Raj Vinnakota

Co-Chair, Civics, History, & America's Future

Rajiv Vinnakota is the seventh president of the Institute for Citizens & Scholars (formerly the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation). Prior to joining Citizens & Scholars in July 2019, Vinnakota served as the Executive Vice President of the Youth & Engagement division at the Aspen Institute, a new venture focusing on youth leadership development, civic engagement, and opportunity. Before his work at the Aspen Institute, he was the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of The SEED Foundation, the nation’s first network of public, college-preparatory boarding schools for underserved children. Vinnakota remains on the board of The SEED Foundation.

A graduate and former trustee of Princeton University, Vinnakota has dedicated his career to educating, empowering, and supporting America’s youth, particularly those from disadvantaged communities. His work as a social entrepreneur and non-profit leader has earned him national recognition in the form of prestigious fellowships from Echoing Green, The Ashoka Foundation and the Aspen  Institute, as well as awards such as Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson Award, Harvard University’s Innovation in American Government Award, and Oprah Winfrey’s Use Your Life award.

Vinnakota is a board director for two public companies, Enovis Corporation and Elektriska Svetsnings-Aktiebolaget (ESAB), and serves as chair of the nominating & governance committee for each of these boards. In addition to being a former trustee and executive committee member for Princeton University, he is the former national chair of its annual giving committee and former executive committee member for its Aspire capital campaign. Vinnakota was previously a founding board member of Path Forward, an advisory committee member for the College Board, and a board director for The Meyer Foundation. He also serves on the advisory committee for Citizen Data.

At Princeton, Vinnakota majored in molecular biology and also earned a certificate of studies from the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs & Public Policy. He and his family live in Maine.