Our Team

Compassion in Action

Board of Directors

John Coonrod, 
Chair

John is Executive Vice President of The Hunger Project – a global, strategic organization he has been part of since 1977, and with which he has worked across Africa, Latin America and South Asia. Its methodology of gender-focused, community-led development has been greatly influenced by Sarvodaya. John first met Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne in 1982, and was involved in the founding of Sarvodaya USA. John is also the founder and coordinator of the Movement for Community-led Development, which has more than 60 international members including Sarvodaya, and which advocates for bringing community-led development to national scale. John and his wife Carol live in Washington, DC.
Laura Fritsche,
Secretary

Laura is a senior at UW-Madison working toward a degree in International Studies with certificates in French, and global health. Laura’s first involvement with Sarvodaya USA began when she visited Sri Lanka, learning about the countries healthcare, with the Quest program in 2015. She began working with last years interns on projects aimed at earthquake relief in Nepal after the April 2015 earthquake. After graduation Laura hopes to continue working towards the promotion of sustainable global health infrastructure and policy.  Laura joined the board in June 2016.
Joe Warbington

Joe has been a board member of Sarvodaya USA since September 2013. A Michigan State University graduate in Computer Engineering, he worked at a local Madison healthcare software company for over 6 years. He began his journey with Sarvodaya in early 2013 when volunteered in Sri Lanka for a month. Working with Sarvodaya-fusion, the IT arm and a non-profit social enterprise, he grew deeply interested in the mission of the NGO and continued working with the organization upon his return to the USA. Joe has a strong desire to use technology to empower individuals and engage communities. He hopes to lead many trips back to Sri Lanka, allowing others to experience the life-changing elements of the Sarvodaya social movement. His full time job is at Qlik – leading healthcare organizations to use data visualization and analytics to improve care and reduce costs.
Maia Fitzstevens

Maia first got involved with Sarvodaya in 2013, when her alma mater, Wellesley College, funded her for an internship to do research on the epidemic of chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu) in Sri Lanka. Learning about the kidney disease epidemic sparked her passion for social and environmental justice, the intersection of health and the environment, and changing the global food system, and she’s been involved ever since. In January 2015 she co-led the Quest Sri Lanka trip with Joe and then stayed in Sri Lanka for 6 months to volunteer on CKDu efforts. She’s coordinating the Kidney Disease Prevention project and recently became our newest board member.
Nilmi Bartle

Nilmi first connected with Sarvodaya USA through Rick Brooks in 2004, and helped raise funds for the tsunami victims in Sri Lanka. She was born and raised in Sri Lanka and has lived in the USA for the past 19 years. In the past, Nilmi lived and volunteered at an orphanage in India, where she helped with math classes in the orphanage school, and coordinated interview and meetings for fund raisers from all over the world. She is a member of The Sri Lankan Madison Community, and has over 16 years of banking background. She and her husband Rob have two daughters, Hansi and Risandi.
Shisir Khanal

Nepal Liaison, Founder and C.E.O. of Teach for Nepal. Shisir served as the Executive Director of Sarvodaya USA from 2005 to 2013, and now works to expand the Sarvodaya movement in Nepal as C.E.O. of Teach for Nepal. Prior to working at Sarvodaya USA, he worked as Research Assistant at Robert M. La Follette School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, interned with United Nations Development Program in Nepal, and worked at the Connecticut General Assembly. Shisir graduated with a Master’s degree in International Public Affairs (MIPA) in 2005 from the La Follette School of Public Affairs and has a Bachelor’s degree in International Political Economy from University of Bridgeport.
Vinya Ariyaratne, M.D.

Vinya is the Executive Director of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement of Sri Lanka. He is a medical doctor with expertise in community medicine and has taught at several medical schools in Sri Lanka. In recent years, he has been in the forefront of civil sector peace initiatives. He also serves on several national policy committees. Vinya is one of the only three civil society representatives in the high-level Donor/Civil Society Steering Committee formed by the key multilateral donors to the tsunami recovery program. He has published in several national and international public health and development journals.
Learn more about his work with Sarvodaya Sri Lanka in this video: ​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCBZy1C215k
Krishna Desar,
Treasurer

Sarvodaya USA is the first organization Krishna came to contact when he came to the USA in 1998 and ever since he has always felt as a part of it. Before that he was first introduced with Sarvodaya when he was in Nepal during 1995 – 1996. 
Having an opportunity to travel with Dr. Ari during his stay in DC and in Nepal and working with Shisir in many different project for Nepal and Sri Lanka has always made him feel a part of Sarvodaya Family. Krishna joined the board in June 2016. He is based in Washington, DC.
Senani Wijeyewardena 

Senani graduated from Ladies’ College, Colombo, and attended American College of Higher Education in Sri Lanka. She is qualified as a Montessori teacher and is a member of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Sri Lanka. Since 2013, she serves as a Trustee of The Paul and Edith Babson Foundation.
In 2015, Senani created the “Senani Wijeyewardena Babson Fund” to strengthen the Sarvodaya Development Finance Company’s micro credit activities. She invests in the above fund free of interest and the SDFC of the “Sarvodaya Group” utilizes this investment to grant credit at a lower rate of interest to needy customers in keeping with the vision of Founder/President of “Sarvodaya” Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne “A sustainable livelihood, with no poverty, no affluence”, particularly empowering teenagers in Sri Lanka.
Malie Russell

Hemamalie Russell has been living in USA for the last 27 years and is a Director for First Book, a non-profit involved in distribution of books and educational material in USA, Canada and several other countries. She lives in Washington D.C with her husband of 25 years