srinivasan started chapters of Karuna Charities in New York, NY; Washington Metro; and Vienna, Austria. All Karuna chapters function independently. Karuna Charities Washington Inc. is a 501(c)3 grass roots organization with no overheads that helps the needy and disadvantaged mainly in metro Washington but also in India and other countries.

Ms. Amrit Kalotra, one of the leading women in the Indian American community in metro Washington has been President of the Washington chapter since 2000. She has won several awards for her work with Karuna Charities:

  • 2018 Maryland General Assembly Citation for her compassionate leadership and tireless work to empower women and the disadvantaged around the globe.
  • 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council of Asian Indian Associations (HQs in VA) for her Outstanding Contributions towards Empowering Women through various activities during the past 20 years.
  • 2015 National Council of Asian Indian Associations, Inc., NCAIA honored her for her dedicated leadership and praiseworthy work in the service of the community.2013 Certificate of honor by the Indian National Overseas Congress USA, Washington, DC for her work with Karuna Charities
  • 2013 Certificate of honor by the Indian National Overseas Congress USA, Washington, DC for her work with Karuna Charities.

Karuna’s activities are organized by Board Members, the Executive Committee, Ambassadors, and several sub-committees including Community Service for Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., Membership and Fundraising, Publicity, and a Youth Group.

Giving a Helping Hand

The focus of the Karuna Charities Washington chapter is on giving a helping hand to needy and disadvantaged women in four ways:

1.  Providing services and support for women and their families, e.g. help with rent, lawyers’ fees, providing training to become leading to employment and thus leading them towards independent living, and much more.
2.  Educational Scholarships. Karuna has established four educational endowments in the Washington area:

  • Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC)
  • University of District of Columbia (UDC)
  • Montgomery College (Maryland)
  • Universities of Shady Grove (Maryland)

3.  Community Service in metro Washington, e.g. making and serving meals, supplies for AIDS patients at Mother Teresa’s home, turkey meals for DC shelter, school supplies for disadvantaged children, and more.

4.  In addition, help is provided in crisis situations around the world, e.g.:

  • Firefighters, Widows, and Children’s Fund after 9/11
  • Haiti Earthquake
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Indian Ocean Tsunami
  • Gujarat Flood
  • Nepal Earthquake
  • Philippines Relief
  • Odhisa Cyclone

How you can help

Karuna Charities Washington, Inc. needs the communities’ help more so today due to the pandemic. We as an organization have contributed in cash and kind to provide essentials to various local shelters for women and their families. We have contributed money to Student Emergency Funds at the four educational institutions where we have endowed scholarships. These needy students need money for food, rent, educational supplies, etc. as they have lost their jobs. Karuna has helped a children’s shelter and sent monetary donations to five food banks that feed the hungry in the D.C. metropolitan area.

You can donate in two ways:
(1) Blossoms for Pink (www.blossomsforpink.org) has gifted beautiful potted plants to raise funds for Karuna Charities. The first 25 $100 – $150 contributors will be gifted with a plant as a token of appreciation via contactless delivery.

All of us are doing our best, but much more needs to be done. Your contribution will help us to continue our efforts. You can donate $25 or $500, every little bit helps!

(2) Please donate directly to Karuna Charities’ Facebook fundraiser response to the immediate need for help during the Coronavirus crisis in March 2020, Karuna Board members decided monetary donations would be best under the circumstances, for which the following institutions have been very appreciative: Embry Rucker Shelter, Reston, VA ($750); two abused Womens’ shelters in Loudoun, Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland ($1,000 each). Karuna Charities is happy to come forward to make these much-needed donations towards the necessary activities and the safety of these institutions. Karuna Charities would like to thank the community at large for their support to our Charity. Thank you from all of us at Karuna Charities.